The people who plan to have a baby are probably a bit more prepared and have already quizzed themselves before pro-creating… but what about when it’s an accident? An unplanned surprise? You find yourself pregnant, confused and thinking a million things that you’d never really given that much thought to before because “you had time” and would “think about it later”. Well I don’t know about you, but I’ve forced myself to think long and hard about the budding life that is soon arriving at Port Vagina, and these are the most important questions I concluded.
- Am I ready?
This is a loaded question I know, and can be interpreted individually but lets work on the surface level first; are you ready for baby? If you’re in you’re first trimester then I wouldn’t think too much about this, sure it feels nice to start nesting and buying little bits but you actually do have plenty of time, so just focus on yourself (plus, if you’re anything like me all you can focus on is not being sick!). When you reach your second trimester it might be time to start planning, there is ALOT to think about. What kind of pram will you want? Or maybe it’ll be a travel system? Where will baby sleep to start with? Will you breastfeed or bottle-feed? What colour will you paint the tiny ones room? How will you combat any difficulties in pregnancy, labour or birth? Will you get maternity pay or maternity allowance?… Shit! How do you claim maternity allowance?!
(F.Y.I Maternity allowance is the one that applies if you’re self employed like moi, I’m going to do a whole super helpful post on that subject soon… when I’ve actually figured it out myself. Bare with.)
Lets get deep though because whilst having a baby feels all cute, it’s arguably the single most radical change you can make in your life; so the question is, are you ready?
Is that even possible? Is anyone ever ready? Well most parents will tell you no, and I think even Serena OfFred will admit all the planning in the world won’t quite prepare you. But we still need to take some time to let the severity sink in don’t we? I mean, we are no longer a solo enterprise, for the next 2 years at least you come with a plus one which will undoubtedly effect your relationship, friendships, daily rituals and obviously, work…
Is anyone else hyperventilating yet!?
The relationship factor seems obvious and is perhaps the most simply sorted if you were in a good relationship already; you’ve just got to be a team. We got into this together, so we’re going to get through this together. And we’re going to rock parenthood like we rocked couple-hood!! YES!
If you’re situation differs from the textbook and you’re going to become a mum on your own, then the same still applies I reckon. You’re going to rock being a parent just like you’ve rocked being independent and strong. #Whoruntheworld
The friendships part acts as a test. You’re real friends will still make the effort; they will tolerate your spawn when it arrives and understand when your availability and enthusiasm isn’t quite what it used to be. If they don’t make the cut, cut ‘em. You’ll have a new BFF soon don’t you know! (OK maybe not forever but surely for the first few years they don’t really have a choice!)
The daily rituals? Ha. I think we can pick our battles and wave our little white flag at this one ladies. I’m already making breakfast one handed and practicing how to shower in less than 2 minutes… WITH hair washing… It’s an art form. That said, the beauty of having a self employed fiancé who frequently works from home might mean I can still get in some “me time” every once in a while!
And work, well if you are a self-employed mum-to-be this might be the biggest consideration when starting a family. Our work can be pretty uncertain at the best of times so juggling earning with wanting to take time out to be a new mum is going to be hard. Doubly hard if like me your partner is also a freelance creative. But, people do it and survive (and flourish) so I think its all about planning, resourcefulness, balance and support.
At least that’s my game plan.
- Is my partner ready?
(Totally skip-able if you’re a single pringle)
It’s so easy to become self absorbed and trapped in your own mind when pregnant, and honestly I hear you; you are the one going through the changes. But I think its really important to take a moment and think about our side kicks in this journey, after all, their lives are about to change massively too. For Bjorn and I, my doubts about my readiness were in the first 12 weeks, whilst I felt pregnant, but didn’t look it. For Bjorn, the reality only really started to sink in around 20 weeks, when he could see the little squirt moving around. By this point I just tried to listen, listen and listen some more. Hoping, even though we’re both as clueless in this situation as each other, that I could use my very recent experience of nerviness to help reassure him. Because, while our partners are trying to be all strong and supportive because we’re sensitive wrecks, they might not be voicing concerns and worries they have about becoming a dad. And I doubt they’re looking up dad blogs and reading books about parenting (brownie points if they are), so time should be spent listening, sympathising and basically going through the same factors that were in my first question, to make sure they are as prepared (or equally unprepared) as we are.
- How am I going to make this work? Logistically speaking.
This depends whether you’re employed, self employed, unemployed. Whether you’re able or have any issues in life that might make things a little harder. Whether you have family around you or not. And whether you have financial support from a partner.
After a lot of thought, I consider myself quite fortunate in this area. I touched on the difficulties of being pregnant whilst self employed before, and truth be told its been a lot harder than I’d predicted (I should probably write a post on that…). But, the beauty of it is that when our little spring arrives; I don’t have a deadline to go back to work, which is great right? Oh, apart from the earning money thing yes. Well it’s still great, I don’t HAVE to go back to working until I want to, and yet I CAN start working the as soon as I want or as soon as a good opportunity arises (the nature of being an actor is that you have very little choice so we’ll see).
So, in theory: 0% commitment, 100% flexibility with baby.
Bjorn and I are very lucky and have great family around us, so when I want to work, and Bjorn can’t be at home, we have a loving list of willing relos ready to step in and day care.
- What kind of parent do I want to be?
We live in a world of expectations and trends (thank you social media) so it’s difficult to truly step away, detach and think about what’s deeply important to you when it comes to how you’ll raise your baby. Am I nature over nurture? Do I want a militant approach, full of organisation and rules to teach my child clear distinctions between right and wrong? Or do I want freeness and space, so they can explore the world and figure it out more for themselves? Will I raise my child under a religion? What diet will I introduce it to? Will I be a “I understand how you’re feeling right now but I’d like you to be calm so we can discuss the problem” kind of mum or a “I swear if you throw that on the floor one more time I’m going to send it flying so far even Dora The Explorer wont find it you little shit”… Who knows?
(I think I know.)
Bjorn and I have already decided on a few things; we’re going to be eco parents (typically on trend!) so biodegradable wipes, reusable nappies and plastic free to a realistic extent. The baby will be vegan-vegetarian, as we both are, at least until it understands where food comes from and can make an educated decision themselves. He/she will be encouraged to play an instrument (as Bjorn does). He/she will be encouraged to play a sport (as Bjorn does), and he/she will hopefully speak a second language (as Bjorn d… Hang on.
WHAT THE FUCK AM I BRINGING TO THE MIX?!)
Ambitious parents? Maybe.
Pushy? Nope. Ain’t nobody got time energy for that.
- Can I fuck this up?
The long answer seems way too scary, and burdened with case studies and social evaluations, not really my vibe. So I’m going to go with the short answer: NO. We’ve just got to do our very best, as others do and (hopefully) your parents did.
Good luck mammas!!