Friday, November 28, 2008

The Baby Itch

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?

15 comments:

~Mrs. Guru~ said...

I go back and forth with wanting to have kids. Some days I do want kids but most of the time I don't. I just think how bad of a world we live in. But then again, we survived! Mr. Guru wants a least a boy. So who knows what will really happen. Good luck!

Mrs. Stilettos said...

NC,

I am sure you were hesitant about posting this so I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for doing it. This is certainly not a easy issue to decide on right now - especially how things in the world and our country are going...

First of all, let me tell you that my husband and I do want children some day. The way we see it is you can only do so much to protect your child. You raise them with the best of your ability. You try hard to pass to them your morals and values and love and hope that one day it all clicks to them. Things will happen in their life. They will be exposed to things that will break your heart...but in the end it will only make them a stronger person if you do your best to prepare them for that moment. I think back to all of the tough moments in my life and I say with pride that they made me stronger and a wiser person because my parents did everything they could to make sure I knew where I came from, where I was going and what matters most in this world.

I hope this helps you...I'll pray for you and your husband!

Kristy said...

Great post! I never thought in a million years I'd have children, in fact, I didn't want them .I thought I'd have my big fancy career in the city, drive my mercedes and have a couple goldfish! Honestly!..that's the way I thought...then I just happened to fall in love, get married, have a baby and everything else just seemed to fall into place for me. It's weird how things change and how you feel differently once you experience certain things...now that I have a child, I couldn't imagine my life without her! I say just let things happen as they happen...it all works out in the end! God knows I never intended on being a SAHM, but I love it! I wish you all the best in your decision!

...love Maegan said...

I'm pretty much in tears after reading this ...gulp... but we are in a similar boat. I sometimes wish I had just gotten pregnant in my 20's accidentally because then I wouldn't have to DECIDE. This seems the hardest part and while we are actively trying, the longer we don't get knocked-up, the more time I have to think logically about actually raising a baby in this society ...and also how great adoption would be. It's such a strange place mentally that I never ever thought I would be in. sigh. But also, hearing NO from my husband, that finality of no option even, would send me completely to the other side, as it did you :) I have no answers for you but I do understand completely.

Kitty Cat said...

Talk about reading this post at the right time! As you know from my last post, I've suddenly become broody. Don't worry, I've said the exact words your husband said to you. I said to my husband that I don't think I'll ever want children (although I always said it was a possibility) and that this is such a cruel world, how could I bring a child into this world, especially a country like South Africa! But something has changed inside me. I don't know how, or why, but like you, I suddenly got that feeling. Suddenly I'm looking a movies of mothers and their babies, and feeling that pull. Yes, it's a scary world, but it always will be, no matter what, and I think, for myself, that having a baby and being a mother will teach me more about life and myself than I ever could learn otherwise, and we must remember that although we may bring the child into the world, it's still in God's hands, it's really God's child, and we must leave Him to really protect and guide it's own life. I don't think I've really helped you, but your husband is just voicing a very natural fear. Out of wanting to protect the "child" he says he doesn't want one. I get it.

NewlywedCentral said...

Mrs. G -- If we do have one, Dan wants a girl!

Mrs. S -- Thank you for your prayers

Kristy -- Funny how our lives look so different than we imagined

Love M -- Your vulnerability touches my heart -- Thank you --

KC -- I appreciate hearing your perspective... it helps me to 'hear' Dan

Newlywed Next Door said...

Thanks so much for posting your heartfelt story. I really want kids someday and my husband does too - but he's adamant about enjoying our "couple time" now and it really does come down to money. I joke around that we’re “too poor to have kids” being house-poor and relatively young in our careers.

Sass said...

Well.

Coming from a mom of 3...I never wanted kids. I know, that sounds absolutely horrific, but I always thought it was true. We tried with our first, it didn't happen right away, so we both decided it just wasn't the right time.

Two weeks later I was pregnant.

And once I had one, I just kept going back for more.

There are times I look around at my life and think, "man, it'd be so much easier to not have to worry about kids all the time." But then I see the impossibly tiny little sock laying in the hallway, or the "bunk bed" one of them built out of two boxes and some pencils. And I just know.

And some day, whether you have children or not, you'll just know too.

Sorry this makes no sense...

I'm thinkin' of ya.

;)

NewlywedCentral said...

A huge thank you ladies for your compassion and sincere care -- I trust that things will turn out just how they should and y'all will be some of the first to know if anything happens :)

Victoria said...

I remember too not wanting kids Anna. I did play baby as a kid and cut all of their hair too :-)I don't remember dreaming about only being a mother, which I now am of 3! I can tell you God's Word says to be fruitful and multiply and that children are a blessing. I pray you will get to experience the amazing gift of being a mother Anna. I would never trade it. We were married 5 years before we had our first. Your feelings are okay and it is good to be with Dan without children as you continue to learn about life as a couple. Anyway, keep praying and trust. I love that you wanted a baby when seeing a mother and daughter. You will be a wonderful mother. Anna.

Ali said...

You are so honest and real. Thanks for sharing.

Stupid Sheep said...

Hey got here from MckMama...get there from somewhere from somewhere...i've been blog hopping and i don't even know where i started.

My hubby wants more than i do, but because i was so opposed, we decided we'll have three (that was my max) naturally and adopt two. So many of the blogs i read are by moms. I just stumbled upon them by a Christian women's blog for women of all ages but somehow i'm reading all sorts of blogs by moms (do it for the good frugal tips and ideas they have) but it's giving me the itch. Anytime i feel nauseated, i secretly hope it's a baby even though i DON'T want a child born into the current world. Also we barely make enough to feed ourselves. Not like things will be better a few years from now, but i think we'd be better able to handle things. We're just kids ourselves. But i want one. And then i don't. Yet.

amy (metz) walker said...

Wow, great post. We've had similar discussions about if its fair to bring a child into this world...and I'm still scared of it. Add in my infertility and sometimes I feel like that's a "no", too.

But while I love the extra time to myself, sleeping late, giving the kids back after I watch them...when I think forward to my future...like Thanksgiving and Christmas without the joy of children and grandchildren...it just leaves me feeling a little empty. I don't think any amount of money, travel, and sleeping late could fill that void.

I guess that's how I know...

Pure Mommy Extract said...

This is my first time reading your blog and I had to share my feelings here. I am a mother of two, and I love being a mother, it is truly something God has called me to.

What I feel hasn't been spoken is that our Lord is fully LORD of this world, the economic struggles of our country, and the tragic things that happen in the world daily. I feel that often we forget to give HIM the area of children as well. If you approach this concern with much prayer then God will ease your fears and concerns and those of your husband, or He will ease the desire to have them. When you are in His will, you can stand more firm in your decision knowing that it is what's best for you, His will for you.

I used to say that I would not have children. Now I know that there are more in my future.

I would say that nobody can give you an answer to this question other than God. Ask Him and He will lead you to the right choice. We are all called to something, but not all of us are called to parenthood.

I will pray for you in this tonight, that God will speak to you of His call for your life and that He will continually give you confirmation in what you hear =).

With sincerity and understanding,
-Mother of two, Daughter of God

Kweku and Laura said...

I always knew I would have children, but once I became pregnant I felt everything change; I felt complete before pregnancy, but now I feel complete in a different way. Having a child at times is SO scary, but I love her so much! I can't wait to meet her; and if you decide to have a little one I know s/he will bless you.

I just stumbled upon your blog today!