It hits me sometimes. In those quiet moments when it’s just me and my womb, when I’m watching a very special episode of the latest TV show to jump the shark, when I see the perfect little tot acting perfectly perfect…
I want a baby.
I don’t particularly like children. I find them more than moderately disgusting at times, little beasts crawling with fecal germs and mucus. They poop and puke and snot and scream. And worst of all, it’s all somehow a reflection on your own successes and failures, like you’re controlling their every bodily function or emotional breakdown.
But there are moments. Those quick flashes of estrogen that leave me glowing with the thought of being a mother. With the thought of creating life, with the thought of building a life-long bond with someone I’ve brought into this world and helped mold as a person. With the thought of all the wonderful milestones and joys.
But then I think about the other things. The dark places in my mind that haunt me every time I consider a huge life change. The big, scary “What if”.
My own childhood wasn’t perfect, and I don’t feel like an ideal motherhood candidate. My reactions to stress are scary. I know, because I learned them from my mother when I was a child. I watched her wear her anger, her disappointment, her stress. She lashed out at herself, biting her arms and weeping. Her whole face would contort with annoyance and the overwhelming burden of dealing with two demanding children when she could barely deal with herself. And for some reason, it came down to me to comfort her. I felt responsible for making her happy again. I still do.
I watched my parents fight. Not much, but enough. Having kids made them crazy, made them unhappy, made them not like each other sometimes. I’m sure they wouldn’t trade the experience for the world, but there are times I quietly wished I had never existed, just so they could be happy.
I don’t want to give that to my children.
I know that there’s something in me that remembers these things more heavily than the happy times. I know that it’s always been in me to feel responsible. I know that I had a happy childhood, but I simply can’t shake the times that were less fun. We went on trips, we played under the water sprinkler, we had toys, we laughed a lot.
So I continue to sit on the fence. Part of me is just waiting for my body to take over, to tell my head to shut up, that it’s time to make babies. Part of me hopes that I simply pass into menopause and never think twice about what might’ve been. Part of me knows that someday, I’ll have to choose.
I just have to learn to trust myself.