“can i handle being a mom?”

20 Apr

Of course you can.

You don’t think it right now though, do you. You’re scared, excited, worried, thrilled, and possibly bulbous and not terribly mobile.

I didn’t think I could do it either.

I never wanted kids, never dreamed of having them. My future didn’t include children. I didn’t even particularity like kids. My self image did not depend on children, and in no way was formed to include them.

What a rude awakening those pink lines were. I cried when I saw them-not because I was happy, but because I was terrified, and backed into a corner. This was not my life. I could not be a mother-what the hell did I know about being a mother?

Nothing, that’s what. 

Somedays since that day are tough. This morning as I walked the trail behind our house, I absently thought, “I could just walk away”. It would be that easy. But nothing is ever that easy. There are times when I stare at my children in horror, wondering what I have brought into the world.

And yet there are times when I think of all the shit I’ve gone through, all the pain, and Rosalyn’s smiling face and throaty giggle makes it all better. Vivian’s grin and sweet nature heals me.

Somehow, life hands you the tools and makes it easier. Somehow.

Just don’t ask me how that happens, cause I have NO idea.

14 Responses to ““can i handle being a mom?””

  1. Netter April 20, 2007 at 10:43 am #

    I wish I hadn’t been so frustrated this morning, that I could have been sweeter and more understanding. Isn’t that what a mom is supposed to do? I just don’t seem to be able to always find that ability to connect with him. He’s just 3, I’m a mean old bitch. And I thought I wanted kids.

  2. katsplace April 20, 2007 at 10:50 am #

    All of my children were planned. I can still remember the exact panicky moment in each pregnancy that I realized that I was going to be a Mom and that it was real. With my first it was the most comical, “It took the form of “No matter how this baby comes, it’s going to hurt like hell”” A friend of mine said that she could remember the exact moment that she realized “The parents aren’t going to come and get this kid” – she was the parent.

    I’m not sure that EVERYONE is equipped to be a parent or should be. I do think that the majority of us who wonder “what the hell were we thinking” probably do. And I think that the majority of people who are REALLY scared probably just are realizing the sheer anormity of this task we are taking on.

    Netter, 3 year olds seem to have the ability to make a mean old bitch out of the most patient mom. It might be their job. (My twins are 3 in July) . Mom’s are real people and real people get frustrated.

  3. radicalmama April 20, 2007 at 12:32 pm #

    My friends are all busy “planning” their pregnancies. (Which is good of course. I certainly don’t encourage people to go about parenthood the way that I did.) But I keep telling them that you are NEVER ready for motherhood. And you never know that until you become a mother planned or unplanned.

  4. thordora April 20, 2007 at 1:16 pm #

    We had a little “party” here at work for someone going off on leave with Twins, and someone said “I’d be worried about my hairy legs when going in to labour”

    Those kinds of questions make me laugh, and wonder how much people DO realize goes into kids. I guess birth is good at making you a mother because it gives perspective…to most people at least.

  5. katsplace April 20, 2007 at 1:34 pm #

    I have long been convinced that the reason why the last month is so uncomfortable for the mom is so she would see about anything else as desirable – thus overcoming any fear of labor.

    I’m also convince that a similar thing holds true for teenagers. They have to be PITA and think they know it all – otherwise they would be too terrified to leave home and we would be too terrified to let them.

  6. Caitlin April 20, 2007 at 1:50 pm #

    I think if you really want children, you can handle a being a mom. If you don’t want to be a mom, you’ll find it difficult at best and at worst, you get all of the frustrations with none of the joy.

    Our culture has a tendency to discount a woman’s feelings about having children if it involves not wanting them. People need to hear it’s ok to not want children and there’s not something wrong with them for choosing not to have children. We should really encourage more soul searching than a “Yeah, you can do it!”, because not all of us can.

  7. katsplace April 20, 2007 at 3:39 pm #

    Our culture has a tendency to discount a woman’s feelings about having children if it involves not wanting them. People need to hear it’s ok to not want children and there’s not something wrong with them for choosing not to have children. We should really encourage more soul searching than a “Yeah, you can do it!”, because not all of us can.

