I am old enough to have a baby

I’ve technically been old enough to have a baby since I was like fourteen. But I wasn’t exactly doing anything that could cause that to happen. And by “not exactly,” I mean, “not at all.” When my friends and I started having sex, we were all completely terrified of getting pregnant, as most girls, I’d assume, are.

And when I say terrified….You know the way your mind can start mapping out possible paths sperm might take to your uterus? It calculates that they can get there from improbable distances, over nearly insurmountable obstacles. Much like salmon, really. Those salmon, leaping and leaping until they clear the waterfall, swimming upstream.

I’ve taken a pregnancy test a few times, mostly out of paranoia, and each time, it’s the tensest minute ever. For a second, when the little minus sign forms, I think it’s a plus—OH MY GOD. NO. THIS ISN’T HAPPENING. Oh. Wait. It really isn’t happening. Yay! Sheesh, what the hell was I worried about? I’m obviously not pregnant.

There was never any chance that I was in any condition to raise a child at that point. And I also didn’t want to find out what the emotional ramifications of abortion were. The trick was not to get pregnant.

(click here for image source. This is not the baby I refer to in the rest of this piece. That baby is much more perfect.)

And yesterday a friend of mine had a baby. A real baby. Her name is Lily. She’s really tiny, as babies tend to be. My friend is twenty-five. She looked amazing pregnant. She is really excited about being a mom. She took the whole being pregnant thing in stride. Literally, too. She was walking all over the city. She kept wanting to talk about other things.

I’d be like, “So, you’re pregnant.”

She’d say, “Yup. How are the wedding plans coming along?”

I’d say, “I can’t believe you’re going to have a baby.”

She’d say, “Found a florist yet?”

I’d say, “Like, a real baby, y’know? A real one. It’s totally inside you right now. And then it’s going to come out, and there’s going to be this person. A PERSON.”

It’s no wonder she doesn’t want to hang out with me anymore. But seriously, there’s something strange and jarring about having arrived at a point in life when people are having babies. When people are just ready to do that. I can’t quite comprehend it. She is a mother now, and I am definitely still a kid.

I told my fiancé, “I feel suddenly immature.”

He laughed and said he did too. But that he liked being immature with me. Sometimes we act like complete idiots together, and do funny voices and weird faces. I mean once we just walked around the apartment with the stupidest walks we could come up with. It’s like that.

Which is not to say that people can’t do that after they have a baby. But I can’t imagine it, because having a baby seems like the biggest deal in the world. And I mean that. The biggest deal. In the world.

Anyway, welcome to the world, Lily! You’re the biggest deal!

I’ll try to come to terms with your existence. I’m working on it now.

*  *  *  *

Un-Roast: Today I love the way my body looks when I look down on it on the mat at gym. It looks longer than I expect it to, and sort of alien. I’m not used to seeing it from that angle yet. Saying those words requires me to link my friend Jamie’s blog, On the Mat. What’s your un-roast? Zoe (my faithful un-roaster)’s un-roast from yesterday was, “i like my legs today. i usually do but i like them a little extra today because i realized they no longer chafe in the summer heat like they used to! that and they’re strong enough to carry me on a seven mile run i’m about to undertake!” I can’t say that I support the post I just linked her name to, though, since it says something crazy about “divorcing chocolate.” :)

Thoughts on babies? I know a lot of you, being much more mature than me, actually have them.

As always, please help me grow cake by signing up for email alerts, reposting my stuff, putting it on fb, whatever. I love blogging and want to be able to justify continuing to do this every day!

30 Comments »

Kate on June 16th 2010 in life, new york, relationships

30 Responses to “I am old enough to have a baby”

  1. Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday responded on 16 Jun 2010 at 11:52 am #

    I ask everyone my age if they plan on having children, and when they say “yes” (which is 9 times out of 10) then I ask them why.

    No one ever has a good reason for wanting a child. So I’m not yet convinced.

    There seem to be LOTS of good reasons not to have a child.

    Unroast: I love my teeth. They’re all perfectly lined up like little soldiers, (and I never even had braces!) and they’re the perfect shade of white– not so white that they look unnatural, and not at all yellow.
    Yeah, I love my teeth.

