Last week, I had the extreme pleasure of reading some slightly disturbing (read: horrifying) comments on an article I wrote about being sad to move past the baby stage in my life.
A sampling of some of the comments:
“Please stop having children. Anything beyond two children is just selfish and destructive to the planet as a whole, and you’re all worth more than just breeding.”
“The way you describe babies as a “delicious” weight … sounds like you have an unhealthy fetish for infants. What’s also unhealthy is that you don’t consider your heart full with the children you already have, that you need an infant to be happy. Kinda feel sorry for your other kids, sounds like you love them less as they get older. Maybe see a therapist? I think you need it.”
“Get a life. Your life can be so much more than just your spawn.”
“Wow. That’s a mental disorder of being needed. I hope she shut down shop now.”
And while my first reaction was full-on snorting and smh alongside the best of the Internet crazies, I decided to take a good, hard look at myself and the fellow crazy mothers who love babies to answer the important question … Is it possible that I could be addicted to the pregnancy and baby stage of my life?
Using the helpful guide that one reader sent me from Women’s Health, I decided to assess myself with the questions the article brought up …
Do you use your baby to get out of social situations?
Hmm, the kids were sick the night we didn’t want to go to that party? Yup, guilty of this one. Now that I’m thinking of it, why don’t I use this one more often? Genius.
Do you use your baby as a buffer in social situations?
“At a party or on the playground, a woman struggling with feelings of social anxiety or self-consciousness can hide behind the adorable infant in her arms. Any pressure to be cute or charming or funny disappears — your baby has that covered,” Women’s Health claims.
Hmm, okay, I’ll have to concede to this one as well. I do enjoy how easy it is to bond with other moms over babies and I definitely recognize that sometimes it is hard to have conversations that don’t revolve around my kids, but that happens to be the stage of life I’m in right now. Do we claim that the elderly are addicted to surgery if they talk about their joint replacements while at their weekly bingo game?
Do you enjoy the attention that pregnancy gives you?
If you count getting asked daily if I’m having twins and if I know “what causes that” or getting called names by writing articles about being pregnant, um no. Please just leave me alone.
Do you feel the constant need to breed because you feel abandoned by your own parents?
I guess in some small way, we all hope to improve upon our own upbringings, but considering I talk almost daily to my parents and live a mere 2 miles down the road from them, nope, I think I’m good.
Are you having babies to fill the otherwise horrible loneliness in your life?
On the contrary, I really don’t have a problem with being alone. Most of the activities I enjoy in life, other than parenting, are actually the ones that I can do solo —reading, writing (ahem), running, wandering through the woods Anne of Green Gables style … if anything, having kids has made me appreciate the art of enjoying time alone even more.
Do you have babies to avoid other important issues in your life, like your horrible job or miserable marriage?
Ok, confession — one time I did use a pregnancy as an excuse to leave a job that I didn’t want anyways, but I have to also say that both counts, the baby and the resulting new job, worked out pretty well. And I’m just not too sure about this point — are we trying to say that women need to have picture-perfect lives before they become mothers? Because if that’s the case, goodbye, human race.
Did you become a mother to have a purpose in the world?
Well, yes, in a way, I did. Becoming a mother was very important to me and I do feel like in addition to being a valuable contribution to, oh, I don’t know, society and ensuring the future of civilization, that motherhood has made my own life more meaningful as well. Seems like a win-win to me as most human beings in the world do wish to live with purpose, and I happen to enjoy my reason for living. But I mean, what is the alternative here? Becoming a mother against your will? I don’t get it.
In the end, no, dear readers, I don’t think I am “addicted” to being pregnant or have some sort of deep, underlying problem because I happen to love the baby stage. Any parent who has ever lamented how swift the passage of time is knows how fleeting those days are, which makes them all the more precious. In fact, I’m pretty sure loving my kids is kind of the definition of motherhood?
It seems to me like for a good number of people in the world, we can’t just accept that some women simply like having large families — that to them, having more than 2.5 kids isn’t some sort of religious duty or forced patriarchal oppression. We can’t accept that some women enjoy having a lot of little kids, so therefore, there must be something wrong with them.
And the thought has also occurred to me that maybe, just maybe, the need for complete strangers to claim I have a psychological problem because I have told the world that I love having more kids says a bit more about them than it does about me. Maybe my crazy is showing again but I suspect that some of the complete outrage and shock we express when we see mothers with more kids than we have is a teensy bit of insecurity showing. I mean, if you’re having moments of “I can’t do this” with one doesn’t it boggle your mind a bit when you see a mom of five calmly grocery shopping with all kids in tow? Maybe you’re the crazy one for judging her so much when she’s just trying to buy some bananas?
Honestly guys, having kids makes no sense, no matter what, but it’s kind of what makes the world go around. And hey — novel idea — but maybe as mothers, we all have different strengths, abilities, and desires. Maybe some moms like having babies, maybe some moms long for the teenage years, maybe some moms genuinely only want one child, maybe some mothers really do want ten kids. There are probably a million and one factors that go into the reasons why mothers feel the way they do, but then again, it’s not really up for the world to decide that for them, is it?
So moms of one, four, and fifteen — cheers to you.
Because when it comes right down to it, I’m pretty sure that we’re all crazy.
Image via j&j brusie photographyMore On