Motherhood

Anyone who knows me knows that I’ve been opposed to having children almost all of my life. Here is my short list of reasons why:

  1. There are too many humans on the planet.
  2. I’d be a bad mother.
  3. I have crappy genes.
  4. My experience of motherhood is that it ruins women’s lives.
  5. Children are loud (yeah, that’s a reason for me).
  6. I value my privacy too much.

First off, I’m betting a lot of people think my attitude towards children comes from complete ignorance. It doesn’t. As a teen, I was very, very involved with raising my three oldest nephews; often to the tune of twelve hours a day. I watched, I nursed, I taught, I played mother in every way. In all my time with those boys, I only blew up once; I felt horrible and, when he was old enough to understand, I sincerely apologized to my nephew.

But it got me thinking. I was a teenager, and I blew up once. Once. The rest of the time, I did pretty well. This was at an age when patience was a foreign country.

One memory in particular: my oldest nephew, Mike, often had trouble sleeping when he was about a year old. I can’t count the nights I took him out of his crib and paced the livingroom until my arms ached, waiting for him to calm down and fall asleep. My father would watch me with one of his few loving looks and remark what a wonderful mother I was going to make someday.

I think I might have hated that remark, but like the time he told me I looked better in short hair (I immediately grew it out), he was right. I can’t look at anything in my history that indicates I’d be a bad mother. Considering I’ve developed a huge amount of patience in my old age, I imagine quite the opposite is true.

So one of my reasons is gone.

No, I’m not running out and getting pregnant, but it’s important I tell the truth to myself; and that was certainly a lie worth letting go.

While I’m at it, I’ve learned that #5 & #6 no longer apply either. Yes, children are still loud, but I’ve grown to the point where it’s not an issue. As for privacy, another thing I’ve learned is that there are ways to work things out. There really are–it isn’t black and white.

#4 is a personal issue that I have to face. Not because I’m planning on a family (don’t you love all my caveats?), but because I know intellectually that this false, and I think it’s a damaging attitude.

I suspect I’ll be ruminating more on this later.

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