Motherhood: a struggle at every stage.
For several years I was asked when I was going to have children. The assumption slowly turned to never. For me, it was a personal decision I wasn’t prepared to make, nor did I think I should have to. At 20; 25; 28; 30 even. Children are a lifelong commitment. They alter your very being. I knew that if I were to have children, my life’s focus would shift greatly. I would fight to not lose myself as I ensured my children had the life I believed they should. It was something I didn’t know was for me or not and until I was 100% sure, it wasn’t even up for discussion.
The discussion did happen though. Several years back. Vic and I have been together for slightly over a decade and he is older than I am, so it was on his radar before it was on mine. We both agreed that if it was something that happened; fantastic. If not, we were good with that too.
This mindset is still ours.
It’s a very personal decision and it’s something we’re both happy with.
In saying that. When we received the all clear from the endocrinologist just over two years ago, we decided that we would let nature take its course. We stopped trying to prevent pregnancy, but didn’t pursue it – if that makes sense. There was no tracking ovulation; no hormones; no extras. Just living our lives as we always have, without barriers.
Two years and a new endocrinologist later, I’m told my previous specialist had a note on my file that she thought I had PCOS.
News to me.
PCOS: Poly-cystic Ovarian Syndrome.
My initial thought was “Jesus”. But as she walked me through it, the uneasiness started melting away. More so when my family physician confirmed what she told me. Yes, I have trust issues when it comes to medical professionals – a long story for another time. In a nutshell, if I did in fact have this condition – it was easily treatable and life would resume as it should. I’m still awaiting the phone call with the results.
Throughout the medical regime that has become my new normal, my thoughts every once in a while strays to a family. Given the age difference, we know that if we are to give it a serious try, we want to do it soon. I have to admit, I’m still okay either way.
The part that really gets me, is the way parents look at childless couples. It’s as though our life remains void of meaning without children. I’m not arguing that some people may in fact feel that way, but we all don’t. And I think it’s truly a shame that others feel the need to inflict that feeling upon anyone.
Having children is the single most personal decision two people can make. On top of that, couples may be facing countless medical issues that are hindering their ability to have a family that they very well may want in a desperate way. Negative judgements are completely inappropriate and unnecessary. It leaves us trying to justify a decision that is really none of anyone’s business and shouldn’t even be a topic of discussion.
But then the strip turns pink or those two lines appear. Did you want this to happen? Was it a result of ‘faulty’ contraception? Are there medical issues to consider? On top of the joy (if you’re joyful), there are a million things that hit you all at once. Those feelings only intensify as the pregnancy progresses. Are you ready for this? Is anyone ever truly ready? What if you suck at being a parent?
Then, if you’re lucky, you have a beautiful and healthy baby to love until you take your last breath. The worry and stress level is sure to be high – probably indefinitely. You try and soak up as much as humanly possible. They grow and change in the blink of a eye. You try and adjust with the ever changing lifestyle. Maternity leave; going back to work – do you go back to work? Can you afford not to?; daycare – who is watching the most precious part of you?; school – you’re praying they don’t get bullied and they don’t break your heart in a million pieces as they struggle through; extra-curricular activities – how in the world are you fitting another dance class, or sporting practice?; and the cycle continues.
But you wouldn’t trade them for the world.
Because to trade them would mean you wouldn’t get to look into those precious eyes. The perfect combination of everything that is good in you and your co-parent.
And yes, you will fail them. You’ll suck at parenting. You’ll forget to make cookies for the bake sale, or send out the birthday invitations and have to resort to a Facebook event, praying the other parents have enough notice to make it. You’ll forget to wash the soccer uniform, or sharpen the hockey skates. Your child will go to school with odd socks on and you’ll forget to send the money for their book order. You’ll take away their iPad or xBox, ground them for a week and they’ll hate you forever. You’ll hide in the closet with a chocolate bar just so you don’t have to share, and you’ll take the long way home just so you can enjoy the peace and quiet of the car ride for a few extra minutes.
Your child will survive. They’ll even thrive. Because they’ll see you trying your damnedest to get it right. They’ll see that parents are human and they screw up. They’ll know that it’s okay to make mistakes themselves. They’ll see that it’s okay that it’s frozen pizza for supper and not a gourmet meal – because Mom/Dad is super tight on time and need to get them to voice lessons on time.
You need to get very few things right in parenting. Love them unconditionally; support them unconditionally; and teach them compassion and good health. Everything else is a bonus. No parents are alike; no children are alike. Parenting isn’t a science, it’s an art.
Enjoy it. Treasure it. Be thankful for it.
Because you have been given a gift that so many pray for. You have been given the gift of carrying and raising a child (or children). You get to watch them grow and develop into these amazing little people.
So no, at no stage is Motherhood easy.
But it is hands down the most rewarding experience there is.
Just remember, a little less judgement for the childless individuals/couples. You have no idea the battle they may be fighting or the depth of longing they experience every time they see a child.
And remember, you’re doing fabulous.