  2. Kate responded on 16 Jun 2010 at 11:57 am #

    What do you think a good reason to have a child might be? What would it take to convince you?

    And yeah, your teeth sound awesome. My top teeth are pretty great, but the bottom ones seem to be fighting each other. I don’t even want to get involved.

  3. Wei-Wei responded on 16 Jun 2010 at 12:01 pm #

    Babies… scare me a little, to be completely honest. I think it’s scary that anyone would have to be fully responsible for an entire life, an entire, tiny being… it’s unreal. I’m definitely not ready to have a baby, mentally or physically, and somehow I don’t think anyone is ever ready for babies… it’s just something that happens that you learn to accept, I guess.

    Wei-Wei

  4. Jessica responded on 16 Jun 2010 at 12:09 pm #

    People are always asking me when I’m going to have a baby. I guess being 25 and married means my uterus is suddenly everyone’s business. And they always seem stunned when I say I’m not planning to any time soon. Though not as stunned as they would if I said what I really want to say, which is, “It’s none of your beeswax.”

  5. caronae responded on 16 Jun 2010 at 12:20 pm #

    Being capable of bearing a child is scary to me too. I’m 20 and I realize, in any other country, I could have like 4 children by now. I have always deeply, deeply wanted to be a mother. It’s just something that I absolutely, positively know. I don’t know when that would happen — in my ideal world it would be in 8-10 years, but sometimes unplanned things happen and sometimes planned things don’t happen. I don’t really have a fear of getting pregnant anytime soon since there is really no way that could happen. But if it did happen in a few years, I guess I would just take it in stride. I already love my as-yet unborn children more than almost anything.

    Un-roast: My hips are bigger and I like them this way. Good for making babies I suppose.

  6. Crystal responded on 16 Jun 2010 at 12:38 pm #

    I totally understand this- My Husband’s brother and sister in law are younger than us, and they have 3 kids! I’m only 24 mind you.. She is 23 and he is 26.. I think they are crazy, but I did get bitten by the baby bug about 6 months ago, and thought for a while that it was something that I wanted.. soon. Now I feel like I struggle between wanting them, and not- like I’m not going to be able to live my life if I have a kid. But as more of the people I know have kids, I feel like as much as it might suck sometimes (I’m really worried about the effect on my body as well) I don’t think that I want to miss out on it, and I don’t want to be too old to enjoy it.. It really takes my by surprise.. but who knows what will happen in the months to come!

  7. Cindy responded on 16 Jun 2010 at 12:40 pm #

    okay…calm down, everyone. Please…stand in an orderly fashion and breaaaathe.

    Kate….did you really need to post this today? Did you think I was going to be able to contain my typing fingers over this one???

    I was born a mother …not a “mother..something”
    but a mom.

    Like some people are born writers, or artists…
    some woman, like me, were born to nuture.

    First I must say, I love your generation. You actually decide for yourselves IF you want or need to be married; and IF you want or need to be parents.

    it IS a huge responsability. it IS a lot of work. AND you’ll never have a better job. EVER.

    But in my day (I am 39 and 3 quarters)…in my day. you marry, you raise a family. a rewarding job was for odd ducks. I say you can have both. I started on that journey too late though…but thankfully my first love anyways was Motherhood and family life.

    I was 23 and three quarters when my now 16 year old was born. Guess what; I still dance around the house and make silly faces, voices, quote movie lines, dress up like odd animals and otherwise goofy myself silly with my now two kids.

    Why should toddlers get all the giggles?

    I am glad your generation is one, taking your time, and two asking that very question…WHY? I don’t think everyone has it in them to make the sacrifices it takes to raise children. For some, it never occurs to you that you are sacrificing anything… I think a lot of those people would have been happier, and had used their god given talents to be architechts or doctors or what not if they had not had children to raise and it’s sad because they are torn and a lot of the time the children never get the depth of time and attention they need.

    I mean you CAN have your career and you family. But especially being a mother…you’re first priority always are those little guys. you are never really apart from them.

    and tears just popped out of my face realizing mine are 40 miles away and probably tossing cheerios at dad!

