About two weeks before London was born, I was talking with a mom of two kids and telling her about the baby girl that we planned on welcoming into the world on May 4th (or sometime around then). When I finished up sharing my exciting news, she had a question for me, “Are you ready?”
“Yeah, I’m ready,” I said.
“No. No, you’re not,” she replied.
For some reason this exchange, between the parent who is in the thick of it and the expectant parent, is commonplace. And, I would be willing to bet that expectant fathers get this response more than expectant mothers do, but I am not bothered by that. I am bothered by the response, “No. No, you’re not.”
Obviously, I recognize that this response is, in part, a weak attempt at humor. What appreciation I have for that humor though is wiped away by the response’s other message, one that seems to imply that my wife and I, one, did not know what we were doing when we decided to make a baby and, two, that prior to that decision, we did not think about what we were getting into or taking on.
Of course, no one knows for sure what they are getting into when they decide to start a family. We certainly did not know that five months to the day that we found out we were expectant parents our little girl would arrive. We did not know that London’s prematurity meant that I had to stay at home with her. We did not know of how deeply we would love our child. We could not have imagined our lives changing so much in the span of six hours on the night of January 29th.
But we did know something before London was even a whisper. We knew that if we moved forward with our desire to start a family we were embracing the unknown in a way we never had before. Within that unknown, there sure was the possibility of having a preemie. There was the possibility of a miscarriage. Really, the possibilities are endless and that is a frightening thought, especially when you become a parent.
For the chance to love someone more than ourselves; for the opportunity to have our hearts leave us and become a little human being, these are joys that trump the unknown.
For that mom who said, “No. No, you’re not,” who knows what surprises and challenges came her way in parenthood, but, she must know, and so must other parents who tell expectant parents that they are not ready, that, indeed, some of us are.