And things I might still not. But I've at least learned to understand that they're valid life choices.
No, I'm not talking about botox (no way - needles make me freak out) or gel inserts in my shoes (already an old lady in that regard...).
I'm talking about babies.
Or, more accurately, children in general, but they tend to start off as babies.
Last night, one of my friends and I threw a surprise baby shower for another friend. She was genuinely touched, and, yes, I managed to keep a secret for more than 24 hours.
I had never been to, or had any desire to go to, a baby shower before. But this one was alright. Probably because we didn't play any stupid games, and there was vodka, but also because my friend is a grown ass woman making a grown up choice, and is genuinely, really happy about it.
See, I'm from an area where teen pregnancy isn't uncommon. Yeah, if you get pregnant in high school you're kind of shunned, but most of the people I know from back home have babies, and most of them had them very young, 18, 19, 20.*
So I grew up thinking that babies and pregnancy were something that either happened as a horrible accident and your silly religion/parents told you there was nothing you could do about it, OR something that codependent girls with no futures or abilities did so they wouldn't have to be alone.
Yes, I'm an awful person sometimes.
But that's the example I had. People who were really religious with babies they either had to have or thought mystical space god wanted them to have (with the boys they married, which was their entire goal in life) or they needed babies because they didn't have anything else.
Again, yes, I'm awful.
But now I'm at the age where my female friends are having children and getting married because they want to. And are actually excited about it. And still have their own full, fulfilling lives even with their tiny bundles.
I had never seen women who didn't identify first and foremost as "mom." My own family excluded - although my female family members were and are loving mothers, the general attitude was always that "we aren't like them." So while my own family didn't lose their identities, all of my friends did. So I thought that you basically had to give up your life when you had a child, and that women either resented that because they didn't see a way out or wanted it because their lives were sad.
Now, though, I have one very good friend with a child, who is freaking adorable and goes places with us and generally is just like another tiny human with two slightly larger humans, and my friend still comes out and does things and is exactly the same as she was before baby.
My friend who is pregnant is going to be the same even with a baby.
A friend from college has babies (twins!) and is still one of the most intelligent, well-spoken, and driven people I know.
A good friend who is trying to get pregnant isn't trying to get that way to keep her husband or fulfill some religious/cultural expectation. She wants a baby. Babies are cute and snuggly and awesome sometimes, and she wants one.
Does this mean my biological clock is ticking? No. I have a cute and snuggly and awesome (sometimes) set of pets who occupy enough of my time that I'm good. And I don't have the drive to have children, at least not yet. But for the first time in my life, I don't see babies as a death sentence of sorts. And even though I don't want one, and certainly wouldn't have one now if the opportunity/biological happenstance happened, but I can be a great aunt/cool friend/spoiler to these little ones without resenting them for destroying their mothers, somethings that was hard for me in the past.
Sorry to all (?) my avid readers, I know this is a bit rambling, but it was kind of a weird life moment, and those rarely come in coherent paragraphs.
*Side-note: I am going to literally be the only unmarried person at my high school reunion and one of the only ones without kids. So "Operation Lose 40 Pounds and Get Really Hot to Show Them" is in full swing. See, I'm still kind of awful.