Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Motherhood: A Mind Simmering In Evolutionary Juices

Mother Earth--WAK

I started to deem this a Soul Cleanse, but it’s not really one.  I think it is en route to forming one, but this in itself, isn’t one…

Taking a look deeper….

This is inspired by quite a few things..a combination of all things baby continuously arriving at the apartment--Target baby registry, American Baby magazine (although I didn’t request any baby material), plus this being something I have never fully discussed.

Perhaps it was because I wasn't quite ready yet.  Perhaps I was doing a bit of self introspection. 

Yet, I feel like I should talk about it now.  It’s like it’s been doing a slow bubble…not inferno like but more slow cooking.

Picture the whole scene.  

It’s been a little span of time since you've been in your home town.  You’re around family members you haven’t seen in a while.  Most who are your age are married, still having babies, or stopped having babies.  

Yet, here you are—no marriage and no babies.

The question always comes without fail, “When are you going to have some babies?”

It usually comes from those who are significantly older than I am. 

I was taught to always respect my elders, so it’s not like I can say, “Why don’t you get you some business and stop worrying about mine?” 

Well, I could, but I’d get some pretty disapproving looks.

Usually, I arrange it to where I’m able to switch the topic or another family member comes along and I’m able to slowly sneak away to do other things.

Yet the question still lingers, “When are you going to have some babies?”

My answer, “When the time is right.”

I know there are some who will retort, “When it comes to babies, there is no right time, per se.  There may be moments when the finances and other things will never be perfect, so if you wait for perfection, then you’ll never have any kids.”

I get that; I get there’s some truth to that, but the timing really has almost nothing to do with perfection with the finances.  It’s a bit more complex than that.

“When the time is right” for me involves a lot of factors:

1.       Physically capable (even in lieu of health issues)
2.       Being emotionally mature.
3.       Being mentally mature.
4.       Having a significant other who possesses all the traits of a good parent as well as a good partner; someone who is in for the long haul.
5.       Having that long haul mean marriage (not long term cohabitation, but actual marriage)

In life, the woman who showed me the best examples of motherhood was (and still is) my grandmother.  

The woman who showed me the worst examples of motherhood was (and still is) my mom.

My grandma and my mom are similar in the fact that they bore the same number of children.  They both had seven children. 

For my grandma, it would have been eight, but she lost one in childbirth.  My grandma had four sons and three daughters.  Out of the seven children, six remain.  One of her sons passed away.

My mom is the youngest of the seven.  Counting me, she has seven of her own.  I am her oldest child; my youngest sister just recently turned 13.

However, one would think I was an only child, for I’m the only one who was raised by my grandma and grandpa.  

I was three years old when my mom and her soon to be husband at the time made the decision to move out to California.  I don’t want to get in the whole narrative about how I ended up staying in Mississippi because my mom has a story wildly different from the reality of the situation.  

All I know is when it came to the things I needed or wanted, my grandparents were the one providing them, not my mom.

I feel in hindsight, my mom should have just signed over custody to my grandparents.  It wasn't without their trying.  I would have gotten access to benefits with my grandfather being a military veteran, but she didn't see it that way.  She never signed the papers. 

My grandparents should have been taking it easy instead of trying to raise another child, but if it hadn't been for them, there is no telling how I would have turned out.

The way my mom was (and is still) living isn't exactly the best environment for a child.  It’s hard to be a good mother when mentally you are still a child yourself. 

In the few interactions I have had with her, particularly the ones from a couple of years ago, I realized that she never got past the age of 16.  That was how old my mom was when she had me, and she was deeply in love with the guy she "claims" is my dad.  Reason I say “claim” is because he’s not on the birth certificate, nor have I ever really seen him or interacted with him.  

Anyway, he wasn't being entirely faithful; he was cheating on her with this other female, who he also got pregnant.  She gave birth to her baby about three weeks after my mom gave birth to me.  From what I hear, he and my mom were engaged as well (and there were rumors he was engaged to the other chic).  

My so called dad didn't end up with neither one of them; he went into the military; his mom got whatever extra money he had, so he didn't support neither one of his kids.  The sperm donor made a tiny attempted in 1996-1997 to be a part of my life, but the moment I gave him a chance to show his face, he failed to show and he hasn't tried to reattempt since.

