Choose Motherhood or Not?
Some women know they want to be mothers. They cannot wait to grow up, get married, and raise a family. They were the ones pretending to play house and take care of their baby dolls. These women are called to motherhood and it comes totally natural for them.
I am not one of those people. As a kid I can’t recall playing with baby dolls or being the ‘mom’ when my friends and I would play pretend. I was scared to fall in love and get married because I knew ‘then comes the baby in the baby carriage’ would be where society saw me next.
On paper, children seem overrated. From back pain to swollen feet during pregnancy, bleeding nipples, and utter exhaustion during the newborn phase, it’s a rough start. Then comes the 10 plus diaper changes, tantrums, potty training, soccer practices, braces, and eventually college tuition. I mean, why would anyone willingly sign up for that?!
The Hard Choice
The decision to become a mother was the hardest I ever made. I’m cautious by nature and a thinker. Every big decision my husband and I make is carefully thought out and meticulously calculated. Being a mother is the most permanent title there is. It’s hard to decide to become something when you have no idea if you’re going to enjoy it.
I’ll be the first to admit that I can be selfish. I love alone time and being free to make my own decisions. I like to have the freedom to do and go as I please. Did I really want to join the motherhood tribe and lose my sense of self, my free time, or a full 8 hours rest at night? Was I selfless enough to raise a child?
Yes, I want to do this!
I am selfless enough to raise a child. I have been a mother now for 15 months, and although I realize that I am still an amateur, I have learned that everything I feared is true in the most exhausting yet beautiful way. Newborns are demanding, labor hurts…. like really hurts, and breastfeeding kind of sucks sometimes.
I change diapers, wipe boogers, and almost never have clean clothes on. I have more worries than ever and have a google search history to prove it. My weekends of sleeping in are now 7:00 AM screeches from the baby monitor. A weekly happy hour is now coaxing my toddler not to cause blunt force trauma to the dogs by way of a sippy cup.
I was so scared of the unknown of motherhood that it paralyzed me. I froze and believed that I would stay in that position forever. My husband and I advanced in our careers, traveled a ton, and remodeled our home. We were happy, but both knew that something was missing. I can’t pinpoint a specific moment or conversation that jolted us and allowed us to feel ready to move forward, but I was able to see firsthand as those around me became mothers, that two things could exist at the same time. Motherhood could be messy, raw, vulnerable and exhausting, but it could also be beautiful, fulfilling, moving, and monumental. What I thought it was, the dirty tasks and dark circles under my eyes is not what motherhood actually is at all. Sure, it is part of it but is not even close to defining it.
This is not where I saw my life going, but I couldn’t dream of a better one. The role I almost didn’t sign up for ends up being the most important one I could ever have. It is incredible to me that even though I am such a mess in so many aspects, I feel more like me than ever before.
At the end of the day when he is fast asleep, I sneak in his room and squeeze him one more time. I tell him I love him, in case he didn’t hear it enough that day. As I’m walking out of his room and quietly close the door behind me, I become filled with guilt that I almost didn’t want this life.
Motherhood looks different for everybody, but the journey on how we got here is equally important. Whether you were destined for motherhood at a young age, whether it was unplanned, whether it was through ways of adoption, or whether it was a giant Hail Mary, we all got here somehow and we are no less of mothers because we may have considered not being one.