We usually come across many articles encouraging young couples to have kids, extolling the virtues and joys of parenthood, how amazing it is to have a child and how the love for a child supercedes all obstacles. Seldom do we see articles that address and even moot the idea of being childless by choice. Perhaps because it is taboo to go against the very natural grain of procreation and sing an alternative rhetoric. So it was refreshing when I came across this article today.
The article highlighted many points that I could definitely relate to, after all A and I fell into the childless by choice category…up until 4 months ago.
Say what!?!?! Pregnant?? Me???
Yes we are unexpectedly, expecting.
Close friends of ours will know that Parenthood has always been a very distant idea for us – we cringe at the sound of crying babies, never took initiative to play with kids and often shrugged off well-meaning suggestions of us having children. Miraculously, in spite of our preventive measures, life literally happens.
Truth be told, I was in shock when my doctor first announced I was in fact 8 weeks along. that’s 2 months!!?? Wait did I just take some lead falls last week? Was baby going dizzy from all my handstands? I never suspected that I could be pregnant, I was lucky to not experience any nausea or discomfort and am still pretty active both in climbing and yoga. Fortunately, whatever I did in the first 8 weeks didn’t seem to affect baby cos doctor said all is well and this little buddy’s here to stay.
It would seem inconceivable (see what I did there?) that I wasn’t initially over the moon about this little miracle. As much as there are people who desperately want to be parents, I know a few many others who view parenthood as a choice. Indeed our circumstances are perfect for starting a family. A and I have a great marriage, we’ve just moved back home and have family support, we have rather stable jobs etc. But I’ve alway believed whether a couple chooses to fall into the natural order of procreation is a very personal choice made by two people and for us, parenthood was not necessarily part of the marriage equation. So it came as more of a shock when we were presented with a situation that was not part of our plan. I wasn’t afraid that I might not be capable of maternal love – trust me, I believe strongly that all parents will love their own children; I was more resistant of parental responsibilities, knowing my freedom will be limited and the fact that my life would irrevocably change after this one-way ticket.
I eventually came to terms with the pregnancy when I first saw my baby’s waving arms and legs at the 12 wks detailed ultrasound scan, the idea of motherhood though still distant became more concrete. As much as I never saw myself as a parent, the idea of terminating a life never crossed our minds. I am indeed carrying a living, breathing life inside, it was overwhelming as all my protective mommy thoughts kicked in bit by bit – no more raw fish, no more coffee, take my yoga practice down a notch, and no more lead climbing or taking falls. It was as though I was not in control and something biological and very primal surfaced, there was just an instinctual need to guard and protect this life inside, part of my flesh and my tribe.
Now that I’m in Week 16, I know that a new phase awaits and fear will only cloud my vision. If I really think about it, there’s nothing stopping us from taking baby places, bouldering while baby explores or making daddy carry him while doing circuits (excellent weights training). What’s more, acro/baby yoga with a little one is so fashionable! Apart from the pregnancy clumsiness (I dropped a knife on my foot!) and uncharacteristic cravings for savoury food, I’ve been feeling pretty upbeat, still teaching and practicing yoga, and doing light bouldering once a week. Being pregnant does not mean that I should be strapped to a bed, I’m allowing my body to do what it feels good doing and that definitely includes exercise. We even have a Dec trip planned to Taiwan’s Long Dong for some sport climbing, I will be 5 months then and probably only top-roping easy routes.
Granted I’m still none the wiser about caring for babies, clueless when it comes to raising a kid and of course hopeful that I can still conquer the world after motherhood. But I’ve accepted that what started out as a choice we did not make is a precious gift that I’ve already started to love with all my heart.