    (the toddler, not the Teen…well, I think)

    my favorite part about me is that I am a Mom. and now I am sort of depressed being at my job! hahaha (just kidding..kind of)

    Welcome little LILY (I was going to name JJ Lilly if he was a she) oh well. beautiful name! You ARE the biggest deal!

    you’ll know when you’re ready. and if you can start that journey WHEN you are ready…than it’s such a joy.

    and yes…you will need hips. I never appreciated that till now!
    xoxxoxoxo

  8. Monique responded on 16 Jun 2010 at 12:41 pm #

    I’m 23 and I have a four month old baby. I feel strange saying that in response to this post, because NOT having a baby seems to be the theme. I’ve been married for 2.5 years, and although our son wasn’t exactly planned, there was never a moment when we felt we didn’t want him. It’s been the most perfect experience of our lives.

    That’s not to say it’s been the easiest. But I wouldn’t rewind even if it were possible.

    Luckily, my husband and I still enjoy our moments of dorky wedded bliss. We’ve done the funny walk thing. And the funny faces. And the stupid jokes. And I think being in touch with our inner-child is going to make us better parents, because our kids just might think we’re fun.

    Un-roast: I love my post-baby body. Incredibly, I’m in better shape than before I got pregnant. Not only is my son going to have a silly mom, but one that can keep up with him, too!

  9. Cyndi responded on 16 Jun 2010 at 12:48 pm #

    It is so funny to me how much time and effort we put into NOT getting pregnant for the vast majority of our lives and being completely paranoid about it. When I was 25 I could not conceive of myself as a mother, responsible for someone else. I was an idiot. I was still hanging out in bars 4 nights a week. I forgot to pay the water bill. You get the idea.

    I knew I wanted kids “someday” but if anyone had asked why I would not have been able to answer. Looking back I realize I just thought that’s what you’re supposed to do. You get married then have kids. That’s life. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve never considered myself to be a suzy-homemaker type and have always had a career. I wasn’t looking for a husband and kids so I could stay home and play June Cleaver. I just thought it was the next step in life.

    That is the most absurd reason EVER for having kids or doing anything for that matter!!!! But, as I said….I was an idiot.

    I got married at 27 and had my first son almost exactly one year later when I was 28. I was slightly less of an idiot 3 years later but only very slightly. I remember as they were discharging us from the hospital with this tiny little guy I thought, “what?? no instructions, nothing??? what are we going to do???”.

    Today that tiny little guy is about to turn 12 and his brother is almost 10. Nothing prepares you for it, I absolutely loathed being pregnant, but it all works itself out and I cannot imagine my life without them. They are my 2 favorite people in the world, no question. And you are right, it is the biggest deal in the world but we can still act like morons whenever we want, in fact, kids really like that. :)

  10. Kate responded on 16 Jun 2010 at 12:53 pm #

    @Monique
    Thank you for sharing your perspective! Your son is a lucky kid! I really hope that I can retain that “dorkiness” in my relationship. That’s the right way to put it. And what an amazing un-roast. Well said.

    You too, Cindy, as always.

  11. Virginia responded on 16 Jun 2010 at 12:58 pm #

    I love this post and so completely share your terror about having babies. I’m 29, have been married almost exactly a year, and can say with confidence that I’m just not even close to being ready. But also that I am fine with that fact. I think we’re under enormous pressure to check things off a list (engaged, married, house, baby, career, etc) and yet in the race to hit those checkpoints, people forget about the very real pressures and anxieties (and fun and love and all that good stuff) that go into each stage. I’ve been in a big rush about some things in my life (namely career) and now I’m trying veryvery hard to just slow down and enjoy the ride. Because the truth is, my life is pretty damn great right now. And adding a baby might make it more great or less great, but it wouldn’t be the same great — and I like where I am now. So I’m pretty content to wait until that’s not true, or until the urge to have a baby kicks in and starts overpowering that, rather than focus on speeding myself up to be ready just because other people are doing it.

    That was a little rambly, sorry!

    I’m not sure I’ve done an unroast on yet! But today, I’m gonna go with my stomach. Yesterday, I had a bad stomach ache and I felt like my stomach was this enormous volley ball situation that I could barely walk around with. Everything hurt and felt gross. Today I’m all better, and my stomach feels completely normal (a little Buddha belly because that’s how I’m built, but that’s okay) and I’m like, oh right! My stomach is great. It’s nice to not feel gross. Good times.

