Both of my parents were born in the late 1950s and grew up during the 1960s—arguably the most pro-family period of our time. The fact that their own experiences during this time was not in alignment with the nostalgia that other current parents feel has undoubtedly caused them to want more for their own children.
My mother’s childhood experience was far from ideal. She was raised by a single mother, who worked multiple jobs in order to simply put food on the table. My mother, being the second eldest of five children, was forced to take on a motherly role, when others were playing games with their friends. While this helped prepare her for future motherhood, the lack of her own childhood and lack of parental attention led her to take her parenting role with my sister and I very seriously.
My father had a different experience, yet led to the same end result. He grew up in a more traditional family, where his father was the breadwinner, working in a factory, while his mother stayed at home and raised the kids. He was the fourth eldest of nine, which also led him to attain very little parental attention, and also gave him fatherly experience by looking after his younger siblings.
Because of my parents somewhat less than ideal upbringings, they lacked the necessary resources and motivation to continue their schooling. My mother graduated high school, but joined the workforce shortly thereafter, while my father ceased his high school education one year before his anticipated graduation date.
My parents knew each other throughout high school, but didn’t start dating until their mid 20s. My father proposed shortly thereafter and they conceived my sister within a year of marriage. After my sister they continued to attempt to have more kids with the end goal of five. This desire to have kids at a young age and to have a lot of them is a reflection of their upbringing and socioeconomic status, as alluded to in the Edin and Kefalas reading.
Unfortunately they had immense trouble conceiving and started numerous fertility programs to no end. As my mother describes it, “The financial and mental strain was greater than I had ever imagined, so we decided to stop trying.”
Miraculously two years later my mother became pregnant with me, “Then one day—I won’t forget it, it was a Tuesday and I was sitting downstairs, and I was wondering why I felt so yucky. Then I got thinking, I don’t have my period, so I called the doctors office, and the receptionists name was Carol. I told her, and she couldn’t believe it, so I went in immediately. The next day they did a blood analysis and confirmed that we were pregnant with you. Still to this day I don’t know why it happened, but you were a miracle baby for us.”
The fact that I was conceived in this fashion made my parents truly believe that I was a miracle baby. I have been told this numerous times, and I think it does have an effect on ability to succeed. It made me feel special, entitled, and gave me a sense that I was put on this Earth do to something great.
“We kind of new that you were a miracle. So knowing that someone is a miracle, and not that Ryanne wasn’t a miracle, but knowing that it was sort of a miracle you look at that person differently. You don’t love them anymore than the first one you just look at them differently. I was 25 when I had Ryanne, 35 with you. There were so many life skills learned in that time frame. Everything we knew that we did wrong with Ryanne, we didn’t want to make that mistake with you.”