The Jackpot

“Mommy, can I ask you something?”

Sofia begins 5-6 conversations a day with that question.

“Sure,” I say, quickly pondering what outrageous interrogation will ensue.

“Is it hard to be a Mommy?”

This was the second time in the past week that she had asked me. The first time, I responded with a lot of Uh’s and Um’s, but this time I was more prepared.

“Well, sometimes it feels hard, because I’m tired from work, but you guys make it easy, because you are so wonderful. Why do you ask?”

“When I’m a mom, I’m gonna have 6, or 4, or 5 kids.”

I was glad to hear that response, because I didn’t want to frighten her away from her dream of having so many children.

Women aren’t easily motivated nowadays to have one kid, let alone 6, or 4, or 5.

9 months of swelling, indigestion, and 20 to 60 pounds of weight gain—yes, I gained 60 pounds throughout each of my 3 pregnancies, on a 5’1″ frame, you could say I “got around; then a long, tedious, painful labor and delivery—with or without an epidural, it bites; 30 to 45 endless nights, of crying and crankiness, and not just you, the baby is adjusting to living outside your body, as opposed to the water world they inhabited for 40 weeks; 40 torturous nights without intimacy, where you think, “I’ll never say no to sex again!”—that doesn’t last; add on the throw up, poop, pee, and other things you can’t identify that babies spew all over you; and all of a sudden, before your baby is even walking, it’s settled. You’re done. “One baby is more than enough!”

You’re right! All of that does sound awful; but there are rewards in between. Sweet smiles and giggles; gentle tugging at your hair while they nap; eyes that bat softly to sleep to your lullabies, despite your awful singing voice; and when they start talking, it’s all over.

That first time they call you Momma or Daddy, it’s like hitting the 600 million dollar PowerBall. Ok, I know it probably seems like there’s NOTHING better than hitting the 600 million dollar PowerBall, but I feel that becoming a parent is like buying a ticket and winning the jackpot every day.

So, when Sofia asked me if it’s hard to be a mommy, I quickly answered no. I don’t mean to lie to her, I just don’t want her to fear motherhood and all the responsibilities, sacrifices, and spit-up it throws at you.

What is the right answer to that question?

I don’t know, but kids don’t know that you don’t know. So, just give it your best shot.

Tonight, I lay next to my curious daughter, after reading a story and praying. She said “Mommy, can I ask you something?”

Third time’s the charm, I thought. I was ready with my fairytale response about motherhood.

“What is it, Sofy?”

“Mommy, what’s a solar eclipse?”

Mouth agape, I blurted, “Go to sleep!

The Scientific Method

Once upon a time… there was a social network called MySpace. Yes, you remember. Think back, back, back. If you see yourself in diapers, you’ve gone too far. In a way, MySpace was like a social network in diapers.

Just 5-6 years ago MySpace was thee space to be.

I worked on my page feverishly during the 6 weeks I was home after the birth of my first child. My days were consumed by reruns of Charmed, working on my MySpace profile, baby feedings, changing diapers and dieting, some sleeping.

I returned to my MySpace page today after years of not logging in, and discovered this post…

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9 Months…40 Weeks…280 Days…6720 Hours…403,200 Minutes…

I think you get the picture. It’s A LONG TIME and a long process. You may not know what I’m talking about. Or perhaps you know all too well—that familiar tingling or cringe when you hear yourself, or another say,”I’m Pregnant”.

Step One: The Creaking Board

You know in every scary movie, the protagonist is trying to sneak away quietly, and when they are almost in the clear, a floorboard creaks, revealing their exact location. The killer turns around and… We all know how it ends.

Well, the wrappers on pregnancy tests are much worse—hard, crinkly and impossible to remove quietly. You can run the water while you remove the plastic; although, it might seem weird that you’re washing your hands before using the toilet. You can always claim O.C.D. Go ahead and laugh at yourself a little—this is a nerve-wracking situation no matter what outcome you hope for.

Step Two: Try Not to Pee on yourself.

Your hand shakes nervously as you hold the test in your urine stream, while trying to count out five seconds in your head, because less is too little and more is too much, and you don’t want an inaccurate reading ’cause then… then you might have to pee on your hands all over again.

