It intrigues me when women say they always knew that they wanted to be a mother.
I have memories from a young age of imagining what I would be like as a mom or what my kids would be like, but imagining motherhood didn’t automatically make it feel like it was one of my callings. It feels taboo to be a mother and to admit to ever having uncertainty about the decision to become one. In fact, I sometimes feel guilty that it wasn’t something I categorically knew I wanted my entire life, especially when I frequently hear women say,”I just always knew.” Part of me chalks my previous lack of certainty to my personality: I’m not one to take a decision lightly and I need to look at all the angles before jumping into something with both feet. Deeper down, I think I wavered in the past because I saw the all-encompassing love women seemed to experience the moment they became mothers and the prospect of this scared me. Now that I’m a mom, I can say this fear was warranted. The amount I love my child is in fact scary, but in a truly wonderful way.
I asked my mom if she always knew she wanted to be a mother and she first answered that she only ever felt ready to be one in her mid twenties. Then, she started to reminisce about how much she loved babies from a young age and that she would ask my grandma over and over to have another baby. One of the sweetest things she told me was that she used to search for babies in the fields of her family’s farm in Ireland. She thought they were dropped gently down from the heavens to be scooped up by their new families. After my mom remembered all of this, she looked at me and said that, yes, she, “always knew.”
One of my sisters can’t remember a time when she didn’t want to have kids. She says she “always knew” too. She told me that she never really considered what her life would be like without children, including what she now sees as the many potential positives, such as more ability to travel, disposable income, a body that felt more “her own”, and maintaining a career more easily. She told me that even though she’s acutely aware of these considerations now, she wouldn’t want to change a thing. She feels her children have given her immeasurable gifts and helped her grow both as an individual and in her partnership with her husband.
I chose to have children and am grateful I was able to conceive. Choosing to have children has definitely been a life-altering decision for me and one I look upon with great happiness. But, even though it was a life altering decision, I’m reminded of how I perceive the women I know who’ve chosen to have kids and those who’ve chosen not to. In all honesty, I tend to see more of the same threads running through our lives as opposed to different ones. For all of us, life seems to be filled with love, adventures and risks, unpredictability and excitement, and highs and lows.
What about you? Have you always known you wanted/didn’t want children? Or were you ever undecided?