A Child of My Own

Do you have children? if you don't, do you want to? Did you ever think why you want children? I mean, really, really think about it?

  • Is it because you always saw yourself as a mom/dad? and that is your identity?

  • Did you have a great family and you want that same happiness?

  • Did you have a dysfunctional family and you want to do a better job?

  • Because that's what you're supposed to?

  • Because you got pregnant?

  • Because you want to live on and leave a legacy in your children?

  • You want to see yourself/ your spouse in these little ones you created?

A girlfriend of mine and I used to say that when God gave out the motherhood gene, we were out picking flowers or something, because WE did not get that gene. We never oohed and ahhed at cute booties and blankets. We never thought about cute names or dreamt about family outings. We never looked at babies with misty eyes, clouded by longing. Nope. Not us. Clear-eyed and sure. We didn't long for a child of our own. Don't get us wrong, we loved babies! Like each of our nieces and nephews - the ones you could give back at the end of an outing.

Once I married, I asked many people, "Why do/did you want children?" Not to question their judgement, but to solve a mystery for me, to have them explain the incomprehensible equation. Like approaching a Calculus T.A. The most common answer was, "I don't know," accompanied by a shrug of the shoulders. I would even feed them the list of questions, and none of them seemed to ring true. They would agree hesitantly to one or another, but there weren't any "Ah ha!" responses. Here again, I was the odd one out. Nobody seemed to really care why they wanted a family. They were not intrigued by my question, but rather, saw it as a distraction, as if your spouse asked you during The Game if you wanted broccoli or carrots with dinner.

In the end, I decided that wanting children is a primal thing. It is something in the depths of our being, planted there by our Maker. Somewhere along the line, between Eve eating the fruit and here, my friend and I lost that gift that God gave us. That makes me sad now, now that I am a mother because I think I still lack something in my Being.

When the time came and we chose to create a family, we made a family through adoption. So this brought about a whole 'nother round of questions about what it means to want a family; be a family. I don't know if I love my son as much as if he had come from my body, because he is and will be our Only. I do know though, that I love him fiercely; as fiercely as any Momma Bear. I know of a couple who wants a family in the worst way, but he refuses to even consider adoption. Let me be clear: adoption is not for everyone. Neither is parenthood. But I have to wonder, does he really want to come together with joy or is it something else? What do you consider is a child of your own? Do you want a baby or do you want something of yourself? Do you want to give of yourself or get something yourself?

I'm understanding parts of the equation, but there are steps that are still murky to me. I need a Parenting T.A.


richmomma said...

I can't answer your questions, but I can say that for as long as I can remember, from the time that I was a very little girl, I always wanted children...and lots of them. I used to say (as as child) that I wanted 12. I think that it was because I genuinely loved being with children.

These days, I love being a parent because there is nothing like the satisfaction of shaping a human being and watching him/her grow. I INTENSELY love being a mother. I have friends and relatives who have made the very conscious choice to NOT have children. It is very hard for me to wrap my brain around the idea that anyone wouldn't want to because it's such a strong desire of my heart...and perhaps that is as simple/complicated as it gets. God gives each of us different desires of the heart. And having children is definitely one of mine--whether from my body or from halfway around the world.

http://theconstantwife.blogspot.com said...

Very interesting question Grace. I've given it some thought and I think for me personally it goes back all the way to when I was a child myself. I liked children and felt particularly nurturing towards children younger than myself. I was the youngest of six kids and I can clearly remember when my cousin was born (four years younger than me) I can remember being six years old (and she was two) and absolutely getting that she was 'the little one' and I wanted to keep her safe. I can remember thinking she was just delightful with her chubby face and baby smile. I don't believe that my sister who is only one year older than me ever felt that way. And not surprisingly she has never had any children.

As a young girl I dreamed about being a mommy. I think a huge part of that was because I was an old soul and also because I saw my own mother enjoying being a mom so much. It is hard to grow up watching your mother take huge pleasure in being your mom and not think that this must be something really awesome. Even now at 79 she will still say that although she had a full life and numerous jobs that raising her children was the most fulfilling time of her life. And that does make sense from a Christian view- a mother pours herself into her children and dies daily to herself and it is this dying to ourselves that brings us the most joy.

And lastly when I was in college and thoroughly looking foward to my career as a Speech Pathologist I can remember the day I was walking with a friend of mine (also majoring in Speech) I told her that I didn't want to work with children because I wanted to save up all of my love and energy for my own kids at the end of the day and that I didn't think working with other people's kids all day would be the wisest choice for me. She was shocked- she had no desire to have children at all...ever...and she never did. She did chose to work with children though and was excellent with them. She just didn't want a long term committment to any of them.

I can remember in my 20's having 'baby lust'. Every baby or toddler I would see in the store or mall I would be pulled to like a magnet. I was entranced by their rosebud mouths and luminous eyes. I felt smitten by being in their company and felt like I had to have a child of my own.

So that is my answer to your question. I personal feelings are that God gives us our hearts desires and if He has not given us a desire for children then there is nothing wrong with that. He must have other plans for us to serve Him. Christine xoxo

Ansley said...

Ah, the eternal question. I, like you, have asked people why they wanted children and been met with those blank stares. It took years for the desire for children to grow in my heart. And like you, it wasn't that I didn't enjoy children- I really enjoyed my 9 years younger sister, and my cousins' children- even the children of my love interests were a joy to me. I just never pictured myself as a mom. I always felt I had other things planned for me.
Now that I am a mom (through adoption, just like you) I see how much I would have missed if I hadn't chosen a path to motherhood. I am so thankful Providence changed my mind. However, I can also see how not having had the intense 'need' to be a mom has actually made me a better mother- I am less personally invested and therefore more objective (I believe).
I sometimes think the lack of desire was instilled in me by my own mom, herself a fabulous mother. She just never made me feel I had to do it, and she always encouraged me to explore the other choices I had in life.
However, don't ever think that because you haven't longed for motherhood since childhood you are less of a mother. You are everything to the son who calls you 'Mommy'.

blackbelt_oma said...

Thank you all for your heart-felt words. They are enlightening to me.