I don’t have kids, and I still don’t know what the future holds for me when it comes to motherhood.
Will I want and have kids of my own one day? Will I find out I actually can’t have my own kids, and choose to adopt? Or will I decide that I am not meant to be a mother in this lifetime?
I cannot say.
But I do find myself wondering if there are mothers who regret having children.
If there are mothers who wish they could turn back time, and choose differently; knowing what they do now about motherhood. If there are mothers who watch their children building a house of Lego on the floor beside them, and have the realisation of, “I love you, but I didn’t choose you. Not really”
Because they didn’t have access to birth control. Or they learned being a mum is what gives you fulfilment and self-worth and value as a woman; this is what we’re here for. Or they just didn’t realise the commitment they were making of 18 years, without holidays or pay.
And of course, it’s much too late for those kinds of thoughts. Because the past has passed. And what’s done, is done. You are a mother now, and there’s no going back.
And you feel guilty for even having thoughts like these. Imagine if she found out you regret your decision to give life to her?
You love her fiercely, yes. There’s no doubt. And you’d climb mountains and brave stormy seas, and fly over rainbows for her; in a heartbeat. You would lay down your life for hers without a split-second of hesitation. I know you would.
You may be an incredible mother, perhaps the kind of mum other kids only dream of having. And maybe you have learned to look for the joy, the lessons, and the growth in this path you’ve unintentionally found yourself on.
But none of these things are I chose you.
None of these things are, I’d choose you again if I had the chance to start over.
And that’s okay. It’s okay to think I love you, but I didn’t choose you. It’s okay to say that motherhood hasn’t been this transcendental experience, that it doesn’t fulfil you as woman, and that you don’t really think it was ever meant for you.
Because it’s okay to tell the truth. It’s okay to be honest. Even if there are people who aren’t ready to feel the heat of your fire. Even if there are people who tell you you’re a bad, selfish, heartless woman, for not making your life about theirs.
Because you are not. You are not bad or selfish or heartless for not being born to be a mother. Not all of us are.
That’s where we’ve gone wrong as a world; leading women to marriage and pregnancy as quickly as we can, before they have time to question a thing. And when they do finally find some stillness to reflect, and think about what they truly desire, it’s too late.
Life has happened. Choices have been made, even if they were mostly made for you.
But what you do have now is understanding, along with an opportunity to right a wrong. You can teach your daughter all you’ve learned along the way, about self-worth, value, and freedom. You can make it clear she has a choice, and there is no right or wrong path to take. And you can relieve her from the weight that society places on her womb, to be a good woman; to devote all her time, energy, and love to her kids.
Because this is not what it means to be a woman. And there are infinite ways to be a woman.