    ITA with most of this… I’m not sure that it’s a case of “not all of us can” as much as it’s a case of “Not all of us want to” and that’s ENOUGH. I also think this in terms of how many children people have. Not wanting to have another child is a good enough reason to not have anymore regardless of all of the other reasons people might throw at them.

  8. thordora April 20, 2007 at 3:44 pm #

    Try being childless by choice. Holy CRAP people can’t accept that in a woman. The smug looks I dealt with after getting myself knocked up….I hated that…

  9. bine April 20, 2007 at 4:17 pm #

    i know this is a little off-topic but thor’s last comment got me thinking …
    it’s not only that people regard me either as a child-hater, which i am definitely not, or some antisocial element that will not provide the nescessary offspring to keep our society going in the future.
    it’s not only this strange worried look that people give you, like you’re somehow not normal, but that they feel they have the right to ask away “well, why don’t you have children” or “isn’t it time you had children?”
    just imagine this scenario: i might not be childless by choice. i might have been desparately trying to get pregnant for years, i might have had several miscarriages or i might have had my uterus removed to keep my myoma from returning over and over again. luckily this is not the case, but wouldn’t those everyday questions be incredibly cruel then?
    i can’t come up with the reason why people feel entitled to inquire in such a personal matter, as if they were discussing your tastes in fashion.

  10. thordora April 20, 2007 at 4:28 pm #

    My personal favorite was always “Who will take care of you when you’re older!”

    um….the RRSP I’ll have built since I wouldn’t have been busy feeding/clothing my kids…

    People are such asshats.

  11. katsplace April 20, 2007 at 4:50 pm #

    With my 4, a lot of people expect me to be the poster child for large families. I get tired of it. Within my own family though I can name at least 2 couples that had a second child because of outside pressure and a feeling that they would be harming their child by having it as an only.

  12. Caitlin April 20, 2007 at 5:23 pm #

    Being a mom is a real struggle for me. It just amazes me how many people know I am really struggling with PPD and want a tubal, but yet they are still asking when Paul gets a sibling. When I say I’m done, I get the whole *wink wink nudge nudge* “Oh, that’s what I thought when I was your age and I have 3 kids now” routine.

    Even my doctors. I realize that I had a bad birth and newborn experience. It’s not that which scares me. I don’t want or need a do-over. It’s the whole not being able to shake this lingering PPD and having yet another person solely dependent on me that makes my stomach turn at the thought of another pregnancy. I can handle being a mom to one, but it’s come at a very steep cost to my peace of mind and well being.

    I wish more people realized that family size is incredibly personal and it’s not always money or “selfishness” that limits how many kids there are in a family.

  13. katsplace April 20, 2007 at 5:37 pm #

    My mil never let up on my sil. Mil is an only child of only children and is really vocal and opinionated about having more than 1 child. I know that my bil and sil really didn’t want another child but gave into all the sibling arguments and pressure.

    I do think that a LOT of women who have had really difficult first time mother experiences rethink the idea of an only when their child is much older. I have several friends who have done that and the 5 year gap in my own siblings is a result of that. But it’s insulting and offensive to ASSUME that everyone is going to feel that way. I think in a well meaning way people who push that idea do it because they want to let the mother know that they understand but knowing several Moms who only want one makes me realize that it’s really offensive to them. It invalidates their feelings.

    On the other end of the spectrum, I have had complete strangers ask me if I figured out what caused all those children. I also regularly get the “Boy do you have your hands full” and often before they know I have 2 more in school. And Karrie and I once had an very weird encounter where someone asked ME (not her) if the three babies with us were my triplets. They were my tiny 3 month old premie twins and her very mature looking 2 month old.

  14. katsplace April 20, 2007 at 5:40 pm #

    BTW, I am not at all claiming that they rethink it without lots of pressure or that the pressure isn’t a big factor in their having another child. It probably is actually. i do think though that there are some women who honestly wanted more than 1 child before they had any who have had such a difficult time that it takes years before the idea of having another child is at all palatable.

    and now that I have seriously taken over the comments for my own soapbox…. I’ll shut and take my oldest to a birthday party 😀

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