I am an on-the-fence mother.
A mother who fought for a year plus with her husband because he wanted kids (the only reason to get “legally” married in this day and age, he said), and she didn’t.
A mother, who after coming around to the idea of a child desperately hoped for a girl, but had a boy instead.
A mother who till the day she got pregnant, till the day she held her baby in her arms, wasn’t sure about this whole motherhood thing. Who till this day does not have a definite answer to the question, “Is motherhood worth it?”
A mother who, in some ways, resents the fact that her life as she knew it ended the day her son was born.
A mother who is often castigated for saying such things publically but still says them because she knows there are others who feel like her, and these too are stories that need to be told. If for nothing else, than for the sake of other, future on-the-fencers, so they pick the right side…
So, I am an on-the-fence mother.
I am also a motherwho hadnot accounted for what a positive experience a pregnancy is. It may look awkward and funny from the outside, but on the inside it is nothing short of MAGIC. From the look in your husband’s eyes when the doctor confirms your pregnancy to the first time you hear a heartbeat, to the first time you see the baby in a sonogram, to the wakeful nights you spend worrying you are not ready to be “mum and dad”, to the time spent looking for the “perfect” name, to feeling your baby, an actual little person, move inside your belly, to the fear of labor, to all the ‘birthing’ plans you make that will get thrown out of the window as soon as the first contraction kicks in, and finally to the moment you hold your child in your arms. No matter what else you have done, nothing compares to the experience of bringing a life in this world.
I don’t know if everyone should become a mother, but I do think everyone should get at least one chance in life to become pregnant. Even men.
I am also a mother who was clueless about how overwhelming a son’s love for his mother can be, and what special people young boys are. In his eyes, you can do nothing wrong. He will compete with your husband for your affection, who he considers his competition, at every level. He will laugh when you laugh, cry when you cry; and when he’s a little older, he will hug you till you stop crying. Having a son is an assurance that you will be the first love of at least one person in your life.
I am also a mother, who now knows that along with a child, comes your own growth. Having a child is like subscribing to a 24/7 self-improvement course on “living a more purposeful life”. You will try to be a better person in every way, because you know someone is always watching and learning from you. You will find joys in the littlest things in life, like just jumping in bed with your child or flushing the toilet repeatedly just to see the whirlpool it creates. You will learn to be more forgiving, more patient because the child will commit a hundred mistakes a day and you will have to forgive and forget. You will learn what it means to put someone else’s needs before yours, not always getting your way. What you wouldn’t have done for your own self, you will do for your child. And for the most part, happily.
And finally, I am also a mother who wasn’t prepared for how deeply and irrevocably she fell in love with her son. You think you know what unconditional love is, but you only, truly do after having a child. Yes, I resent his encroachment on my time, but I also value the happiness that he has brought into it. Often times, I hate the humdrum monotony of daily motherhood, but he makes up for it in so many ways. The things he says, the things he does; make my heart do a hundred summersaults a minute. The way he sleeps, his tiny hands on my chest, his warm breath on my cheeks; his sudden, furtive kisses; his I love you mamma; the way he cozies up to me when he knows he’s made me angry.
I look at him and something inside me goes, “Wow, I made that.” Feels amazing, feel special.
Yes, I am an on-the-fence mother. Yes, I am batshit crazy for my son. And motherhood, well, it’s complicated.
(There is an interesting contest on at Women’s Web about motherhood, which this post is a part of. Do check it out. Below is a contest related video.)