Let’s be fair and upfront. I never really imagined myself having kids. I had moments – brief, fleeting moments – when I thought I might have a family someday, in the not-so-near future. I even had moments when I wanted a family. But for most of my life, I’ve not wanted to go through the trouble of it all. I liked my freedom. I liked not being tied down, neither by husband nor by children. With children, you can’t just pick up and go somewhere just because you feel like it. With a husband, you’ve got to discuss major life decisions – or even some not-so-major life decisions. It suited me to be beholden to no one. I did just fine on my own.

None of that means that I ruled out the possibility that I might decide to settle down with someone someday. Note that I say “settle down with” and not “settle with.” I was not going to marry just any man who came along. Marrying for the sake of getting married did not seem like the brightest idea to me. I was going to marry the “right” man, whatever that meant. I figured I’d know when it happened. I wasn’t going to jump into anything just for the sake of finally being in a stable, long-lasting relationship. I would marry a man I loved, a man I respected and cared for and who felt the same towards me. I wasn’t waiting for perfection, nor did I have a list of necessities that had to be matched to. I knew better than that. I just wanted a man who fit into my life and wanted to stay around for a long while.

Along came Geordie.

It was not love at first sight. For a year and a half, he was only a friend. After a winter of Facebook-only contact, I realized I missed him. And after a one-day visit, I decided that I liked him. A lot. During a brief weekend stay with him, I let him know it.

I didn’t know what we were starting that weekend in Kochi. I didn’t realize the path we’d be taking. Here we are, a little over seven months later, sitting with a positive pregnancy test. I don’t know what to say. At this point in time, I know Geordie is a man I could easily spend the rest of my life with. I love him dearly, and I’ve enjoyed every moment I’ve had with him.

But this . . . this is something else.

I’m beyond terrified. I never imagined myself as a mother. I don’t think I have what it takes. I’m too selfish, too enamored of my own freedom to care for a child. How could this have happened?

And, yes, I do feel so irresponsible that I let this happen. After all, this doesn’t affect just me. This is as much Geordie’s baby as it is mine. The first thing I said to him when I came out of the bathroom was, “I’m sorry.” He told me it was alright. I want to believe him. He said he will be right there with me, that he will raise this child with me if that’s what I want. I do believe that. I believe in him. When he said that, I began to feel that I could learn to love this baby. To want it.

He worried about how we would tell our parents. I didn’t. Perhaps it isn’t the best of circumstances, but I know how much my parents want a grandchild. Before I moved to Japan, my mother once told me she would understand if I chose not to have children; she just wanted me to find a good man and be happy. I didn’t quite believe that, and when we Skyped them to tell them the news, I knew I had been right. She was thrilled. So was my father, though he was sick with a cold and is not generally inclined to over-emotional displays. But they were happy, and that also made me happy.

After we spoke to my parents, Geordie said, “Your dad’s not upset, is he?”

“No,” I said. “Of course he isn’t.”

“He didn’t say much.”

“That’s how he is. And he is sick, you know.”

A pause. “You’re sure?”

I smiled and kissed him. I was sure.

His parents were just as happy. Geordie called them, and I hung on his shoulder and listened through the phone. I think it surprised him at how easily everyone took it. Maybe because we felt so overwhelmed by it.

I can’t quite decide how I feel about this baby. It’s so odd to think that I have this life growing inside me. A life that, right now, depends entirely on me. Even stranger, I want to protect it. I want to take care of it and make sure that I do the best I can for it. Is it possible to bond with something that’s hardly bigger than a poppy seed, something that barely has its own heartbeat?

This is not how I imagined becoming a mother. But I can’t deny, to my own surprise, that I’ve already accepted what’s happening to us. This is my baby – mine and Geordie’s. We created it. We did something wonderful. Just knowing that this baby is ours fills me with such a lightness and such a feeling of wonderment.

I guess that’s love.

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