Guest Post By Kaitlin Cowan
I often envision myself standing with a baby on my hip while I talk to a friend. I pull my sweet baby close to me and kiss her chubby cheeks (which run in the family). I smooth down her fluffy hair and hold her little feet in my hand.
Of course in these visions I’m also dressed in something other than yoga pants and my hair is washed. And I feel blissfully happy about being a mother. And I’m well rested. And I’ve got it together. And I don’t have any anxiety about this incredible responsibility.
Reality: I am a childless woman who wants so much to know what it’s like to be a mother. I’m a pre-mom.
Quite frankly if things had gone my way, I would have gotten married around 24 to my soulmate who I met in college and at least two of my up to four children would already be born. But alas, I’m single with no prospects and no children.
But even though I don’t have children I can see that parenting is full of joy and fulfillment yes, but it’s also full of fatigue, anxiety, and fighting to make yourself interested in playing doll house or superheroes.
I was watching my niece and nephew for the weekend. Within the first five minutes, I picked up my niece (around 12 months) up off the floor and was holding her when I hear this weird sound…she had a Lego in her mouth and was just chewing on it. I of course freaked out, pulled the Lego out of her mouth, and made sure she hadn’t stuck anything else in there. Even though I knew she was fine and could see she was fine, my brain decided to make up a bunch of craziness (i.e. “what if she swallowed something else before then?” and “What if there is Lego lodged in her intestines!?!?!?!?!”). So like a good auntie, I checked on her MULTIPLE times that night…just to make sure she was breathing. The anxiety I will likely experience as a mother is very real to me when I reflect on this moment.
So you may think us childless women don’t understand what it means to be a mother and quite honestly you’re not wrong. I can’t really know what it would be like to hold my baby for the first time or what it feels like to be responsible for another person’s life 24/7. That time has not come for me yet. Although some days are hard, hold on to those moments because you have gotten that opportunity. And don’t forget us pre-moms out here. Pre-moms can be your greatest allies and sources of support. Although we may not have kids of our own, we have the fierce momma bear instinct coursing through us just itching to escape. For instance, if I have to make a quick stop in the car, you can be sure I’ll throw out that mom arm to hold you back. But in all seriousness, it gives us joy to be a person in your child’s life. When we nanny and get to pack up the snacks, make sure we have enough diapers, and plan the day around nap time, that brings joy to our souls. When I’m working with a child who doesn’t want to cooperate, but a firm tone gets them to do what is asked, I ride that high for the rest of the day. So while allowing a pre-mom to be in your life may seem like merely a way to have some adult human contact (which is so very important), you are also filling our cups. It takes a village and we are not meant to live without community.
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