Never Say Never

No matter who you think you are; there is always another version waiting to show up. (Bindu Madhav Tata)

By Laura Braden Quigley

Over four years ago, I wrote a candid article about choosing to live child-free and being skeptical about needing a mortgage to fulfill my version of the American Dream.

Today, I’m a licensed REALTOR and seven months pregnant. And happy. And content with my choices.

So how and the hell did I get here??

Well, the real estate part is pretty easy to explain. I’ve always loved real estate, open houses and everything on HGTV. After less-than-ideal experiences owning two condos, purchasing another home just didn’t fit into my 2014 priorities – while the concept of staying mobile did. I still believe that home ownership isn’t for everyone at every stage of their life, but when done right, it can make an excellent investment in your future. The bigger point is to weigh the very real pros and cons versus feeling pressure to achieve some vague concept of the American Dream.

On the other hand, choosing parenthood defies explanation because I was 100% convinced that children weren’t for me… until I was surprised to learn that I was pregnant last year.

When those two little lines popped up on the stick, everything just changed – feelings I had never felt. Emotions I had never experienced. 

My internal voice kept saying, “I want this. This is good news.” But I was completely overwhelmed and terrified to say it out loud because I had been so sure that my mind was made up. How could one moment change everything?

And the answer is… I don’t know. 

My type-A-control-freak-over-thinking-brain has approached this question from every angle without getting very far. I don’t feel familial or societal pressure to have this child. I don’t have a sudden hankering for babies like I do every time I pass a dog on the street. I still believe that all choices – adoption, fostering, living child-free, fill-in-the-blank – are valid and should be celebrated. Maybe the concept of children was an abstract notion while the child growing inside me was not. Maybe the particular type of growth I’ve gone through since 2014 was always going to lead me to this choice.

And maybe the WHY doesn’t matter. Perhaps the larger point is that we should always be willing to change when our intuition is calling us to do so. That the best we can do is explore our options, make an honest/conscious choice, own it and not be afraid to change.

Because all I know is that I want to be this baby’s mother, and I readily embrace the challenges and the ups/downs the experience will bring. I realize this is a forever choice that I can’t change my mind on, and I’m at peace with the decision. I can’t wait to read to him, expose him to the great outdoors and help him navigate this increasingly chaotic world. And at the same time, I’m very much going to miss sleep and traveling with just one carry-on. I’m equal parts excited and terrified for the unknown, and I’m humbled that my husband (who was also content with a child-free lifestyle) was equally willing to take on this next adventure with me.

If children teach us lessons – and everyone keeps telling me they do – this baby has already shown me one of my biggest: never say never. Never box yourself in to any decision on any topic that might prevent you from experiencing something truly awesome.

And that’s a lesson I look forward to passing on to my son.

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