No one really likes the “I told you so” friend. You know the kind – the buddy who smugly throws those four ugly little words at you at every opportunity, just to prove that they know far more than you. Boo to those friends.
Well, please indulge me for just a moment, because I’m about to become one of those so-called friends and have an “I told you so” moment with Genine. Promise my heart is in the right place.
As many of you may know, Genine and her husband, Rowan, didn’t want to have kids. Nope. They were happily childless – by their own admission they enjoyed their “selfish” DINK (double income no kids) life and had no intention of trading last-minute exotic holidays and mid-week romantic dinners with sleepless nights and smelly nappies.
I remember the day clearly. The first time Genine found out she was pregnant, about four years ago. She phoned me crying. Yes, crying. And Genine doesn’t cry. It took me a few minutes to work out what she was trying to say through the blubbering. “I’m pregnant. Rowan is going to kill me!”
Rowan did not want to kill her. Instead, he embraced her. He held her. He told her this was, in fact, great news. And it didn’t take Genine long to come around either. Okay, so perhaps a little longer than it took Rowan. Soon they were looking forward to the arrival of their little one. Who knew? They actually wanted to have kids!
About here Murphy stepped in. Murphy is a bitch. After bestowing one little miracle upon them and convincing them they wanted to have a baby after all, they suffered through not one, not two but three devastating miscarriages. Damn you Murphy.
But here we are. Baby number four decided to hang around. Woo hoo! Genine is due in late January so the countdown is on. She looks amazing (and yes, I’m jealous as hell, but in a supportive friend way). And she is animated about everything baby-related!
It’s hilarious. She talks about baby stuff all the time. About shopping for baby things – yes shopping (she’s not a shopper). She has become one of “those” pregnant women (truth be told we all become one of “those” pregnant women, don’t we?) who speaks frequently about her pregnancy, about what the baby is doing, how she’s feeling, what she’s experiencing. And it’s wonderful.
I love watching Genine’s belly grow. I love seeing her caress her bump, smiling down at her son / daughter with love. I get such a buzz out of feeling that beautiful little baby squirm and kick. What a blessing.
Sure, sometimes I give her grief and a bit of stick. I tease her about her controlling ways and how her ‘plan everything in an Excel spreadsheet’ obsession is unlikely to be adopted by her son or daughter, but I tease with love. I don’t think there’s a parent alive who was truly prepared for the arrival of their firstborn. It’s quite the trip, isn’t it?
Genine is truly excited (while concurrently a little terrified of losing control – but hey, that’s normal) and I love, love seeing her like this. Because this is exactly what I wanted for her. I was worried she would never know the love of a mother for a child. I was worried she would wake up one day and say, “Bugger, I really wish I’d tried that parenting thing”. I yearned for her to feel the love that I feel for little Hudson (pictured here many years ago with Aunty Genie).
I wanted this for her. Desperately. Because I knew she’d be a great mum, and Rowan an awesome dad. I didn’t want them to miss out, and they came dangerously close to doing just that. To giving up. They’d almost convinced themselves it was not to be. And then Baby G decided to stick around. How I love you already, Baby G!
I understand their fears. From the outside looking in parenthood seems difficult, exhausting and overwhelmingly, but it’s equal parts fabulous, rewarding and sublimely beautiful. I tried to explain to her that for some strange reason no matter how little sleep you get, no matter how frustrated and bewildered you feel at the end of the day, you still don’t want to go back to your selfish life pre-kids. Nope. Madness, isn’t it?
So, right about here I have to have my greedy little “I told you so” moment. Genine, I told you it would be worth it, that you would love every minute, that you would love that child before you even met him / her, that feeling your baby kick would be the most exciting feeling in the world, that no matter how hard the days ahead get it will be the most wonderful, joyous thing you’ll ever do.
For soon, in just a few months, you will become parents. And when you see that little one you will realise that your heart is no longer yours, but it in fact now belongs to that screaming little red ball of loveliness who refuses to sleep and vomits regularly.
And I will quietly savour every one of these special moments with love and relief, reflecting on how much I wanted this for you, and how “I told you so” – told you that you’d love being a mum. I can’t wait to meet Baby G and to be there as you go on that crazy ride that is parenthood. You’ll love it. I promise.