Saturday, May 12, 2012

A Mother-Not-to-Be

This Mother's Day, in the year that I turn 37, I'm not thinking about my own mother so much.

After all, it's been over five years since I've even spoken with her.

Instead, I'm thinking about the mother I'll never be.

I never wanted to become a mother. I was miserable throughout childhood, and couldn't imagine inflicting life on another defenseless human being. I couldn't imagine turning into my mother upon giving birth, something that was sure to be an irreversible, unavoidable fate.

Back then, when I protested the mere suggestion of future motherhood, my father would say to me, "One day, you'll love a man so much that you'll look at him and say, 'I want to have your baby!'"

"Ewwww!" I would say. But it's a scenario that's always lingered in the back of my mind. Throughout my adulthood, I've always worried if my desire to lead a childless life would interfere with sustaining a long-term romantic relationship, or with embarking on a marriage. When I've filled out online dating profiles, I've always ticked off the "Not Sure" option when asked if I wanted kids, just so as not to detract those guys that might someday desperately want to have kids with me - that might love me so much that they'll look at me and say, "I want you to have my baby!"

Turns out, it hasn't been an issue.

Turns out, it probably will never be an issue.

I have foolishly waited years to love someone that much, when in fact, no one would ever love me that much.

And as much as I still don't want kids, as the years pass, as my potential maternal age becomes more and more advanced, I become increasingly upset over the loss of opportunity to have kids.

Because it's very likely, when I surpass childbearing age, my childless life will not have been a choice. I will have never had to turn down someone who wanted to get me pregnant. I probably won't be able to change my mind, even if I wanted to.

Oh sure, I could always choose to be a single mother. Any woman can get pregnant by random sperm. Surrogacy and adoption always provide alternative options. I can do many things on my own. I can juggle multiple identities. But if I can barely imagine loving someone so much that I want to have their baby, I cannot fathom ever wanting to tackle motherhood alone. I don't dare subject a baby to my sad life of loving alone.

My mother always told me and my sister that she had us because she wanted someone to love her, finally. That didn't work out so well for her.

I refuse to make the same mistake, assuming that any offspring I bring into this world will, by nature, hate me, as I hated my mother. But, as the person who would prefer to try trapeze and fail, I'm increasingly disappointed that I'll never have the opportunity to try and find out. Because just as I'm the one who goes to the movies, hikes, dines, drinks, and loves alone, in parenthood too I'll have to accept that the position of my accomplice will be in a permanent state of vacancy.

If don't have to accept that right now, I will, very soon.

Related Reading:
To All the Mothers
The Best I Ever Had

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