Step Three: The Scientific Method.

We all learned about “The Scientific Method” in elementary school. There are 5 basic steps:

1. Name the problem or question
2. Form an educated guess (hypothesis) of the cause of the problem and make predictions.
3. Test your hypothesis by doing an experiment.
4. Check and interpret your results.
5. Report your results to the scientific community.

You never thought you would use it in the real world, but what better time than this.

1 ) The Problem: You haven’t gotten your Period.
2a) Your Guess is that you are Pregnant.
2b) Your Prediction is that in 9 months a Baby is coming out.

Now back to the experiment, I mean test.

Step 3: Replace the cover over the tip and lay on a flat surface. Do not hold at an angle for a prolonged amount of time as this may cause an inaccurate reading. You really have to read the directions; there are so many little tidbits they throw in.

Step Four: The ballots have been cast and the winner is…

It takes about 3 – 5 minutes for a completely accurate reading. Slowly, but surely a faint line will appear in the first box and then in the next. If you are not already pacing, now is the time. Don’t stare at the result window, nothing will happen; it’s tricky, like watching the grass grow, you can’t. You just walk outside one day, and it’s to your ankles. Okay, so this isn’t exactly the same, but you’ve wasted enough time by now that it should be time to take a look.

Flip, flip, flip through the instructions again, even though the picture on the outside of the box clearly shows how to read the results. A second blue line may appear in the first window to form a blue cross. You frantically look back and forth between the paper, the box, and the test.
The moment of truth is upon you and the test reads…

Up to this point, all test-takers are equally nervous or anxious. But now, after seeing the results, it’s no longer a matter of reading instructions, peeing on a strip, or looking for a blue line in the test window. Now it’s time to face the music.

Step Four: Interpret your results
(Yes, we’re still on Step 4)

Is this good news or bad news? Well, you probably won’t decide yet. You’ll probably take another test. You might even take several tests over the next few days. You may buy tests from different brands just to make sure there wasn’t something wrong with that lot.

You may decide that the tests are faulty, because you have been on some medication that you are sure has affected the outcome. Or, maybe your period got off track because you forgot to take the pill that one day. Maybe your body is changing, and you won’t get your period this month. Maybe something else is wrong, but you aren’t pregnant.

STOP!!!

Just face it. You are pregnant. There is a tiny bundle of cells that is slowly, but surely, going to grow and transform into a beautiful and innocent baby boy or girl. If you don’t believe the 6 tests you took, then go to the doctor, but it’s time to start thinking about the future. What are you going to do? What do you want to do? Should you tell your husband, boyfriend, lover, that guy from your English class or that one night stand? Are you going to tell anybody at all? Who should you tell? When should you tell? Should you call your gynecologist to make an appointment? An appointment for your first prenatal visit or a consultation for a termination?

The truth is that not everybody wants to be pregnant. Maybe you think you are too young or too old, too poor, too busy, too single, too hot; finishing college; working in a convent; living at home, but feel like you’re living in a convent; maybe you don’t want that guy to be the dad; or maybe you don’t know who the dad is.

There are a million if’s, and’s or but’s; “Cada persona es un mundo” (Each person is a world of their own). They each have their own problems and solutions, reasons and excuses, and no one other person can really tell them what is right or wrong for them. However that may be, remember, you are not alone. There is always someone out there who cares about you, so OPEN UP! If you think you are pregnant and don’t know what you should do, or even if you have some other issue troubling you. Don’t bottle it in.

Step Five: Report your results to the scientific community.

In my case, the test was positive. An uncontrollable smile and irrepressible joy rose to my cheeks. I put the test down, picked it up again, and so on. I couldn’t believe it.

My husband and I were really excited. We had a beautiful little girl who was 17 months old. Girl or boy, it would be our second child, and we were very excited. We had been trying for the second one for about 6 months and finally, WE WERE PREGNANT! Eight months later, we had a beautiful 8 pound baby boy.

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I’m sure everyone on MySpace was really excited, too. After all, it pretty much gave birth to Facebook.