Many women dream of motherhood — Jenny Mollen was just never one of them.
“I was never the girl who yearned for children. I pretended to be interested in other people’s kids, but that was obviously just an act,” the author of I Like You Just the Way I Am writes in an humorous and moving essay for Cosmopolitan.
Mollen’s fears surrounding the possibility of motherhood boiled down to one issue: making a mistake.
“The truth was, children scared me. I knew that no matter what I did as a parent, I was bound to do some things wrong,” she explains. “I didn’t want to bring a person into the world just to f— them up and have them send me to voicemail for all of eternity.”
But then Mollen and her husband, Orange Is the New Black‘s Jason Biggs, discovered they were expecting their first child and the reality of pending parenthood set in. As she waited for their baby boy to arrive, the mom-to-be was left wondering how she had room in her heart for anyone other than her beloved pet pooch, Teets.
“I wasn’t completely connected,” she shares. “I didn’t know how I could love something more than my dogs. Or how I could housebreak something not motivated by bacon strips.”
Courtesy Jenny Mollen
Her due date came and went and Mollen started believing she’d “just be pregnant forever.” But then on the evening of Valentine’s Day, her water broke and she was on her way to the hospital.
After hours of labor, Mollen was still not progressing and when the baby’s heart rate started to drop, doctors recommended a c-section.
“As I was wheeled into the operating room, my anxiety started to mount,” Mollen, who will appear in the next two episodes of Girls, writes. “All the choices I’d made with my life … came flooding back to me. Would this little creature like me? Would he approve of me?”
She continues, “I worried that I hadn’t done enough with my life, that I wasn’t equipped to be the kind of mother he needed, and that I wasn’t young enough to be someone his friends would ever consider hot.”
And then it happened: the first-time mom heard her baby boy, Sid, let out his first cry.
“A nurse walked back over and placed my newborn son on my chest. He seemed a little pissed off. Like maybe the caesarian was interfering with whatever in utero plans he’d made for the evening,” Mollen jokes. “I cradled him in my arms the way I’d seen people hold babies in movies and tried to console him.”
Hit by a sudden range of emotions — from feelings of laughter to the urge to “throw up all over myself” — Mollen immediately realized her life had changed forever.
“I was instantly and completely transformed. In that moment I knew I’d never be the person I was before, because now, I didn’t seem to matter that much,” she shares. “I was no longer concerned with accumulating the most Twitter followers or scoring the best parking spot at Whole Foods.”
She adds, “I wasn’t ready for kids. I was just ready for him.”
– Anya Leon
More from Jenny Mollen on Cosmopolitan.com: