Welcome to the Taboo Carnival. Our topic this Spring is “I Miss My Life!” This post was written for inclusion in the quarterly Taboo Carnival hosted by Momma Jorje and Hybrid Rasta Mama. This month our participants reflect on life before and after motherhood and “missing” some of the aspects of life without children. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.
I think my first true sobering moment after the initial shock of the news of my first pregnancy was a few weeks later at the end of my first trimester. I had been well into several weeks of battling debilitating and incessant nausea. I continued to struggle with this for months, and had a lot of down time to ponder the reality of my impending parenthood. This one particular time in early pregnancy, I laid in bed and sobbed. Images of moving to Austin, Texas (about 3 hours away, and my favorite city), finishing school at UT, and getting involved in the music scene there as a bassist and an otherwise spontaneous free spirit with my loving husband at my side, seemed to just melt in my imagination. I was (and still am, actually) about 30 credits short of a Bachelor’s degree, which has always been a very realistic and important goal to me. In fact, my first thought when a doctor told me I was pregnant was, “How am I going to finish school!?” And as a newlywed only 6 months in, I laid there and felt bitter about how my life alone with my husband would soon be no more. I was so nauseated and weak from what I experienced to be “24/7 sickness,” that I began to experience a little bit of depression while realizing the pain of what it means to release my personal dreams to Neverland in order to focus on becoming a good mother at 21 years old. The intensity of that initial overwhelming grief for the loss of my fantasy childless life has become increasingly less potent after over two years of all that encompasses pregnancy, childbirth, life with a newborn, life with a toddler, oh and yet another pregnancy and baby just 11 months after the first one! You see, many countless eternally special moments have since overshadowed that initial sadness and have made the journey worth it. But the remnant of these dreams is still present in my mind from time to time. And yeah, I do miss it sometimes. My journey as a parent of ‘Irish twins’ has been hard at times (okay, pretty much all the time), but all the labors encompassing that journey have been extremely self-defining and I wouldn’t have it any other way. If I could chalk up motherhood into one word, it would “selflessness.” And unless you are ready to put a large portion of your selfish goals to rest in order to profit your babies, you might find yourself thinking, “I miss my life before kids.” Oh, the freedom of being able to grab your wallet and keys (only) and drive to a friend’s house for awhile. Oh, the simplicity of surviving on frozen pizza with your newlywed spouse. Oh, the excitement of going out every weekend and doing spontaneous things! Oh, the freedom of not having to think of all the 10,000 things that come with the journey of motherhood. These sweet freedoms seem like memories of a distant past after only two years of parenthood. I hear of some of my other unwed/non parent friends doing some really fun things and I think about how sweet it must be for them to exercise those freedoms that they likely forget to cherish like someone in my place would. While I am so happy for them, sometimes I feel robbed of my young adulthood and I long for those more social days. And after several years of parenthood, it seems that my time with my dearest friends is just all too rare. And that can even include my amazing husband with whom I live! While I usually have only a few small hours to spend with him once my girls are in bed for the night, my mind is often reeling with all the things I have to do that sometimes it’s hard to fully relax and enjoy those precious baby-less times with him. Though I never could previously fathom myself having “Mom Brain,” but I totally do. It happens!! Life with two babies under two years old is hard. Life before I first became pregnant seems like a happy dream now. When I catch myself missing my life before children, I wouldn’t say I feel guilty. And that’s because I don’t let myself dwell on it. I almost always catch myself in this train of thought and I remind myself how blessed I am to start this beautiful journey so early on (and at all!). Some people don’t find their loves for many years into adulthood, and some struggle to conceive. I have personally known of both of these scenarios and I refuse to let such hardships go in vain. When I think of all that I have come to know by now, at a mere 23 years old, I quickly realize that my achievements are monumental for any lifetime, let alone the first 1/3rd or so of the average lifespan. I mean, I live in a house on a cul-de-sac in a neighborhood with tons of young families and children, I am happily married, I have two beautiful daughters, and an awesome dog. I am so very blessed! And because I am already well into the phase of my life that involves bearing and raising up children, I take pride in the fact that I’m arguably “ahead of the game” since settling down and having a family seems to be a major bullet on most people’s ultimate lifetime to-do list. You see, the two things that I miss most about life before children are the social freedom and excitement of a blank canvas future where my fantasies about what I would like to do in life actually seemed possible. And what keeps me sane is that one day when my children are older, I will have more of a social life without feeling the guilt of robbing my innocent children of that precious Mommy/baby bonding time. And actually, my future is still a blank canvas, except now there are my amazing daughters in the picture that I get to impart all my life’s wisdom in and witness them grow up into incredible women and eventually my best friends. Perhaps my free spirit musician in Austin, TX dream is not all lost- maybe in a few years we can relocate to that charming city after all, except now that I have kids, I’ll be able to include them in the fun that such a place can offer. I know that I’m more than capable of finishing that ever esteemed goal of graduating from college, when I’m ready. And I would like to get a Master’s Degree too. Oh, and along the way, I get all the benefits and experiences that come exclusively with parenthood. That selflessness that is so constantly exhausting and that is often overlooked, is actually maturing me faster into the accomplished human being that I probably would have become anyways. And by the way, I’ve already done the math: by 42 (if I don’t have any more babies), I’ll be an empty-nester with many extra hours a week to put into both my professional and personal goals. Nobody said it was easy, and I’m here to confirm that it isn’t. But I’m going to keep on keeping on with my head up high and a smile on my face, because all is not lost. The fulfillment I have gained from the parenthood journey so far greatly overshadows what I sometimes think I miss. I love to count my blessings, for they are many. Life goes by too fast to stay hung up on the possibilities of yesterday.
- 10 Drastic Differences Between Life Before and After Becoming A Mother — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama compares her life before and after becoming a mother and muses on why it is pretty incredible despite never having a moment alone.
- Sometimes — ANonyMous @ Radical Ramblings reflects on the things she misses about being childless, despite the fact she wouldn’t change her decision to become a mother for anything.
- The Baby Moon is Over — Mercedes at Project Procrastinot remembers her babymoon and misses the simplicity of being a wife before children.
- Everyone Misses Sleep — Jorje of Momma Jorje misses the same things that most moms miss, but with some little quircks…
- I miss my life, but not as much as I love this one. — Cara of CarasJeans reflects on how she copes with the difficult and selfless, yet profoundly rewarding, task of raising Irish twins in her young 20′s.
- I miss the life that never was. — Amy at Anktangle doesn’t pine for days and years past, but she does miss the life she thought she would have when she became a mother.