“Having a baby is a life-changer. It gives you a whole other perspective on why you wake up every day.” —Taylor Hanson
Below my office is a daycare center and early educational school for kids. Each day as I come into work, I see and watch parents of all kinds dropping off their little ones. Sometimes I see parents being extremely cute, loving, sad and affectionate as they say goodbye to their child. Other days I see the multi-tasking busy adult rushing around in the hustle and bustle of city-life to drop off their strollers, answering work calls, and meanwhile scrambling to get their child in the classroom door without being late for what is on their schedule. I watch them from a distance, these brief moments in time as I peer into their life and wonder what it would be like. Will I ever be ready to have kids or find a partner to have them with?
Today, I watched as a father played hide-n-seek goodbye with his child through the one-way transparent window. His wife had dropped off their kid inside, as he stayed back with the car. After a few minutes, he went up to the window, heavily covered in daycare ads facing the playroom. Only as the sun shined onto the window could you see the excited child inside waving furiously at her father. He touched the window and then would duck down to hide. This playful game persisted until his wife returned from inside. They both blew their child kisses and got into the car and drove away.
Precious moments like these, make me hopeful that sometime in the future I will get to share similar moments with my own child. I’m not delusional that parenthood is going to be all fun and games, but seeing glimpses of times like these, helps me know that is what I want. I am confident that whatever life throws in front of me those child-rearing years will be worth all the sacrifice and effort. I know having my own biological child or children is important to me and why I froze my eggs.
I think about the day when I would have my own children and brainstorm often about what name(s) I might choose. During my first visit to France, I was meeting all these new people, enjoying a different culture, seeing the magical tourist sites, and trying desperately to learn the language. Acceptance and openness filled my mind as I roamed the streets of Paris. I would come across these tourism shops and personalized gifts sections of the street vendors. It got me thinking about names from a bigger perspective and figured I better start keeping a list and update it as time went on.
Beyond day-dreaming about what my kid(s) names will be, I love the social changes I’m starting to see in the world too. Recently while traveling, I ran across these private breastfeeding, pumping suites in the terminal of an airport from a company called Mamava. I was so impressed by this social win for mothers and future moms all over the world. Even though I’m not a mom yet, I felt a sense of gratitude and appreciation that ideas like this are happening. It makes traveling for mothers a bit easier. I know how much of a bear traveling can be and I only have to take care of myself! Add an infant into that mix and I can only see an array of headaches. At least breastfeeding in this particular airport will not be one. More socially conscious companies like Mamava are exactly what our world needs to make the future bright and ease the challenges of having children. We should recognize and support organizations like this.
No matter where life takes me, I still have the hope that one day I will meet my parenting partner and conceive naturally – or maybe use my frozen eggs, if necessary – and live happily ever after. But in case that doesn’t happen, I’ve not ruled out using a sperm donor (luckily found the guy/donor I might be using) or thawing my frozen eggs or becoming a single parent by choice. I’m allowing myself to change my mind, ride out the ebbs and flows. It would be nice to give my future child an involved dad like my own father, not just a biological parent who makes up half of my child’s DNA. For that reason, I hope Plan A works out first but I am thankful that I have a Plan B as well to fall back on.
When I listen to people talk about their children, they talk about how they have a sense of purpose, a new reason to wake up every morning that maybe they didn’t have before. I think about my own family, my parents, and grandparents’ sacrifices to raise a family. Family comes first in my book. I think family is what I treasure. While most of these conversations come from my female friends’ perspectives, having children can be one of the most rewarding and gratifying things in your life, or so I’m told. It made me think about what I would want to tell my future kid(s) someday. I’m not sure if it’s weird to write a letter to my future child…but if I did, this is what I would say.
Dear Future Child(ren),
I have thought about who you might be for many years now. I want you to know how much I love you. I dream about the moment that you are put into my arms and what that will feel like to be called your mother. Words cannot describe the hope I want to give you for the future. The future is a tricky place. The future is filled with many unknowns, but your life is full of promise and just beginning. I want you to be happy and healthy. I want you to live freely and explore it fully. I want you to have the passion for improving the lives of others and be kind always. You’ve already given me a reason to reflect on the world I hope you will live in. Your future existence has me excited for the days ahead. I am working hard to make sure the world and community I bring you into will invest in you.
Having a career in medicine has taught me not to take life for granted. I hope that in your lifetime, cures for diseases like cancer are on the horizon. I want to be the inspiration that pushes you to think big, outside the box, and have no boundaries for what is possible for your life. I want to see you live in a world that gives opportunities to everyone regardless of the nationality, families, or circumstances they are born into. I want to be the mother that truly empowers you to do more, see more, be more. I hope to set the example of all the limitless possibilities that you can achieve. I want you to know that you can do anything you put your mind to.
I pray that your teachers and educators will also have better tools and skills than I was fortunate to have to while growing up to help you achieve your goals. I want to instill within you a sense of heritage and knowledge of from where you came from. I want you to be proud of your family. I want you to build on your self-confidence each day. Regardless if you are a boy or a girl, I want your work to matter and your ideas to be heard.
I will work on teaching you values, develop a caring attitude, and think of someone in need before yourself. I want you to have a sense of self-awareness. I want you to understand and learn from your strengths and weaknesses. I want to watch you dream big dreams. I will know I have succeeded being you mother when you fail and get back up to try again. I know you will go far and reach your full potential because I will see that you do. A mother’s job is never over. I am committing to spending my life doing my small part to raise, love, and nurture you.
I hope all of my choices that lead me to this point, bring joy not only to me but for you. I look forward to that day when I can whisper your name and sing sweet nothings in your tiny ear. On the day your birth, which allows me to become both a mother and parent to you, is the day I will never forget and enter into the next chapter of my life. I can’t wait to see what you bring to this world and who you become.