I brag too much about my baby. I also email and post too many photos of her on social-media sites. I can’t help it. That might not seem out of character for a new parent, but it is for me. I spent all of my adolescent years and a good chunk of my adult life claiming I didn’t want children. So, it seems to outsiders that I’ve done a complete 180, although that really isn’t the case.
Honestly, I never thought I’d meet someone to share my life with, which made children a very distant possibility. I’m high-strung, hard-headed and judgmental — yes, I admit it — and I thought for sure I’d never find another person willing to put up with those characteristics. So, rather than admit that I’d love a family, I told anyone who was willing to listen I had no plans to ever marry or raise children. Denying my desire for a family was preferential to seeing a twinge of pity in someone’s eye if I ever had to admit that my dream of finding a partner and welcoming little ones just didn’t work out.
And even after I did meet and marry a wonderful man, our plan to start a family took much longer than expected. As we approached our third and fourth years of marriage, people began to question the absence of children from our union. I entered my 30s and my husband his 40s. The “baby inquiries” increased.
Again, rather than admit I wanted something I didn’t have at the moment — and feared I might never have — I told those who were bold enough to ask that my husband and I weren’t so sure we wanted children. It was better than admitting that I, too, had expected we’d have established a family by that point. In an effort to avoid feeling pitied by those who didn’t know me well, I confided only in my closest friends and loved ones.
Finally, after five years of marriage — and four years of dating before that — my husband and I were blessed with our amazing, beautiful daughter. She has exceeded my expectations by leaps and bounds. I knew I would love being a mother, but it’s even more fulfilling than I ever imagined.
To those who are unfamiliar with my journey, it might seem that I went from aspiring to a child-free existence to morphing into a classically annoying parent in no time at all. However, that’s far from the truth.
So, you’ll have to excuse me if you pay me a visit at work or bump into me in public and I insist on showing you 27 photos of my baby girl while gushing about her ability to melt my heart with a smile.
Hollie Moore Barnidge is the managing editor of the Coastal Courier in Hinesville.