I was never really eager to have children. I figured one day I would, only because that's how the world was presented to me: women just, you know, get married and have children. I wasn't in a rush, though, which is why I was surprised when I got pregnant a year after I got married. That pregnancy wasn't unintentional, either: I suddenly really wanted a kid. I made many promises to myself and to my husband when that pregnancy test showed positive, but there were certain private and silent promises I made to my future child when I found out I was pregnant, too. When that line turned blue, I knew my life was forever changed. I knew my responsibility was no longer to myself, but also to my unborn baby. I knew I would have to make changes in how I approached the world, my relationships, and myself.
If I'm being honest, I must admit that I temporarily lost the ability to form coherent sentences when I found out I was growing another human being inside my body. I suddenly became obsessed with figuring out how I would tell my parents and friends. For a minute, or two, everything around me came to a halt and I was the only one in motion. And then, once I stopped moving, everything else started spinning, as if there was a game of "catch up" happening in the space-time continuum. When I was finally able to think, I panicked. "Am I even cut out for this?" "What was a I thinking?" "I still feel like a kid myself." "I want my mommy!" The thoughts lingered like a recurring nightmare until I found myself pacing back and forth around my apartment.
When I got used to the idea of becoming a mother, a few hours later and after talking to my husband (who was way more rational and leveled), I started picturing what kind of mom I would be. Would I be like my mom? I sure hope so. But could I be an even better mom? I knew I'd try. So, I made the following promises to my unborn child; promises I had hoped I'd be able to keep:
"You Will Always Be My Priority"
I knew my priorities would have to shift, and I knew everyone else in my life would have to (slightly) step down the priority ladder. Sorry, husband, but our child comes first now. Sorry, me, but this baby is now number one. So, I told my unborn child she would always be on top, and she would always be number one priority in my life, and that she would never have to question whether or not she is loved.
"Your Parents Will Always Be A Team"
Since my husband and I didn't have a burning desire to have children, we didn't discuss in great detail as to how we would raise them once we had them. We just figured since we love and respect each other, we would overcome any hardships we may have in the parenting arena. And while that may have seemed idealistic, we knew one another's personalities and knew how we think about the world was very similar and non-confrontational.
So, I promised our unborn child that her father and I would always be a team when it came to parenting. It was an ambitious promise, but one I intended to keep no matter what.
"I Will Always Be Your Advocate & Your Biggest Fan"
No matter what it is, I promised my future daughter I would be her advocate. Whether in school or in life in general, I would be there for her, fighting for her to make sure she learns how to fight for herself.
I also promised I'd be her biggest fan. I would applaud all of her accomplishments, all of her efforts, and all of her failures. I would be the parent in the bleachers, with the you're #1 foam hand, screaming, "You're the best kid in the world!" as my kid plays toddler soccer.
"I Will Sacrifice My Comfort To Make Sure You're Healthy"
Pregnancy brings all sorts of dietary and physical restrictions and I was willing to abide by them all to make sure my child was healthy. Now, I obviously realized I couldn't control everything and nothing was a guarantee, but I still did everything the doctors told me I should do and didn't eat any of the foods the American Pregnancy Association (APA) told me I shouldn't eat. I promised my child I would do all I could to make sure she is healthy. I would eat organic, fresh produce, and lean protein. I would exercise and take care of myself so she could be and see healthy.
"I Will Always Do My Best"
I am far from perfect and I know I have made many mistakes, but when I found out I was pregnant I promised I would try harder to be my best. I promised my unborn child, and myself, that I will do whatever it is I needed to do in order to be the best parent, mother, and confidant I could possibly be.
"I Will Love Myself So You Can Love Yourself"
I'm not going to lie, loving myself is difficult sometimes. I've always been rather confident in my abilities and intellect, but much of that was an overcompensation for my lack of confidence in my looks and struggles with my weight. So, I needed to teach myself to love all of me, not just some parts of me. And since I couldn't do that completely, I had to learn how to fake it. I never wanted my kid to think it's fine to dislike herself. I never wanted her to hear me calling myself fat or bloated or chunky. I wanted her to believe her mother loves herself so she knows she should love herself too.
"I Will Teach You Empathy & Kindness"
I honestly still don't have concrete answers to the best ways to teach your kid to be empathetic and kind, but what I do know is that I promised my kid I will teach her, so I am doing my best in our home. I do know that empathy and kindness are taught by example and by modeling behaviors, so that is one of the approaches I am taking. I do not plan on failing in this respect. Ever.
"I Will Make Sure You Know Your Voice Matters"
Obviously, I didn't know if I were having a boy or a girl when I first found out I was pregnant, but I did have a feeling. I had a really overwhelming feeling I was carrying a girl pretty much from the start. Either way, despite the sex of my unborn child, I wanted to make sure my kid knew her or his voice mattered. I promised I would always listen to what my child had to say and will never make him or her feel unheard or belittled.
"I Will Love You, No Matter What"
No matter who my child chooses to be, I will love her. I will protect her. I will be there for her. Forever.
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