As Baby Fix-It has just crossed the 18 month marker, I am struck with a sense of falling behind. It's imaginary, and pointless, and serves little purpose. But I still feel behind. I thought I'd be pregnant by now. I thought we would be further along in so many ways.
For so long, we are all on the same track. You go through school, you advance at a steady pace, you move forward. Then you finish college and everything goes haywire. At least that's how I felt. Get a job, continue with more schooling, find onself while backpacking in Europe, plan a wedding, stay single, move to a new city. Or do none of the above. As friends started to choose a path, I started to evaluate my worth. "She's already engaged?" Crap. "He's a VP?" Seriously.
And yet, when I step back, I can't argue that I have failed to achieve anything I've wanted for myself. But a voice inside keeps saying that I'm falling behind.
They say that people are more preoccupied with themselves than they are with you. That might be true. But when I see a mom with a 3 year old at the playground I wonder if she has a baby at home. Or if she's pregnant. Or if she hopes to be pregnant. Or if she only wants one child. So, while I try to figure out everyone else, I assume people are asking themselves the same things about me. Then I ask myself the million dollar question, "Why do I care?" I could talk about social approval, or fitting in, but really it's about the track. We are not on a track anymore. We are not graduating to the next grade. An A on the English paper doesn't exist. Some of us will get married late in our 30s. Some of us will only have one child. Some of us will have 5 babies. Some of us will be career driven, and others will stay at home. Some of us will go back for a doctorate degree once our children are school age. Some of us will switch our paths over and over.
While I field the sense of falling behind and try to answer, "So when are you having another baby?", I try to ignore the sting. I've mastered the kindly polite, "I'm ready whenever it happens" while saying a silent prayer: please let it happen. I know people aren't trying to be rude. Or judgmental. They're genuinely curious. I suffer from the same affliction. I'm saying I get it.
That sense of falling behind is a tough one though. I'm slowly learning to accept that my track is now my own. It's not perfect, or timed as I'd like. There are bends in the road where I can't see what's coming next. Enjoy when the path is clear and easy. Have hope when all you can do is move forward.