It would be a rare depiction of a little girl not playing the mommy, holding the baby doll in her arms, changing the diaper or feeding them a bottle -- You see it in movies, Kid's Pottery Barn catalogs, preschool classrooms and in the homes of every American family -- It's part of the American dream... Marry your night in shining armor, live in the beautiful house with a white picket fence and have 2.5 children (not sure how one does that, but that's the sayin')
As the youngest of 5 children, having two older sisters and two older brothers, I often found myself playing alone with my toys (and don't forget, my imagination) -- I remember the most common pretend game I would play was that I was the oldest of 29 kids (er... what?), I had a twin sister and I was in charge -- My most favorite imaginary story was when it was chore time and I was to organize all the younger brothers and sisters so that the house was clean by the time mom got home -- The best part, was when she came home, I was the one who received the praise (issues, much?)
I don't have memories of playing mommy, having babies or getting married -- Besides being the boss of 29 siblings, my play time consisted of pretending I was singing in front of hundreds of people whilst I stood in front of my dolls lined up on my bed, taking pictures of everything I could with my toy camera, turning my barbie doll houses and cars houses into a town of all my friends where we lived together and could do whatever we wanted, recording myself singing into my dad's microphone onto tapes and, oh, yeah... cutting every hair on every doll's head I had, because one day I was going to own the most famous salon ever...
I had a mother who left me when I was 18 months old -- My father raised me, provided for me, taught me to tell the truth because eventually it would come out anyway, to treat people the way I'd want to be treated and to live simply, because in the end nothing materialistic adds to my final worth -- He lives his life by these so called rules and he is my hero --
It didn't hit me until I read through my journal of the last four years of my life -- I hadn't mentioned the desire to be a mother -- even. one. time. I wrote (typed, actually) of traveling, getting married, opening my own counseling practice, continuing classes in photography, being close to my family, moving on from the Great Break, my traumatic childhood, my anger, my fears of rejection... all that lies beneath -- But never, not even close, did I mention the desire to have children --
As a counselor, I understand the importance of going back and seeing where you've been and comparing it to where you are today -- I understand that sometimes you must go back to resolve issues that were never settled, but settle them; don't stay there -- And now, I understand how going back can speak to you in ways you'd never thought possible -- Am I supposed to be a mother? Would I be a good mother? Would I want to leave my children? Do I truly desire to be a mother? and if not, why?
Since about our third date, Dan and I have spoken about whether or not we would want children -- Without a lot of thought, I'd always state I'm not sure, I love babies, but I love giving them back, too -- It's been an understood thing between us both that we'd either have two, one or none and we'd be fine how ever it turned out -- Yet, recently (specifically, thanks to MyCharmingKids) I've had the itch... the baby itch --
Tuesday night, Dan and I were watching a movie and for the first time, I saw a mother and daughter together and I allowed myself to really feel the desire for a baby, my own baby -- I didn't say anything, it was just a feeling -- After the movie, we were saying goodnight and I said I'm so glad you're mine and when he didn't respond, I jokingly said Hey, you're supposed to say what you're feeling back -- Without a hitch he said I don't think I want children -- It felt like I'd been punched in the stomach -- Where did that come from? I said emotionless Well, I'd been thinking really hard lately and I decided that I really don't want to bring a child into this society, this economy -- I lay there motionless and turned toward him, kissed him goodnight and faced the other direction --
Within a minute or so, I found myself crying (crying? The woman who'd never desired to have children was crying?) -- I sat up to get a tissue and Dan asked with real sensitivity Are you crying? I wanted so badly just to go to sleep, ignore it, sleep on it and I'd feel the way I'd always felt about kids in the morning -- Yeah -- Tell me what's wrong -- It's just that... and I told him what happened during the movie -- Um, bad timing, huh? That made me laugh and we were able to really talk about having/not having children --
In the end, we held each other in the darkness of the night and prayed -- We told God that while we know it's our decision, this world is a scary place to bring a human life into and that we'd like His guidance -- It brought us closer... Dan called 3 times the next day while I was at work just to 'see if I was OK' -- It seems to me that we both realized we are what we have in our family and we want to protect it with all we've got --
What sort of things have you and your spouse faced when it comes to having children? If you're a parent, what sort of advice would you give to a couple determining to have children or not?