Kate Middleton’s pregnant. And I — despite being very much in favor of that whole American Revolution move — am excited. It’s refreshing to see the widespread joy and interest over Middleton’s pregnancy, in contrast to the sort of depressing trend stories in recent years about pregnancy and child rearing. (For examples, see “Cost to Raise a Child: Around $300,000, Not Including College,” and “All Joy and No Fun: Why parents hate parenting.”) Of course, raising kids is tough, emotionally-draining, and expensive.
But there are upsides to the experience. I’m not a parent myself, but as a graduate of one of those tiny conservative colleges, I’m in the unusual position of being in my mid-twenties, yet already having oodles of friends who are married and have a kid. (Or even more than one!) It’s been amazing — and inspiring — to watch these old friends grapple with morning sickness, squeal over ultrasound photos, and wonder at their child’s ability (and sometimes frustrating persistence) to kick in utero. I’ve marveled at how these friends have matured so gracefully as moms and dads, how they are able to regularly forgo sleep to tend to their wailing urchin, how they make financial sacrifices to provide for the baby, and how they somehow manage to fit all the care and attention a baby needs into their already busy lives. And yet, despite all the turbulence and work in caring for a kid, they still exult when their child learns to crawl/walk/talk, and they still are obviously crazy about the little punks who seem allergic to any notion of living quietly and unfussily.
It’s also been wonderful to get to know my friends’ kids. I enjoy seeing how they resemble their parents — there’s nothing like seeing an expression you’ve seen your friend make a gazillion times replicated on the miniature, round, chubby-cheeked face of a baby – but I also appreciate getting a sense of their own unique personalities as they are slowly unfurled in these early years, and being surprised by their own interests and likes/dislikes.
I’m sure I’ll never meet Kate and William’s kid. But considering how weighed down our culture can be by all the (very real) trials in raising children, it’s nice to take a chance to simply celebrate a new person’s existence.