Today as I write I’m fighting the urge to go get a bowl of chocolate chips and willing myself to stay here and finish this post so that I can get in some exercise before my two-year-old wakes up from his nap. My four-month pregnant body craves what it doesn’t need and shirks what it does, however I still find myself awed by the life growing within me. This will be our third baby and though it’s coming a bit sooner than anticipated, Matt and I have wanted and planned on this child coming into our home.
Because my personal timetable included running a marathon in the fall, traveling home to see family for the holidays and THEN getting pregnant this little surprise has brought with it unexpected feelings. With our other two children Matt and I talked about wanting to conceive and when, trying, and then succeeding. Watching that positive line appear on the pregnancy test only brought delight. This time I initially felt shock and even a little resentment.
However, after a recent party with some friends we know from Matt’s grad class of actors I have realized how much I love being a mother, how excited I feel to welcome another amazing person into my life, how blessed to have the ability and opportunity. Any trace of resentment has disappeared (well mostly, maybe a little remains as I watch my husband and running partner get ready for the marathon, but that’s a post for another day.)
While pursuing his MFA in acting for three years the seventeen other students became like a surrogate family. The girls from the grad class try and get together every few months, and as an honorary member of said class, I go too. My first daughter came into our lives with one year of grad school to go, so the small class of actors shared in the anticipation of her arrival and the milestones of her first year. At the time only one other student was a mother and one other student was married. As supportive and excited as they all were, none of them were jumping aboard this train anytime soon. It’s been over three years since graduation, and though we have been joined by many of the actors in the marriage department, no one else has children. After announcing to these girls at the party that Matt and I are expecting a third they began to talk about another friend from the class who just said the other day she’s ready to marry her boyfriend and have a baby.
“Really?” asks another. “I thought she never would.”
Then someone else pipes in, “I have decided I really want to have a baby too. Just one girl.”
And then the comment that really got me thinking, “I don’t understand why anybody would want to have children. I mean, it takes over your life. I like children, but why?”
The girl who just declared she wants to have one girl replies with, “Well I think I need to have a child to be able to experience life fully, especially as an artist, to go through what so many other women have experienced.”
“Not me,” says the other.
We were getting ready to part at this point. I didn’t know what to say, so I didn’t say anything. But it definitely got me thinking. I love these girls. They are amazing women; intelligent, beautiful people who would make wonderful mothers. It came as such a surprise that my friend actually did not plan on having children. And I started to think about why I initially wanted to have children. If I hadn’t been raised in an LDS home with the doctrine about family taught to me before I could even talk would I have found a desire to become a mother? Would I have felt the need to justify that decision? How would my reasons have been different?
Being on the other side, already having become a mother I can think of many reasons why to do it. But I’m really interested to hear if you mothers remember why you initially had children, and you non-mothers if you have the desire and why? Is there reasoning behind it or does it come from a more organic place? Have you felt the need to justify your decisions and/or desires? (And any fathers out there who read our blog, please respond to.)