Bellies and babies everywhere

bellies and babies

It’s one of those seasons where it seems like everyone I know is pregnant. Pregnant friends can be really upsetting for women who want to be pregnant themselves, but I do not, so it’s a happy time for me.

I love asking about the pregnancy, names, due dates, birth plans. I love holding a little tiny foot and marveling at the baby sounds.

I ask my pregnant friends about their pregnancies and impending motherhood with genuine interest, but not the relevant interest of someone soon to follow suit.

In high school, for my senior project, I interviewed someone in a career I was interested in. I feel the same way when I ask my friends about their pregnancies, as someone who expects to one day be in their shoes, but only after many years and much more training.

While I watch bellies grow and new parents tote their sleeping infants, I keep waiting for that maternal desire to kick in. But it hasn’t.

When I try to explain my feelings, none of them are original. I don’t feel ready. I’m not really a “kid” person. I want to                     first. 

The fill in the blank for things I want to do before kids changes, but always assumes that the chance to do things I want to do is over when I have a baby. Now that I think about it, my view of having a baby is similar to the average 20 year old man.

If there’s been anything predictable about my twenties, it’s that things will change. I’ve held to the same principles but changed my mind about almost everything else.

The same will probably happen with kids. Gradually or suddenly, over a year or all at once, I will turn into someone who wants a baby.

I will stop seeing a baby as the end to life as I know it, and view it instead as the beginning of something so much better.

I will finally accept that I will never be ready, and that the on the job training will be worth it.

I will stop thinking, “what if it’s not?” when people say, “it’s different with your own kids.”

But for now, I want to be where I am, to rejoice with friends bringing new life to the world and to weep with those heavy with desire, waiting for their time.

As Brene Brown writes in Daring Greatly, “Society views womanhood and motherhood as inextricably bound; therefore our value as women is often determined by where we are in relation to our roles as mothers or potential mothers.”

I am not immune to societal pressure and I am keenly aware of the connection between womanhood and motherhood. But somehow, I’ve been able to enjoy being where I am (for once) without second guessing myself, without wondering if my lack of interest in motherhood means there’s something “wrong” with me.

I’ve found that usually if I feel a certain way, other people do, too. It’s not always easy to put into words and offer it up, where it may well be rejected or ignored. But it’s worth it if someone gets that precious relief that comes with a shared experience.

Women who don’t want babies, or don’t have them yet: I’m with you. You’re not less of a woman. I say to you as I say to myself, let’s not miss the season we’re in. Let’s not miss the opportunities and experiences ripe for picking now.

Question: Anyone feel the same way? Any other thoughts on the topic?

Photo Credit: gabi_menashe via Compfight cc

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4 thoughts on “Bellies and babies everywhere

  1. I feel the same way now at age 40…I always assumed I would have children, but the desire and the circumstances never aligned. Now, I’m remarried and feel as if I have this momentous decision to make. Oddly, I feel selfish even entertaining the notion that I may not want a child after all.

    1. I wonder where the feeling of being selfish is coming from. That’s interesting. It’s definitely still counter cultural to choose not to have children. I hope you come to a conclusion you feel peaceful about for yourself and your husband!

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