I don’t come from a large family. I was never exposed to lots of kids when I was younger. I don’t much like them, as I’ve already explained.
I wondered if my view would change when I got pregnant. If I would suddenly be overcome with the ‘miracle growing inside me’. Yeah… sorry, but ew. I don’t mean to sound ungrateful because I know there are many women the world over struggling with infertility and that makes me one of the lucky ones. But I can’t deny that I personally don’t love the idea that there’s something growing inside me I was never under any illusions about what being pregnant would be like, and I always figured it was unlikely that I was going to suddenly become enthralled by tiny clothes or drooling kids. I see a dog, I grin from ear to ear, I see a child, and I cross the street!
My mum had often told me she doesn’t much like kids either, but it’s different when they’re your own. And I’m the proof of that! She once famously gave me the anti-grandchild talk, which I so appreciated. Instead of putting pressure on me to have kids, she sat me down before I got married and said that they were happy either way. Grandkids are fine, but no grandkids are also fine. Which is kind of the opposite message that society puts on you, and really should be the norm. After all, it’s a big commitment and a decision that should not be made lightly.
It’s not that I’m not looking forward to it. And it’s not like I’m not going to love the creature.
But I haven’t changed. I have no desire to learn how to put on a nappy. I’ll learn with my kid. I have no desire to paint the nursery or even do anything much more than throw in a cot and put up some curtains. I have no desire to buy cute baby clothes. Or research prams. Or ask too many questions. That’s why I’m grateful for my friends. I’m taking all the advice I can get. Putting it in a mixing pot, and making my own way.
The thing is, one thing I’ve learnt is that I’m not the only one who feels this way. I’m not weird or strange, except in my own special way. We are not all built with an innate desire to reproduce, and that’s ok, whether you choose to or not.
Congratulations? I think you are right in that there is a societal pressure upon people over pregnancy. Why haven’t you got children, when are you going to have them? Society historically has depended and relied upon more children inhabiting the earth. Anyway I dont think there is a playbook for it, and most people just pick it up as you go along. I am pleased that you prefer dogs to babies too. This is good.
What is maternal? Is it goo, gooing over cute cuddly babies, or maybe it’s just looking after your own as best you can. Maybe it’s like lots of other things, there are degrees. Children and their care are not exact sciences. There is no definitive book; family and friends are great supports. Again like other things taken day by day with common sense, life goes on and it’s an interesting journey. Some days will be great, others not so and the rest very ordinary.
Always great advice from you, Mum 🙂 xoxo