This is definitely the year of babes in my group of friends. Three of my girlfriends from home have had or will be having a baby for the first time before the new year (although it wouldn't be a stretch if one of them held out into the first day or two of 2009). Having a kid was never something I ever aspired to do. That is, if one does aspire to bear children. I always swore I'd be single and childless at age thirty, living the great single life in a big city, doing as I please, answering to and for no one but myself. Funny how things change, isn't it? It's still sometimes strange to think that I'm married, that I am a wife. It's even stranger to think of myself becoming a mother. Generally, I've always gotten along well with babies and kids, kind of like I have with cats and dogs. When my nephews were born and I swaddled them in my arms for the first time, my heart swelled with love unlike it ever had before. Is it even possible to share such a full heart with a kid of my own?
Before getting married, Gui made it clear to me that he wanted to someday become a father. I've never had the "baby fever" that it seems everyone else gets, but coming from a large family, it still feels natural to think of growing a family. Over the past few months I've become really curious about motherhood, and I've found my mind drifting off into my hypothetical life as a mom. I see moms with with strollers on buses and metros and I think of how exhausting it must be to be a mom in this city. I notice young kids waiting at the bus station or hopping on the metro alone and I admire their independence yet question if I'd ever be able to trust my own offspring to tackle this big city alone. I walk by the kids in the park with their mothers or their nannies and wonder if we'll have to hire a nanny. I read the blogs of expat moms in bilingual families and speculate how we might one day communicate as a family. It's all stuff that I never pondered before, things that seemed so far off in time they weren't worth even thinking about. It's rather exhausting to consider all the possibilities, all the logistics and energy that must be go into being a parent. Can someone ever really be ready? I guess if we want to have a kid in three years, it might be a good idea to start our research and preparations now.
Although Gui and I aren't looking to add to our family today or tomorrow, I feel that "someday" is quickly morphing into "soon," and that makes me both curious and anxious. We've gone as far as thinking of names (boy names are so hard to come up with), but we haven't settled on how many kids make an ideal family (I have a feeling we won't settle on this until after we successfully have one). We've also talked about where the best place would be to raise our hypothetical kid(s), which is proving to be a harder question to answer than it seems. I can't imagine being pregnant without the massive support system of friends and family that I have in the States. Not to mention the physical challenges I'd have to overcome if we're still living in Paris. And, what about health care and education and language and cultural activities? So much to consider. So. Much. But, thankfully, I still have some time to do my homework and pick the brains of my girl friends back home. I'm sure by the time we're ready to take the plunge into parenthood, they'll be old pros and will have a fair share of advice and knowledge to share with us. And, then during their prepubescent years, we'll be shipping our kids off to each others' homes for a yearly cultural exchange of sorts. Although, maybe it's still too early to start planning how I'm going to get rid of my adolescent kid.