This experience gave me a new perspective on what life would be like if things were different. I saw the pieces of myself I would have to set aside and that didn't necessarily settle well. I guess I am particularly attached to those pieces. We all have a "perfect space" and most of us spend our lives seeking it.
Life is completely different without kids and this was a peek into exactly what changes when children come along. Being responsible for a little human requires letting go of parts of myself that I may not WANT to sacrifice. Even if I could.
A lot of people truly enjoy parenting. They crave it and they delight in it. I may not be one of those people. That's an important realization. One that flips the perspective 360 degrees. Don't get me wrong; I totally enjoyed the time with my niece and I look forward to doing it again in the future. I am not an ogre who can't stand children.
Did I over analyze it? Maybe. In my defense some things need to be observed and evaluated. I would rather scrutinize something than neglect to see the lesson. This definitely taught me some things about myself that I really needed to see.
Motherhood could lead to happiness but it also poses a very real risk of leading to misery.
As I write that sentence; I cringe. It sounds a little harsh right? What kind of woman would begrudge motherhood? Thinking that just proves I am still.. even if just a little...stuck in the cycle. Still believing that I need to fit the mold.
All the more reason to repeat my previous statement.
I am not a mother, I am not sorry; and you shouldn't be either.
Though, it is a valid point that should be considered. The decision to reproduce carries with it a great deal of risk. The baby could be born with birth defects. The mother could get sick carrying or delivering the child. You could give up your whole self; putting all you have into the goal of raising a productive and respectful citizen; just to see them grow up to become the opposite. I wonder how the mothers of criminals must feel when they realize what their children are capable of and it's probably safe to bet that most never intended for their children to develop in such a way.
Maybe I wasn't given the choice because I could have made the wrong one. When I think back to when I was younger; (when instinct still over-ruled any of society's conditioning) I remember playing "house" along with the other kids but I liked "banker" and playing outside way more. I don't remember daydreaming about becoming a mother or getting excited about how many children I would have one day like some women do. At the same time, I did expect it as the natural progression of things. I took it for granted. Like so many times in life ... you don't appreciate a choice until it is not yours to make.
That being said; what if this isn't a case of fertility being taken; but that infertility is given? A free pass. A "get out of parenthood free" card. I know, it's rather easy for me to sit here and proclaim that I don't want children when I don't actually have the choice to make but I'd rather see it for the blessing it can be than a loss I need to defend.
Things are different now. Some might call it changing but it feels more like becoming. Discovering a part of the person I have always been, but didn't know was missing. And it is starting to settle in. I am living this moment IN my best possible circumstance. There are a lot of things that I could do; grow a mustache, own a parakeet or become a nun for example. These things may not actually lead me to my "perfect space." The will to do something does not equate to it's necessity.
Parents are blessed with children; and the child-free are blessed in their own way. We should take pride in this just the same. This is our reality; and we shouldn't feel shameful or guilty for loving our lives just as much as a person who chooses to become a mother or father.
Each path is different. Both contain their own bumps along the way and they also possess unique beauty. The way I see it; you can either wish away your journey or you can soak up the sun in your own experience; in this very moment, just the way you are.