Mother’s Day: Making This Choice
“Mommy,” Sophia said to me a few months ago. “When I grow up, I want to be a mommy. But I also want to be a teacher.”
“Well, the good news is, you can be both,” I told her. “Geri is a mommy and your teacher; Karin is a mommy and was your teacher last year. Grandma Barbara was a teacher and she’s my mommy.”
Growing up, I always “knew” I wanted to be a mother. But how? Was it because “society” told me so? Or was it something innate in me, as clear as the color of my eyes? Or was it because I couldn’t imagine what else I would do?
When I was 33 and trying to get pregnant, I remember “that feeling” of disappointment each month I wasn’t. Feeling that “the whole world around me” was getting pregnant except me. The truth is, it only took us a few months to get pregnant”; but the wait felt eternal, and perpetuated the anxiety of “what if I just can’t get pregnant”.
These topics are discussed more openly today than they once were. Whether it be concerns about fertility; or questioning “do I want a baby or not”; will I have one “on my own”?; should I “freeze my eggs”; what about adoption?
For better or worse, we now live in a society of “me”. Self-help gurus, life coaches, countless resources on self-discovery, meditation and listening to your internal voice allow us to explore more openly and authentically what we truly want. Due to this new reality and a deeper acceptance and understanding of different lifestyles, many of us delay parenthood. Or question it altogether. And as we have better diets, stronger fitness regiments, and there have been advances in self-care, many of us feel younger and may even look younger than we are. #40isthenew30; #50isthenew40, etc, etc. But biology is not fooled; there is a time when -despite how you may feel and look- the window of opportunity- no matter all the advances in science starts to close.
You must make a choice.
And recognize that NOT making a choice IS a choice.
As we head towards Mother’s Day weekend, I know I made the right choice. I truly am grateful beyond words for my happy, healthy-yet-sassy-six-going-on-sixteen year old daughter. While I do subscribe to feeling #40isthenew30 and in ways to feel more youthful than a decade ago, when it comes to our children it’s the reverse and I can already see Sophia at times a decade out. Particularly last week, when we went through her entire closet before school two mornings in a row because every dress was either “too fancy”, “too short”, “too baggy”, “too uncomfortable” and sometimes all four at the same time.
Parenthood is absolutely the biggest emotional rollercoaster that I have ever been on and one that certainly does not get easier with practice. The only part of parenting that is a guarantee is the fact that nothing is a guarantee. Six years in, I have finally learned that once I’ve “figured it out” something will change.
Mother’s Day is not a happy day for all, particularly for those who have lost theirs or for those who have made a choice to want motherhood but have yet to experience it. I want to acknowledge this and, at the same time, acknowledge all the amazing mothers I know.
Especially my own.
Happy Mother's Day to all.