  12. ally responded on 16 Jun 2010 at 1:54 pm #

    wow this post is timely… my younger sister just had her first baby this morning at 12:30 am… she’s 26. I’m 29, and I still can’t even comprehend having kids… I still feel like thats something that older, more mature people do. Now I have the added stress of being almost 30 and not having had kids yet. Like I’m going to miss the cut-off or something. Gah.

  13. Jamie responded on 16 Jun 2010 at 2:30 pm #

    Someday I will write a post about infertility, and then you will know my feelings on this subject. But I’m not ready to write it yet.

    Thanks for the link love : )

  14. wisiti responded on 16 Jun 2010 at 2:45 pm #

    I’m 27. I’ve been married for almost 8 years. Yes, we got married young. But I knew, practically from the moment I met him (this is sooo cliche!) that I wanted to marry him and spend the rest of our lives together. Now, kids, on the other hand, are a completely different story. We don’t have any and at this point in time, we’re still both contemplating never having any. I think it’s a very interesting conversation that all child-bearing people (and their partners) should be having. However, this conversation hardly ever happens. Most people are, like several commenters mentioned, just doing what is the expected next stage in life. Married? Check. Kids? Check. House with white picket fence? Check. Dog? Check.
    I have a sister-in-law who has four kids. She just had her most recent one and I am sooo over it. They had another (after they couldn’t handle 3) because they wanted a boy. No boy. So now they’re talking about possibly trying again. And this is coming from a woman who posts on Facebook every other day about how much she can’t stand her kids! She’s even expressed to me and our mother-in-law that she doesn’t like to do activities with her kids and that she would much rather just put them in front of the t.v.!
    What I think is amusing (maybe?) about this is that I’m the “bad” daughter-in-law for not having kids yet! Here we are, making logical decisions for our lives, waiting until we are ready, when we can afford them, when we’re responsible enough, and we’re the “weird/odd” ones!
    Sorry for the rambling – it just makes me sick to think about it. I feel so sorry for her kids. They have a really hard time of it and every time I see them I want to take them home with me and show them what real, caring adults are like. (Oh, and she also hates the dog she bought and it looks like we may now end up with the dog. It’s easy to pass off responsibility for a dog…) Ugh.

  15. Rob (R.M. Levitt) responded on 16 Jun 2010 at 4:07 pm #

    Here I am to bring a male perspective, like the Colmes to Kate’s Hannity, although I’m glad to say she’s nowhere near as combative and wrongheaded!

    I myself couldn’t imagine taking care of an infant. I’m 27, and a hamster is more my speed. Or better yet, a houseplant. Not to sound callous (although I will anyway) but I just don’t see the allure in sacrificing my freedom, my sleep, my peace and quiet, and a sizable chunk of my income for the privilege of sharing my home with a screaming, crying, vomiting little poop-machine that won’t even be able to have a conversation with me for at least two years.

    Yes, I’m a guy! Whatever that “nurturing” instinct is that you women seem to possess, I don’t have it. Babies do nothing for me. I don’t even like to hold them because I’m afraid I’ll break them, drop them, or trip and fall on them. I’m fine with them once they’re about eight or nine years old, when they’ve reached the age of reason, are past throwing tantrums, and can converse and engage in activities I consider fun. Most importantly, by then they tend to be potty trained.

    All I need to do is go to a restaurant, library or movie theater to see plenty of reasons not to have kids. Yes, plenty of screaming, misbehaving “reasons” whose parents are too permissive, ineffectual or simply too inconsiderate to be courteous to others by taking them outside. I think this is what happens when a generation of children who still haven’t grown up themselves turn around and have kids of their own.

    They don’t want to be the “bad guy” and enforce the necessary limits on their children’s behavior. They treat their children like friends or fashion accessories. What they want is a poodle in a handbag, not a child. I can’t even count how many times I’ve gone to the theater to see an R-rated movie and there are young children in the audience because their parents couldn’t be bothered to pay for a babysitter or get a movie from Netflix or Redbox instead.

