When I finally got that degree in marketing from The University of Chicago, I was ready for the world. My only goal was to hop onto a career path that would take me as far as I wanted to go.
After four years as a brand marketer, I met Charlie. Our “type A” personalities were an amazing fit. We were both committed to our careers, but played hard too. We shared a love of travel and good food, and were blessed with a circle of friends with whom we could enjoy these adventures.
Life was good, so we moved in together and took a vacation to Italy to celebrate.
Over a romantic dinner in Florence, Charlie pulled out the ring. He got down on his knee right there in the restaurant and proposed. There was no need to think about this at all; the ring was on my finger, and the wedding plans went full throttle.
During this time, I had received two promotions at work and earned the “corner office” with a team of wonderful and creative brand developers whom I adored. Charlie was busy, too. Between our work travel and late nights at the office, it seemed like there were some weeks that we were just passing each other in the hall as we went to and from the bathroom.
But our weekends were ours. In the summer months we took jaunts to our favorite places in the Wisconsin Dells. We flew south for three-day weekends during the winter. Other precious days were spent together, holed up in our apartment with great food, wine, TV, the weekend paper and spontaneous passion.
I hardly remember the day I found out. Everything was a blur except for the positive reading on the pregnancy test. I took another pregnancy test that night, just to be sure. How does someone get pregnant on the pill? Guess that’s why they say it’s 98 percent effective.
I was afraid to tell Charlie. Terrible thoughts were running through my head: My career was over; we weren’t ready to be parents; there were too many things left on our bucket lists. In this panic, it occurred to me that I could actually terminate the pregnancy and move on. Other than Charlie, no one else need ever know. We would be parents someday, just not now.
I met Charlie at the airport, since he had to catch a flight to Texas. I blurted it out over dinner, and he just stared at me. When the shock subsided, we talked about our options. We made the decision that we would both think it through and talk about it after he got home from his trip. After all, we were both sensible, logical people, and we would work through this together.
I had the next four evenings to myself. Three of those nights, I went directly home from work, sat in the apartment, thought about all of my career goals and all the plans Charlie and I had for our next vacation. I even got online and started to look for resorts in Belize, but I couldn’t get into planning a vacation.
On the fourth night after work, I got off the train and, rather than go to our apartment, walked across the street to the little shopping area in Oak Park to get some supper at one of the restaurants.
There is a day care center on the street called “Blocks.” I had walked and driven past it hundreds of times, but this time I stopped. Moms and dads were going in and coming out with their precious little ones—infants, toddlers, preschoolers. They were so happy to be reunited and looking forward to their evening together. I watched as moms navigated their infant carriers and diaper bags and dads took their toddlers’ hands to cross the street.
Just then, it hit me. I want that! I want to be a mother and I want Charlie to be a father! I want that gigantic responsibility of bringing a new life into our crazy, busy life; I want to cherish and nurture this child that Charlie and I have created.
I met Charlie at the airport after work the next evening. We took one look at each other, and the grins came almost simultaneously. We had both reached the same conclusion.
Am I fully prepared to raise a child? No, I’m not, but then who is?
There will be lots of plans to make—leaves of absence from work, child care, transforming that second bedroom from a junk room to a nursery, and on and on and on. I may not be fully prepared to raise a child, but I am 100 percent ready to be called “Mommy.”
Author: Luisa Brenton
Apprentice Editor: Julie Barr / Editor: Toby Israel
Image: Joey Thompson/Unsplash