Two steps behind
Two steps behind other couples isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
Let me be completely clear and direct here: I am not ready to have a child. I love babies and kids because they are sweet and cute and say hilarious things. But I also love giving those sweet, cute, hilarious kids back to their parents so I can go take a nap, or go on a brewery tour, or just sit quietly reading a book without being interrupted.
Luckily my fiancé has the same view I do. We do want kids someday. But if I got pregnant now? Our first reaction would probably be sheer terror, then frantic sobbing, then a period of mourning for the death of our total independence, then finally, happiness. I assume most people who have kids had similar “what did I do?” reactions, even if you were trying to have kids. It’s just natural to feel that way when a big change comes into your life.
Anyway, point being, we are not ready nor do we want to have a baby right now. So I was surprised to feel a little bit upset when a friend of mine invited me to an event that would involve all mothers and children (except me). I couldn’t really pinpoint why I was feeling weird about it. At first I just figured it was because I didn’t really want to spend the day wrangling children and talking about diaper brands, appropriate cartoons and feeding schedules (truth be told that was part of it). Then I thought, maybe I’m annoyed because now that I’m older and my friends have children, we have to cater to them instead of ourselves.
Then it hit me: I was upset because I was the only person invited who didn’t have what all the others had – a baby. A thing I don’t even want! I mean, talk about childish behavior. My 3-year-old goddaughter is more mature than that statement. But as I thought about it, I realized that it was true! It’s my single days all over again – I feel like I’m two steps behind everyone.
When I was single and being invited to events where everyone had a significant other, it was always a struggle for me. Not that I need another person to make me feel whole and complete, but because it’s awkward and kind of depressing. Not only are you wondering why you can’t seem to make a relationship work for more than 8 months, but everyone else is wondering that too. So when I finally started dating the man I knew I was going to marry, I was so happy that I had finally “caught up”. My friends were married but at least I knew I was on the right track.
When I expressed my feelings to my fiancé, he asked me if I really did want to have a baby but was just saying I didn’t want one because he doesn’t want one right now. I tried to explain it wasn’t like that at all, that I just felt like everyone was moving on with their lives without me again, but I don’t know if most men really understand that feeling. Then he just started naming things that we wouldn’t be able to do if we actually did have a child, and I felt better about my temporary lapse in judgment.
We both ended up going to the outing with my friends and their kids, and we were immediately reminded why we don’t want children because after three hours of playing with the kids we were ready to go home and take a nap. When I expressed this to my friend, she sighed and said “Yeah that would be nice,” and that’s when it dawned on me that SHE might actually be a tiny bit jealous of MY life of naps, crime dramas, fiction novels, and generally doing whatever I want whenever I want to, and I smiled.
Emily Campbell is a perpetually single, 20-something girl-around-town who loves Shakespeare, old movies, Natty Boh, and of course, long walks on the beach. A sales manager by day and freelance writer by night, she was recently forced into a life of involuntary celibacy when her last relationship fizzled out over a text message. She’s tired of settling for second – or tenth – best, and she’s ready to find Mr. Right. Or, Mr. Nearly Right. No one’s perfect…which she has learned the hard (but hilarious) way.