I’m not very good at making decisions. I just don’t like doing it. Motherhood is all about making decisions, though. What color should the nursery be? Which stroller should I buy? Which pediatrician should we go to? What food should we give him first?
I assume as my son gets older the decisions will get harder to make, but so far these have been my toughest decisions about motherhood:
Should we even have kids?
I grew up loving kids. I played with dolls from as early as I can remember, I babysat starting in middle school and I even became a teacher (which trust me, you have to love kids to do!). If you would have asked me when I was younger if I wanted kids it wouldn’t even have been a decision to make; I obviously did! Then I started teaching…
Teaching is not an easy job. I gave my students all that I had throughout the day and I couldn’t imagine coming home and having any more to give to my own child. I would always tell the other teachers who had their own children how amazing they were for being able to do both. I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to be one of those people, though. Then, after several years of teaching, I became a director of a preschool. It was the perfect balance of teaching, managing and office work and it really reminded me of how much I loved kids.
My husband and I discussed it a lot while I was teaching and he said that he would be okay if I decided that I just couldn’t be a mom and a teacher. Then once I became the director we talked again and decided to try to get pregnant. We got pregnant almost immediately and I was so excited right from the beginning. Unfortunately that pregnancy ended in a miscarriage. It was an extremely tough thing to go through but it just proved to me, even more, that I was meant to be a mom. Right when we could start trying again we did. I was very nervous throughout the pregnancy, because I didn’t want the diasppointment again, but once I saw my son I knew that we had made the right decision. I couldn’t imagine my life not being a mom.
What should we name the baby?
This should not have been as big of a decision as it was for us. I knew we were in trouble, though, right before we got our first dog and my husband said “it’s really important to me that I get to name him”. Umm…what? So for months we discussed names and we finally agreed on Dexter (from the show Dexter). When we got our second dog it was easier because we decided to just stick with serial killer names and went with Norman (as in Bates).
Once I was pregnant and we started talking about names we realized that we couldn’t continue the serial killer names with our child (well, we could, but people might start to talk). So we started discussing other options. We started with boy names and we easily came up with two that we both loved. When it came to girl names, though, we had a much harder time. Every name he said I would hate, and vice versa. There seemed to be no compromising, so we decided to table the discussions until we knew if we were having a boy or a girl.
Luckily, we found out we were having a boy so our decision became much easier. My husband said that he loved both names equally so he would leave it up to me to decide. Both of the names were very different so we thought we should wait until the baby was born to decide which name to go with. The second I saw him I knew he was a Ryan and I have been happy with that decision ever since!
Should I stay home or go back to work?
This is a tough one that I think plagues all mothers. On the one hand I grew up with a stay-at-home mom and I loved it. She was able to participate in every school event (she was even the PTO president!) and I knew I wanted that with my child too. On the other hand, I had worked very hard to go through college, an internship, and back to school for another endorsement on my teaching certificate. I had worked many tough jobs to get enough experience to get into a good school and worked my way up to Director there. I loved (most parts of) my job which made it an even harder decision to make.
Ultimately, I decided that my job was just not flexible enough to do while also being a mom (I give so much credit to the moms who can juggle both, I just didn’t feel like I could). It was a very hard decision to make and I definitely miss going to work, but I also know that I am very lucky that I could even make that choice. I also know that everything happens for a reason and now that my son was diagnosed with Down syndrome I am so relieved that I get to stay home with him. Eventually I want to go back to work (part-time at least) but for now, I am very happy to be a stay-at-home mom.
Should I get an epidural?
Just kidding! That was by far the easiest (and best) decision I’ve ever made! Yes, please!
Should we have another baby?
I feel like right when you get married the first question people ask you is, “when are you going to have kids”. Then once you have one you think they’ll get off your back for a while. Instead, the question always comes… “when are you going to have another?”. Umm…can I please just enjoy this one for a while (not to mention, let my body heal for a few minutes)?
But we aren’t getting any younger so this is definitely a decision we have to make sooner rather than later. We had discussed it a lot before we even had our son and we were definitely on the fence about how many kids to have. The fact that he has Down syndrome now has to be entered into our decision making as well (I love him with all of my heart and soul and wouldn’t change him for the world, but we can’t be ignorant to the fact that our chances of having another child with DS goes up to 1 in 100 which is definitely something to think about). I think we change our mind weekly about having another and it will be something we have to continue to think about before we make a final decision. Stay tuned!