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I was chatting via messenger a few weeks ago with a really close friend. She had made a Facebook post that eluded to a really bad weekend and possibly some depression going on because of said weekend.
After asking how she was, she explained to me that her sister had given birth and she had watched over the other child that weekend. While chatting with her sister, the conversation turned towards who was going to take care of the kids if something happened to her.
Her sister had expressed her opinion that it was obvious my friend didn’t want kids, much less like them.
Actually, I think the words were, “You can’t handle kids.”
Those are some pretty hurtful words to say to someone. Especially if they aren’t true.
It never ceases to amaze me how hung up a lot of people are on the fact that a woman who is single, in her thirties and has no children just doesn’t want kids or doesn’t like them.
According to society, unless something is physically wrong with a woman in the reproductive department of her body, if she is over the age of twenty-five, she should be popping out kids and finding that “special” someone or both. God forbid you are thirty-something and still aren’t in a long term relationship with two point one children, a dog, a minivan and your soul sold to Satan to pay off a mortgage.
The fact is, it’s HARD being a parent.
I actually started this piece that very night we spoke because it hurt me. I’m a mother. I never thought I’d be a mom four days before my 19th birthday, but there I was, under the knife after 17 hours of labor only to find out my son was too big to pass through my pelvis and he was stuck. I had never even really given a thought about what it might be like to push a human being through a hole the size of a lemon, but when I knew my abdomen was going to be cut open, I was terrified.
My exact words to my doctor as he and the assisting surgeon were slicing through my uterus were, “Stop! Wait! I’m not ready to be a mom!”
He calmly replied, “It’s too late. Your beautiful boy is here,” and with that I heard my baby’s first cries.
He was born healthy at 9lbs 4oz and 21 inches long.
My friend has a lot of fears about having children. About being a mother. You see, it’s not that she doesn’t ever want kids; it’s that she fears the unknown.
So I want to address some of those fears and turn this piece towards her and whoever else may be feeling like this.
This is my letter to you:
There are a few of us who, when we were younger, said, “I am never having kids. I don’t want them.” Did we mean it? Actually, some of us really did.
There are those of us who still say, even though we have children, we wish we never had. Do we feel that way really? Not very many of us. It’s just how mothers feel sometimes, though. Frustration. Responsibility.
You’ve grown this human inside of you. You were only in charge of a few things ultimately. Your physical health being the foremost. Getting to doctors appointments, getting the care you and your baby needed.
Health class taught us that our bodies knew what to do when the time came. We also read all about it when we were pregnant or were trying to conceive.
That brings me to my first question. What if a woman doesn’t know if she can be a mom? I’m not talking about in the sense of bonding or knowing what to do…because face it…there are quite a few of us who didn’t know what to do when we were faced with this scrunched up wrinkly person. Despite everything we’d read or heard would come naturally, being a mom is scary as hell.
What if I die early like my own parent did? I can’t leave a child alone like that.
I was almost 19 when I had Jacob. I knew my mom had passed away when she was 34 of cancer and I was only 10 months old.
I spent the first 10 months of my son’s life wondering if I was going to die when he hit that age. What if I had cancer like my mother? How did anyone know? I didn’t care that the doctors promised my dad that it wasn’t passed on even though she had probably had the cancer before she conceived me. I was convinced I was going to die when Jacob was 10 months old.
After that milestone age, I was fine. I breathed a sigh of relief. Life could go on happily now.
Until I realized I hadn’t hit 34 yet. I spent years worrying about dying again! Of course I didn’t, and I probably won’t die anytime soon, and if I do, it’s not because my own parent had to leave me behind so soon.
What if my child develops my own behaviors?
I have to smile at this for a moment because my favorite thing about my son most days is that he is just like me. Not only does he look like me, but also his sense of humor is just like mine. He makes friends easily, is a caring person, wears his heart on his sleeve just as I do, yet when he is hurt by someone, he somehow manages to turn it into something good once the initial pain has washed away.
Eleven years ago I was diagnosed with depression and severe panic disorder. Four years ago bipolar type two was added to the mix.
My mom more than likely suffered from bipolar, depression and anxiety. I only know what my family has told me about her. I also know a few people who went to school with her and all the behaviors they describe of her indicate that was the case.
I didn’t know those things were hereditary. I had heard from my ex-husband that those were all things I was responsible for. I know now that’s not true.
That is one of the biggest reasons I’ve never had more children. I can’t conceive a child, knowing that I may pass mental illness down to him/her. That’s not something a lot of people are educated about. Does that mean that you should never have children?
Hell no. Life goes on and we deal with that. There are so many genetic things that we can pass onto our children that we don’t even think about, but I do know about mental illness, and it runs rampant in my family. Jacob is lucky that he doesn’t show signs of mental illness. I don’t think I could duplicate a more perfect person, in a sense.[/nextpage] [nextpage title=”Page 2″ ]
What if the person I marry and have children with turns out to not be the one after all?
I was married for 12 years to my son’s father. When Jacob was 10 years old, I couldn’t take the mental abuse anymore and finally found my voice. I filed for divorce.
If you do the math, that means my divorce dragged out for two agonizing years. I wasn’t even fighting for the house or child support! There were many times in that two years that I thought about rescinding my decision to leave and trying to work it out, but I knew that wasn’t the answer.
Staying in a relationship for the kid(s) is NOT the answer. I hold firm to that belief and always will. I see now my son has benefited more from me and his father being apart than he did when we were together. It was a hard time, and the past five years after the divorce have been very rough on all of us. It’s only been in the last year that his father and I have finally come together as parents and have managed to agree on certain things and actually get along.
Today Jacob is a great young man. On the brink of 18 years old. We have this awesome, open communication that many parents dream of.
Looking back through this piece, I see a lot of “what-ifs.”
Saying “What if?” will always be the downfall of anyone with a dream, and honestly, I can’t see a bigger dream for a woman who actually wants children than being a mother.
There a a lot things that, if we sit and ruminate on them, will crush our dreams and make us believe that we can’t accomplish what we set out to do.
Is it just not in the cards for some of us to live without children? Absolutely it is. It’s sad. For whatever reason, it does happen.
Just remember this:
You are you, and while our children are an extension of us, it’s a beautiful addition to an already awesome person. Every single piece of history that has been written and recorded in your past has been done so to create the next blank chapter in your life.
Whether that chapter is motherhood or not, you are still an amazing woman, and nothing about you changes unless you change your thinking.
“What if” you dared to chase your dream?[/nextpage]