    This is going to sound really awful, but with the planet overpopulated as it is, and a crisis in natural resources looming closer every day, do you really need to add to the problem so you can have a helpless little thing stare up into your eyes and love you unconditionally for a few years before it turns into a hulking, surly teenager that disrespects you and tells you you’re ruining its life because you won’t allow it to go out and party on a school night?

    Frankly, I’m disgusted by the state of society and that thing we call “culture” and I wouldn’t want to bring a child into this world anyway. There are simply too many deleterious influences to compete with unless you shelter your child completely, which is just as bad in its own way. With little boys being sold the image of gangstas, pimps and playas, and little girls idolizing divas like Britney Spears and performing sexual favors in grade school bathrooms, how can anyone expect to rear a child to an emotionally healthy, mature adult?

    I’m aware of how pessimistic that sounds, but sadly enough I truly believe that our society is on the decline and having children today is sentencing them to a life that will be very, very different than the lives we’re used to and not in a good way. I think the most responsible thing to do is simply not to breed.

  16. Rob (R.M. Levitt) responded on 16 Jun 2010 at 4:09 pm #

    @wisiti: AMEN. You took the words right out of my mouth.

  17. Jill responded on 16 Jun 2010 at 5:28 pm #

    I love this post! Its something my husband and I have been talking about lately, and explaining to other (nosy) people too :)
    We’re both 29. We’re very responsible and would be perfectly capable and good parents. But we have no interest whatsoever in having kids. Not now, not ever. It’s not that we don’t like kids, or that we’re not mature enough, or any other reason, other than we just don’t want to. We are excited about a life of adventure, where we have the opportunity to go places and do things as opportunities come up. Our priority is ourselves, the two of us, and our careers and interests. We don’t want to make our #1 priority a child (and I think to be a good parent, your child HAS to be #1). Just doesn’t do anything for us…
    @Rob: great post – I agree with you! Although our society is not the top reason for me not to have kids, its definitely part of it. There are far too many people having kids that are really not cut out for the job…

  18. Kate responded on 16 Jun 2010 at 5:39 pm #

    I’m so interested to learn how many of you aren’t interested in having kids, or feel stressed from people expecting you to. I’m impressed by those of you who are saying that you’ve given it a lot of thought and decided children aren’t the right choice for you. I wish more people thought extremely hard about having kids before they went ahead and reproduced!

    @Jill, I agree. If you’re going to have children, ideally you should be ready to make them your priority. Of course, not everyone is able to do that, often due to economic constraints.

    @Rob
    Here’s an article I just read in the Times: http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/06/06/should-this-be-the-last-generation/?scp=2&sq=peter%20singer&st=cse
    Check it out, if you haven’t already.

    @Jamie
    I’m so sorry, and I would like to hear your story sometime. Have you written about it before? Infertility is an important topic, especially now that women are trying to have babies much older than we used to. Here on the Upper West Side, there is a fertility treatment center on every other block!

  19. bobbie responded on 16 Jun 2010 at 6:19 pm #

    I had my first baby at 30 and the second at 33. I think those were the perfect ages. I know I could have been a good mom before those ages, but emotionally and financially, I was more secure.

  20. iwillnoteatthedarkness responded on 16 Jun 2010 at 7:31 pm #

    Babies are wonderful!! Though it is kind of weird to see your friends having them. I remember when my friend Alisha was pregnant with her first child. I said to her almost the same things you said to your friend. It’s amazing isn’t it that men and women can actually make another life and that women can carry and protect that life in their own bodies.
    I just turned 40, but I don’t have any children yet. I’m still hoping some day to have a child or adopt a child. Who knows what will happen? It’s good (very good) to ask yourself why you want a child and I’m glad that you and some others who replied here are asking that question. I’ve seen too many women who had children and really didn’t want them. Those children grow up to be so hurt and damaged.
    Finally, Lily is the biggest deal ever! Congratulate your friend for me!! My friend, Courtney, just had her first baby and I got to be there to see him right after he was born! He was precious and perfect! I just held him and held him. I couldn’t let him go!

