When I got pregnant, I thought, this is great, I will have so much to write about! But as you can see, I haven’t posted a damn thing anywhere. I’ve thought about it many times, and I’ve written drafts. But to be honest, I was afraid. Pregnancy and parenting blogging seemed to present a gauntlet of potential judgment and mis-steps. I was afraid to post my opinions on things for fear of insulting or appalling other moms and mom-to-bes. Writing about mountain biking is one thing: I have a fairly limited audience, and a limited number of people I can offend. Not to mention that most of what I’m writing is pretty unoffensive in general. I’m writing about experiences more so than opinions, and the people reading what I write are mostly like-minded individuals with the same passion for riding bikes that I have.
Motherhood however, is a much more broadly experienced part of life. I know people of all walks of life that are moms or would like to be moms, and almost all of them have different styles and thoughts on how best to raise their kids – some of whom I agree with, some of whom I don’t. With such a wide range of opinions, no matter what I write, someone is bound to disagree, possibly vehemently. I also know women that wouldn’t dream of being moms, or maybe just have no real desire to do so, and I also fear judgement of my choices from them. Am I perceived to be giving up on my ambitions by having a baby? The audience that could potentially relate to my writing goes up tenfold with this new topic, and so, in turn, do the number of people lurking in the online ether waiting to place judgment on my thoughts and opinions. It’s a scary world out there for a blogging mom to be.
So here I am, only 6 days remaining until my due date, and I’m writing, and maybe this time, I’ll let the world see. I think I’m ready to tiptoe carefully into this world and see what people think. Maybe it starts with linking life before to life now by talking about how I’ve kept my sanity through pregnancy using a bike. And maybe that leads me to a pet peeve I have with many parents, and maybe that gets me in trouble right out of the gate. I guess with this new adventure looming; with a small life form about to tip me headfirst into an abyss of complete unknown, survival has started to seem like the more pressing issue, rather than the opinions of others. Maybe I want to find out if there are others out there who are like me. Surely there are. Maybe I’m feeling the need to connect.
I should start at the beginning.
Deciding to have a baby was not an easy decision for my husband and I. I thought it would be, but it wasn’t. If you had asked me at 25 if I wanted to be a mom, I would have said “Of Course!”. But then life happened, and babies didn’t, and I was having a lot of fun, and I became pretty comfortable with the life I had. I had a career, and an amazing husband, I was achieving goals, and experiencing the world, following my athletic dreams, why on earth would I want that to change? Well, I’ll tell you what happened: All of a sudden, I’m 32 and I realize, shit… I’ve been following this one dream… but I forgot about that other dream I used to have, where I have a kid to share all of this amazing stuff with. Crap, my brain says, can’t I have both?
Common sense says yes, but public opinion seems to say no. The overwhelming majority of what I hear from other parents, is that “life as you know it is over” once you have kids . Well, I have to be honest, I really don’t want this to be the end of life as I know it. I fully expect change, and I’m ready to embrace it, but the end of life as I know it? Doesn’t sound so great to me. Tip number one for parents: try telling people considering having a baby the good parts up front, not exclusively the bad parts. You’ll never sleep, you’ll never have enough money, you’ll never get to ride anymore, travel will be impossible. All of these statements from others, while meant to be perceived lightly and jokingly for the most part, weighed heavily on my mind, like boulders blocking the tunnel back to the time when I was sure having kids was right for me. So it took some thinking. It took a year of exploring, a year of sopping up all the experiences I could, and pondering whether this was enough, or if that dream I held of being a mom was still pinned back there, behind those rocks, at the back of my mind, waiting to resurface, maybe too late. It would have been an easier decision if my husband was firmly in one camp or another, but he was in the same boat as me, having always imagined having kids, but a bit scared of the reality of actually doing it. We both needed some time to figure it out, together. So we took it – traveling together, having lots of long conversations over meals and on chairlifts in different parts of the world, thoroughly appreciating what we had and carefully observing what our friends with kids had, in order to figure out what we wanted.
Based on the fact that I just told you I’m 6 days away from my due date, you can probably guess the route that this self reflection took us down. It still doesn’t feel quite real, but here we are. While I’m still nervous about being a good mom, and unsure how I’m going to handle the initial sleep deprivation and the constant dependency our little one will have on us, I’m also excited. Excited to meet the little munchkin we created and watch them grow. Excited to learn about being a parent, and see how that changes or doesn’t change us as people and as a couple. Excited to try to merge Margaret the mountain biker with Margaret the Mom and prove that it is possible to be both. And maybe most of all, excited to introduce this new human being to this wonderful albeit sometimes frightening world. We are ready for a new adventure, and this certainly seems like the beginning of a good one.