Thursday, January 31, 2013
I was thinking about this blog recently and realized that I should be honest about the outcome, given that the purpose of it was not just to explore our world through issues surrounding children but my own thoughts about having kids.
This last September, Rob and I welcomed a little girl into our lives. The decision to have a kid was never concrete and even upon finding out I was pregnant I was unsure. The pregnancy journey was not fun and those women who think it is mystify me. What made it especially challenging was that I developed an overgrown fibroid which started to die and the pain I endured from that was even worse than labor.
Currently, we’re 4 ½ months in and, obviously, much has changed since she was born. Having a child isn’t for everybody and you won’t find me advocating for it or against it because we’re all on our own path. Life gets turned on to its heels after a child is born. You go through such a shock to your system that there’s nothing I can compare it to. I don’t remember the first 6 weeks, arguably 12, but I, obviously, survived and got through it somehow because I’m still here.
This might be weird to say but I would’ve been ok with not having kids. I had a full life before and felt that I had purpose. I wasn’t seeking to fill any void and can find it annoying when people say, “I don’t remember life before kids.” That may be true for them but I certainly do and, honestly, I sometimes miss it.
But having said that, knowing what I now know, I can’t imagine my life without our daughter. If I were to lose her, I would suffer. She makes me understand the world a little differently, if not more deeply. This doesn’t make me a better person than someone who’s childless, by any means. I liken it to teaching: I was always sympathetic to the plight of teachers but didn’t really understand their world until I became one. I could understand a parent before having a child myself but only up to a certain point. As a parent, I understand patience more deeply (although being a teacher helped). I understand fearlessness and sacrifice where I’d do anything for her without question. I also understand love on a level I didn’t think someone like me was capable. These don't make me a better person now (since I think I was pretty good before), but I’m already a stronger person because of them.
There are a lot of fears now – oh the fears! – and worries and concerns. I’ve already had countless moments where I’ve questioned the reasoning behind the choice to be responsible for another human being. I look at all the hatred people have for each other, all the judgments and lack of responsibility, and my heart aches that we brought an innocent soul into this mess. A mess that I will have to try and explain one day when I don’t even understand it all myself.
But then I look at her. I look at her face, her eyes, her smile. I hear her giggles and now emerging laugh, and somewhere deep within me there’s a flicker of light, of hope, of faith, if you will, that shines telling me that in the end it’ll all be OK. That the foundation we’re building for her will help grow her good heart and soul that you can already see. She may witness darkness enveloping our world but my hope is that she’ll see its light is greater. The lack of sleep, the worry, and all of the concerns that come with this territory of being a parent is a microcosm of the larger picture on Earth. These things may seem dark in the moment they’re happening but her smiles, giggles and laughter are the light that shine greater than any dark cloud could ever try to cover. There’s so much focus on the negative aspects of having a kid and of all that you lose. I know because I sang that tune forever. But what about all that you gain? I can’t say what this is exactly because it’s different for each of us.
Life is nothing but stages that we go through and the challenges of each stage are what make us stronger individuals. I may have been unsure before but there’s no doubt in my mind that I will be eternally grateful for choosing to go down this road. Challenges and all.