  21. San D responded on 16 Jun 2010 at 8:34 pm #

    My mother’s generation (I’m 61) just didn’t even think about kids, “they” just happened. My generation was into the lovemaking act itself, and embraced the “pill”, but eventually as I like to say “we all turn into our mothers”. I, like you was not ready to have children. My reasons were many running the gamit from “I’m too selfish” to “I don’t want to turn into my mother” to “the world is going to hell in a handbasket, and I don’t want to bring a child into this world”. When we decided that we were ready for children, my body betrayed me (well that’s what infertility feels like). And in the process of going to a specialist, I found out I had ovarian cancer. So in effect, wanting to have children saved my life. Had I continued along the “not wanting to have children” road, I would not be here today. While that sounds miraculous, my heart was bruised, and to this day I still can’t pick up anyone’s baby even though they continue to thrust the unsuspecting little one in my arms. That said, it is what it is.

  22. Diane responded on 16 Jun 2010 at 9:10 pm #

    I have just found my way to this blog, and I’m looking forward to reading my way through it. In the meantime, this is a very interesting post. I’m pleased to see that your readers can have an intelligent discussion without bashing each other or putting anyone down. It’s refreshing.

    I have enormous respect for people who decide not to have children. My sister and a dear friend of mine have both always known that they would not, the way that I always knew that I would. I’ll admit, it was difficult for me to grasp at first, but I have given it a lot of thought. It is so much better to know yourself and be brave in the face of one’s family and society and their expectations than to raise unwanted children unhappily.

    I myself am pregnant with my first child, due in August. I have always known that I wanted kids. It feels like a part of the fabric of my being. My husband and I carefully weighed when the “best” time would be financially so we could at least try to get the little one off to a good start in that regard. I am beyond excited, I have loved almost every minute of being pregnant and yes, it feels like the biggest deal in the world!

    That is not to say that I’m not slightly terrified. It is a huge responsibility, and there are lots of things going wrong in the world that no one deserves to have happen. We will have to sacrifice, and I’m sure I’m going to make mistakes, many of them. All I can do is be thoughtful in how I raise my children and be hopeful that they will be part of a solution one day.

  23. Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) responded on 16 Jun 2010 at 9:32 pm #

    Kate great post…I never, ever, ever wanted kids. I was marching to my own (childless) beat. And loving it. Never wanted to ooh and ahh over a baby or raise a child. No way! Then, at age 28 my clock ticked. No, it thumped. And I HAD to get preg as fast as I could. And I did. But only after hubs made me wait 6 mos and think about this b/c it was so diff than what i had ever wanted in the past. And I am blessed beyond words to be a mother. Your life changes forever in every possible way. And so taking one’s time and really figuring it out is key! That said, you also do just have to dive off the cliff a bit b/c most people if you overthink it, could talk yourself out of it…at least us in-our-head types :)

  24. Sarah responded on 16 Jun 2010 at 10:54 pm #

    Babies scare me. Seriously. I don’t even want to have one, which makes people stare at me in shock and horror sometimes. Especially because I just got married this weekend. As if marriage makes people want to have babies.

    Anyway…I’m much more comfortable talking about silly walks. Ever see the Monty Python episode about the Ministry of Silly Walks? So good. Search for videos on YouTube, and you won’t feel so immature. I mean, those guys on Monty Python are way older than you and they’re doing silly walks for an international audience. ;-)

  25. lauren responded on 17 Jun 2010 at 1:35 am #

    My mom did it all. Married at 22 once she had finished working her way through college. Very successful business woman, two kids, cooked most of our meals (on Sundays and my would usually heat them up during the week when she worked late). She gave up friends and fun for me and my brother. And all she got were two bizarre children who didn’t meet her expectations. All she asked were for us to believe in God (neither of us do), give her grandchildren (i’ve never been in a relationship), try hard (my bro doesn’t), and be happy (i’ve had depression since i was 11). All i ever did was make life unpleasant. Considering that I still can’t talk to men at 23, let alone get a date, I cannot imagine ever being in a position to get pregnant or be financially able to provide for a child (woot grad school!). In addition, my own mental state (EDs, rages, being mean, body image, bad relationships with food) makes me hesitant to raise children. Thus I will in all probabilitydisappoint my parents.
    My mother still loves me, but she and my father gave up so much for my brother and me and there is no way we can ever repay them in the ways they deserve and or want. My brother might have children – and i dream of being the crazy spinster aunt to them.
    Nevertheless, it is disconcerting that i see babies and my hormones scream: gimme! Damn biology.