It’s like from there, she self destructed.   

My other siblings are very dysfunctional.  A few of them ended up in the system (foster care, group homes, etc.), one of them in and out of jail, and the youngest one is acting out because my mom doesn’t spend any quality time with her. 

I know I don’t want to be that way. 

I think my mom being the way she is played a role in certain behaviors and fears I developed.  I feared getting pregnant at a very young age as much as I feared disease.  True, pregnancy doesn't have to be the end all, be all.  Yet, my mom never finished high school, and after hearing the line, “If I didn't get pregnant with you, I would have…” it kind of works on you a bit. 

I didn't lose my virginity until I was eighteen.  Since I hadn't been having sex, I hadn't been taking pills or on any contraceptive, so I was dependent on the guy to use a condom.  He had aspirations of being a parent early; I had nothing of the sort.  However, one time, he had poked a hole in the condom.  I realized it only when I felt his happy juice flood inside me.  He told me he had done it while I was in the bathroom, and he wanted to do something to ensure that our love would last.  I guess he believed if he tricked me into the idea, I would go along with it.

I was mortified!  I didn’t want to ask around about any Plan B (not sure if it was around back in 1996; it probably was) because it would put my grandparents on alert that I was having sex.  I didn't want to put them through the same nightmare they went through with my mom.  I was able to get hold to a pregnancy test; I found a store bathroom use and tested; it came out negative.  Not too long afterwards, I did get on birth control. 

Needless to say, that did put a crimp on my relationship with him, as well as other factors, which I covered in a separate blog.

Even as I got older, my mentality about pregnancy didn't shift much.  In hindsight, it was a little silly—around the early part of the twenties, it’s almost expected to start having kids.  However, the type of relationships I had gotten involved in, particularly my first engagement, would have spelled disaster if a kid had entered the fray.

If I had to take stock of the men I were in relationships with and ask, “How many were really marriage material?”, that number would be on one hand.  If I then asked, “How many could I see being the father to my child(ren)?”, that number would be even smaller. 

In my fantasy world, I would have been married by 26, had my first child by 28, be done with baby making by 32, and have my tubes tied by 35. 

Yet, in reality, by early 2002, the last relationship I would be in with a guy (for a very long while) ended.  In late 2002, my relationship with M began.

Talk of children did begin to surface around the 2003-2004 mark.  There were talks about which process we would go through.  However, once things started to get a bit rocky, the talks about children died down.  I didn't press it any further, but the longing still remained. 

Then, when my relationship with M ended in 2008, I was a bit in limbo.  Yes, I still yearned for children, but I had no desire to get in another relationship at that point.  I hadn't reached my 31st birthday yet, but I didn't know if another relationship would really be in my future. 

I decided to hush all the questions in my mind.  I opted to take things one day at a time.  I had enough adjusting with losing a six year relationship, trying to work through that.  So I didn't look; I focused mainly on getting “back to me”, and that’s when the person I wasn't looking for arrived.

Now, I’m 35. 

My fantasy world didn't pan out but I am where I need to be, but perhaps it was a blessing that it didn't.

I was saved from having to deal with baby’s daddy drama. 

I don’t know if I would have been able to treasure motherhood as much because with the person I was with at that time, so much would have had to be divided between being a caretaker for M (when M was having bad episodes) and trying to be there for a child. 

It would have been a very difficult balancing act, and I would have had to be the one to do it all—mother and continuously work, since when things started getting worse, she just decided to quit working.  It would not have been a good environment. 

I want my child to know she is the top priority.  I don’t want who I’m with to ever try to make me choose because he’d lose.  He wouldn't even twist his mouth to ask.  I don’t want my child to ever say, “You chose so-and-so over me.”  Even if it’s not said, I never want her to feel that way. 

Plus, it has given me time to chip away at the underlying fear—the fear that my mothering skills will be more like my mom and less like my grandma.  I have the time to let go of “having to do it perfect” because it won’t be perfect.  I have to realize I get a learning curve.

My health has greatly improved; I've gotten stronger. 

The long haul is definitely legit and absolutely loves children.

Emotionally and mentally, I’m definitely in a healthier, more vibrant place.  I could not have said that with confidence a few years back. 

So “When am I going to have some babies?”

Answer—“The right time is definitely getting closer.”

Stay tuned.


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