While the quote that we see on Pintrest as wall plaques seems cliche "I wish I would have had you sooner so I could have loved you longer", it holds so very true in my life.
Today I am participating in @jason04 contest for your life's biggest regret. I hope you enjoy my story and will share yours as well.
My husband (Brad) and I did not have our first and only child until about 7 years after we were married. The families had all lost hope in us having our own family, the would be grandma's quit asking, our friends (even though married later than us) all had children and some multiple at that time, but there we still were, childless. But this is not because of the inability to have children, at least not at that point. No, we were quite capable of bearing a child but the problem was all in me.
I was terrified. The thought of me being responsible for another life was debilitating to me. I was scared of childbirth but I was even more traumatized by the idea of being left alone with an infant. I had heard the many horror stories of postpartum and psychosis postpartum and couldn't stand the thought that I could be one of those moms. I had suffered from anxiety and depression from about the age of 21 and here I was in my late twenties and still suffered tremendously from it.
Brad on the other hand was so patient and so supportive of me and my illness. While he would be giving up something he has always wanted, to have his own child, he was still willing to stand by me. After many years of the debilitating depression and anxiety, I finally sought help and has eventually found relief and peace with myself. It wasn't easy, I had to work hard to come to this point but I finally did.
The moment of realization came to me after my well woman visit. I had told my doctor how I really wanted to finally start my own family, but I was still terrified and paralyzed with anxiety about the postpartum. My doctor, who I had been seeing for years, smiled at me and replied "Kim, why would you worry about something we can fix?"
I hadn't thought about it that way. Postpartum can be treated in multiple ways, depending on what treatment I want, etc. It was a light bulb moment for me. Actually that was more of an understatement. I started crying because it was a relief knowing that I had people by my side to help me all along the way with our journey of having a family and there were options for me.
Of course, fear of postpartum was just one obstacle for me. Apparently, having children wasn't going to be very easy for me. It took a couple years to conceive and then I spent many weeks in the hospital with preeclampsia. But Caleb was born a very healthy little boy and I recovered really well after my c-section.
There is absolutely NOTHING in my life that I love more than being a mom and a wife. I would have been completely happy with it being just Brad and I, but I know there still would have been something missing for us both. And that was fulfilled when Caleb came along. My life is full, complete and so very loved. Even on the caulik-y baby screaming, sleepless nights, I still woke up (tired but awake) filled with utter joy and happiness having Caleb in my life. Here we are and Caleb will turn eight in July and while I have the most perfect life that anyone could have, I still have my regret. I DO regret that I didn't have him sooner. I think about the seven years we were married that we could have spent that time loving and being loved by our son.
Is my regret a TRUE regret?
I don't know how things would have been for us if we would have had Caleb any sooner, and I wonder if we would be at the state of bliss as we are now, if we had him earlier. Would we have been too young to have him and to really know the absolute joy of being a parent? Or would life had been too rough to be able to enjoy life with a child? Those are questions I cannot answer for myself. I tell myself that we did the right thing to wait as long as we did because we said we'd be more "ready" or "prepared" for a child, but who is really ready for a child? From what I hear, no one is. But we told ourselves that we took that time to concentrate on our marriage instead of children. I suppose that is true up to a point, but we had just as many rocky moments in our marriage before as we did after (and of no fault of Caleb's). So I can't say how true that is either.
All in all, the reason we waited so long was out of fear. I feared unknown, I feared change, I feared myself and my capabilities. But it was all a fear that was easily crushed after I looked into Caleb's eyes for the first time.
And still to this day, while at times, I wonder if I am doing a good enough job, I really do know in my heart that I am. It might have helped that so many people tell me on a daily basis how great of a mom I am, that I am capable of feeling that way. LOL But a little confidence booster from others is ok with me. As for myself, I do feel confident knowing that I am the best mom he could ever have and the job I have done so far has been wonderful and wonder-filled for all three of us.
I may regret allowing fear to delay my life for as long as it did, but I do not, nor will ever, regret my push through the fear to get to where I am now.