By VERONICA FRANCO SIERRA
Girl goes on exchange to a strange country, where she knows absolutely no one. She is excited, thrilled, and a little nervous about what she’ll encounter there. Girl sees boy on her very first day at university. Girl sits next to boy and introduces herself.
One month later: Girl is sick of her university accommodation and boy suggests she move in with him. She has never done anything this impulsive, this irrational, this exhilarating. She moves in three weeks later. Girl and Boy start falling hopelessly in love with each other.
Six months later the pregnancy test comes back positive. Girl runs to tell Boy. Both of them are surprised, scared, happy, and a thousand more emotions at once. Boy decides he will move back with girl to her home country, 36 hours away by plane, which they ended up doing in the second trimester of the pregnancy.
Three years later: Boy proposes. Girl says yes.
If you think this is a story taken from some old rom-com movie, let me tell you that this is my very own true story. I met Sean in New Zealand in July 2009, and on the 13th of September 2010 our son Tommy was born in Colombia.
When Tommy was born, we were both 22 (I am older than Sean by exactly 17 days!). It has been quite a ride, full of ups and downs. I always thought being a mother was going to come easily to me. Throughout the whole pregnancy I kept daydreaming and picturing how we were going to raise our son, the values we would teach him, and the habits I didn’t want him learning. Three years down the road I can see how naïve I was. I was really smug and thought I had it all figured out by the time he was born. I was prepared and ready.
Except I wasn’t. I wasn’t prepared for those moments in which I have wanted to scream in frustration because he just isn’t cooperating very much. I wasn’t prepared to feel like I was missing out on my youth because of him, nor for the inevitable guilt that comes one second after thinking that. And I definitely wasn’t prepared for the strain it put on my relationship with Sean.
We come from completely different cultures, so our ideas about how to raise Tommy, discipline him and teach him right from wrong sometimes differ greatly. And that for me has been the biggest challenge of motherhood in the early 20s: you are only just starting to know yourself, but are forced to know what kind of mother you want to be and on top of that, reconcile that concept with that of your partner’s.