Wednesday, April 13, 2022

Delving Deeper: Children and Motherhood


Hello everyone! The Unleashed One here. I hope that everyone has been doing well. As for me, there has been some transition, but I am convinced when it comes to me, the process of transition is ongoing.

A few weeks back, I relocated to a new workstation. This was to put me in closer proximity to the new job responsibilities that I am taking on. I confess to traveling light because I'd been accustomed to not being in one spot for a long period of time. Chalk it up to the period of time when I was a long-term temp. Besides, there would be less clean-up and things to pack. Because this type of work is ongoing and doesn't have an end date, this space feels more permanent.

I took the liberty of bringing along a companion (nickname Mildred the Fitness Mascot) along with my newly acquired Keurig K-Mini. Yeah, I got one just for my office space.

However, I'll expand more of #WorkingLife in a separate entry.

Another transition I hinted at was whether I was going to resume going to therapy. When I did the initial reach out, there was a huge amount of miscommunication which led (1) to a delay and (2) being matched with a person/organization that, although nice, wasn't exactly the best fit for me.

I ended up doing my own research for the subject I wanted assistance with and went through with the intake process. Unlike before, someone got back in touch with me right away. Although I do prefer to do therapy in person, the way things are set up is virtual. That has taken some adjustment, but I've been willing to battle with my awkwardness and dislike of being on video to get the assistance I require.

I knew that there were deeper layers connected to the dysmorphia, and this is part of the work I must do ... to dissect the bigger issues. One of the topics that surfaced involves the teeter-totter as it relates to my stance on children and motherhood. It is one that I would brush over every so often, but not really do a deep dive into the subject. 

Hmmm ... guess that is coming to an end today.


Does anyone out there know a girl that knew from the moment she held a doll that she wanted to be a mom? Or grew up, seeing her mom do activities for her siblings, and wanted to do that for her own little girl or boy someday? 

I remember the very first Cabbage Patch Doll I ever received. It was dark brown and had no hair. I decided to name her Bernice. When the Cabbage Patch Dolls came out with real hair, my grandparents bought me one as a gift. I named her Pauline. I'm willing to bet that both of them are still in my grandma's house somewhere. Pauline is probably still wearing the red jogging set.

I had fun playing with both of them, especially Pauline, since I could come up with multiple ways to style her hair. Yet, nothing akin to wanting to be a mother, spoke to me back then.

I even played with a host of Barbie dolls. There was no discrimination in my squad. I had white Barbies, including those who didn't look like the typical Barbie. One of them had flat feet. The other always had issues with her arm staying on, but I just pushed it back in and kept playing. I had some black Barbies, including the one that moved when you flipped the switch in the middle of her back. Even makeshift Ken dolls were part of the fun. 

That level of play didn't sound the motherhood horn, either.

As I got older, I became more invested in books and activities that engaged my mind. Playing with dolls decreased and eventually put away.

I was so invested in my studies that my "relationships" felt secondary, like an afterthought. Something that I did to fit in with others my age. Yes, I was top of the class intellectually, but looking back at my life, there were ways where my emotional growth was stunted. It has nothing to do with blame, but more so with the inaccessibility of tools.

For one, there was a generation gap (being raised by grandparents vs the familiar structure of mother and father), which made it tough to discuss adolescent topics. There wasn't that level of rapport where I could come to my mother and talk to her, and I had little to no knowledge about the guy who was supposedly my father. I didn't know how or where to start in the scheme of romantic relationships. I mainly observed and duplicated to the best of my ability.

Sad to say but highly accurate.

In my younger years, when anything related to pregnancy was brought up, it frightened me. My mom had gotten pregnant at a very young age. When I was growing up, it was frowned upon to have children before one got her education. It was drilled into me how important education was, so having children before I graduated from high school or college was definitely out of the question. Getting good grades, graduating, having a degree, and a career were goals, not being someone's wife or someone's mother.

The only moment I ever shifted into considering kids was when I was in a relationship of long-standing. Or if my significant other mentioned kids. Even then, it was after I'd accomplished "tasks A, B, and C".

When I entered my thirties, that's when the typical gossip starts. You know, the whole, "You're in your thirties and you aren't married yet" conversation. The whole, "You don't have any kids yet" conversation and "when are you going to give me some grandbabies" conversation. Funny enough, the people who raised me weren't the ones firing off the questions. 

I was in my mid-thirties when I tied the knot. However, because one major checkbox was still vacant, I was hesitant to begin the process. I didn't want to bring a child into a world where both parents weren't financially stable. I witnessed the struggle my grandparents went through to provide for me and wanted to do what I could to prevent a repeat. My then-husband didn't share my sentiment and said that we would figure it out when the time came. Plus, I was getting older, and it is rumored that the chances of fertility decrease with age.

At that time, I also had my own set of health issues that made pregnancy high risk, but would there ever be a "perfect" time.

Eventually, we did try but were not successful. He didn't express his disappointment in me, but he confided in other people, telling them that I wasn't fertile. I was unaware of this until one person expressed her sympathy about "our situation". I am a highly private person, and needless to say, I was pissed and hurt when it came to light.

As my marriage fell apart, I went from being sad about my supposed "infertility" (as it turned out, my reproductive system was fine) to being grateful that he and I didn't have children. I was saved from being yoked to him for life after our divorce.

I placed having children on the shelf.

When I ventured out into the dating world, I was not ready to answer the "would you be willing to have children" question. Truthfully, I wanted to actually experience dating, not be in a situation where I'd have to commit to a relationship right away. 

If I knew then what I knew now, then I would have seen the obvious red flags as it pertained to the person I dated after my ex-husband. Yet, to this guy's credit, he made me happier than I had been in a while, so to that, he served his purpose.

Although he expressed interest in wanting more children, it concerned me that he wasn't devoting as much time as he could in regards to spending time with them. On one end, he pushed to get put on child support, but this was more to do with not wanting to be in conflict with his ex than anything. No matter how much he made it seem that it would be different if with the right woman, I wasn't ready to go in that direction, much less rush toward marriage number two.

Since he made his exit, I haven't given another thought to having children. It isn't a situation where I was feeling like this guy was my last hope. I had gone through other changes. Mainly, significant changes with my health. Physical appearance. Revamped old routines and got rid of activities that weren't of benefit to me. Included enjoyable activities that became part of a new routine, along with doing deeper introspection.

Motherhood, was that really supposed to be my path?

It appears at this stage, there are other plans.

I know that having that stirring, that yearning to nurture, is innate. There's rarely, if any, a moment when it isn't there. The many women I know who are mothers felt it in their bones. They may have doubted timing, even circumstances, but not whether they really wanted children.

Through my life, I constantly questioned. It was never made mandatory in any part of my life, no matter what other changes happened. 

Even when I considered motherhood, there were other driving forces:

To solidify proof of womanhood

To prove that I could do this better than my mother

To check it off as an achievement

Because the other person wanted a child

Because it is expected when you've been with the person for a long period of time/married

Because it is expected when you get to a certain age and stage in life

I realize that if the top reason doesn't involve me wanting to, then the whole endeavor is set up for failure. Also, at this stage of my life, the cons outweigh the pros. I like my flexibility. I am pleased with the strides I've made healthwise and fitness wise, and I don't want to introduce elements that would provide a setback. Sure, I'm missing out on the extra income that would come in with having a child come income tax time, but that is small pennies to the amount of investment it takes to raise a child. Plus, I'm still old-fashioned, believing that a child has more of a fighting chance of balance and stability in a two-parent household than one.

Okay, deep dive over. Time to come up for air.

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