Having a child is like choosing to hold an egg for the next eighteen years.
It is not heavy, so it is doable, but the chance of the egg cracking, breaking or being lost is always going to be on your mind, so your stress levels will be on the rise.
Having a child is a lot of stress, daily pressure and money, but I understand, from parents, all the wonderful benefits of having a child.
I was having a conversation about this topic with a friend the other day, who is much older than me, actually double my age exactly. Her children have grown and are now fully functioning adults; I am yet to have children of my own.
As we discussed this upcoming (potential) chapter in my life, my friend gave me some wonderfully honest and real advice:
“I’m not telling you to not have kids, but I’m not going to tell you to have them either. Having children was terrifying for me and I always felt and still feel like the worst mother on the planet.”
She really wanted to tell me to not have kids, but did not want the ownership of the words.
This is not the first time I have received such great advice from a woman.
Many women have had the strength to discuss the difficulties of being a parent with me.
Many, many, many other people talk about how it is ‘just the best thing in the world’ and that ‘I’ll never understand until I have my own.’
I believe both sides of this story; I believe that having children is probably the most amazing experience of your life, and I also believe that having children can be the source of a lot of sadness and hurt in your life.
When I think about having children, the idea of it seems wonderful; this person, who you get to help form and educate about life.
Then I keep thinking about having kids and realize that you just bring some stranger home and have to live with them for eighteen years.
I know that they are not a real stranger, but they kind of are. You know nothing about your child when they come into this world and only learn through the years.
Your child could be an angel or they could be a terror. Have you ever read We Need to Talk About Kevin? I refused to let my pregnant friend read it until she had her baby because it was so jarringly scary.
Your child could have a personality that syncs with yours so soundly or they could challenge every ounce of what you define your life by.
That’s crazy when you think about it.
I am one of five children and that’s a lot of children. My parents had children over the course of two decades, which is pretty impressive. My parents have also never pressured one of their children to procreate. It is not something they talk about at all.
They do not speak ill of us as children, but they have shown us the true reality of having kids; it is not all roses and ponies and I really appreciate their honesty.
I appreciate the truth, when much of the world talks about marriage and children like its some opium induced high where everything tastes like cotton candy and you are floating on a cloud of glee.
I think the best analogy of having a child, thus far, is that it is equivalent to holding an egg, for eighteen years and never letting it go, ever.
Will I have children? I do not know, but if I do, I will be honest about the journey and I feel I have been given a really realistic perspective from honest people about what motherhood is truly all about.
If I don’t have children, don’t worry, no need to pity the childless woman. I will wipe away my sorrow with travel and abundant free time to do whatever the hell I desire.