  26. Rob (R.M. Levitt) responded on 17 Jun 2010 at 7:17 pm #

    @Kate: Thanks for the link to that essay, it was good reading!

    @Lauren:

    Your story really upset me. It sounds like you’re struggling with a lot of guilt. But remember that your life is yours to live as you please, and good parents want only for their children to be strong, healthy and happy — whatever that means to them. All you ever did was make your mother’s life unpleasant? Really? Is that what you believe, or what she believes?

    The fact that you’ve been depressed since age 11 and suffer from these unhealthy mental states gives me the impression that your childhood was not very happy at all. Was that your fault? You were a child. How could you have been responsible for that? So when you say that your mother “did it all” I have to disagree. I believe she failed you. She failed to see you and cherish you as the person you are, and only saw your “failure” to be the person she wanted you to be.

    In fact most of what you wrote sounds like the very kind of guilt-tripping harangue I can imagine her directing at you and your brother. “I did so much for you! I gave up fun and friends, and all I got was two bizarre children! I asked for so little in return! All you did was make life unpleasant!” See what I’m saying?

    Even if she hasn’t said those words aloud, the fact that you feel this way evinces that she managed to communicate that message to you anyway. Why else do you think you would have gotten depressed as such a young age and started punishing yourself? It seems to me that you’ve been made to feel as though you’re to blame for things you couldn’t possibly have been responsible for. My heart goes out to you.

    There is light at the end of the tunnel. One day you will realize that after living on this planet for however many years, you have earned the right to stand up and say to the world, “I don’t have to justify my existence to anyone. I don’t need to live up to anyone’s expectations by my own, and I don’t need to carry a burden of guilt for failures that weren’t even mine in the first place.”

    As long as you carry that burden, your mother doesn’t have to. You’re protecting her from it by carrying it yourself. Do you really owe her that? As your mother, wasn’t it her job to protect you, not vice-versa? You aren’t a child anymore. Believe it or not, you have the power to choose your own values and decide how to feel about your own life. Don’t let your mother have that power over you anymore. Best of luck to you. Email me if you want.

  27. Shyra responded on 18 Jun 2010 at 2:44 pm #

    Kate,

    I have the PERFECT solution for you! It TOTALLY worked for me. Get pregnant but don’t find out ur pregnant until ur giving birth. Seriously. I was so busy with school I didn’t even know I was pregnant. It totally reduces anxiety bc what’s the worst that can happen after the baby is already here and u didn’t have any notice. If I knew I was pregnant I would have been a total nightmare. My surprise was like the greatest ever. And because he was a surprise I have completely learned to let go and just live my life
    (with a baby in stroller leading the way).

  28. janetha responded on 21 Jun 2010 at 5:12 pm #

    oh boy i’ve missed your blog! i could totally relate to this one, you’re the best writer evvvver, yep. missed you. i think i am back to being able to read for a few :)

  29. Eat the Damn Cake » So, a few things responded on 14 Nov 2010 at 5:27 pm #

    [...] the technical term. Erin is brilliant, hilarious, and really, really brave. I wrote about her here, when she had Lily, and I panicked because I’m completely self-centered and I immediately had an [...]

  30. Kelley responded on 29 Oct 2012 at 6:33 pm #

    So glad I found this! It is nice to see everyones opinions b/c that in fact is exactly what I need right now. I am 23 and just found out I am pregnant. Me and my b/f have only been together around 5 months, but we are extremely close and have a great relationship and even live together. He would be a great father and I would make a great mother (or so I hope) but I just don’t know if I am ready for this right now. My life revolves around traveling and adventure and I feel like having a kid would just put an end to all of my freedoms, but at the same time I feel like it could be the best thing to ever happen to us. I think a baby teaches you so much, makes you grow up, learn to really be selfless, puts you back in the state where all the corruption and negativity that has become like a plaque on peoples souls gets wiped away when you experience the innocents of a child. I am torn about what is the best decision for me to make. There is a lot of messed up stuff going on in the world right now, and sometimes idk if I want to bring a life into it right now. I need help!