So, I read this other, better-known blog, Jonniker, which I presume is written by somebody named Jonna. This week Jonna announced that she is pregnant with her second child. Which honestly I saw coming a mile-and-a-half away, which is why it would be hard to have a well-known blog and try to keep a pregnancy a secret. Yet another reason to toil in relative obscurity.
NOT THAT I have a pregnancy secret to keep or anything. I think it goes without saying that I'm not having another kid. I don't always think I'm doing that great of a job with the one I have.
Which is a segue to what I want to talk about today. See, during the pregnancy announcement post, Jonna said, "The only thing I do know is that I love being a mom more than anything I’ve ever done, ever."
I'm not sure that's something I know to be true for myself.
Now, whenever somebody writes an "I'm ambivalent about motherhood" post like this, she always has to stop and acknowledge that, of course, she loves her child(ren) more than anything in the world. And so let me say, I love Nathan more than anything in the world. Having Nathan has introduced me to a love I never experienced before. And like most mothers, the all-consuming fear of danger to my child keeps me up at night sometimes. He is a gigantically huge part of my world, and I wouldn't have it any other way.
But. Do I love being a mom more than anything I've ever done? It's hard to draw comparisons between motherhood and other endeavors. Like, when I ask if motherhood is the best thing I've ever done, am I comparing motherhood to my various unfulfilling careers? Obviously I love my child more than I love, say, editing math textbooks, but it also doesn't seem like a fair comparison. Editing math textbooks was a job, the kind of thing that you do for 8 hours a day and get paid for it. Being a mother is a 24/7, unrelenting emotional endeavor.
Which makes it exhausting. Which makes me wonder if I love it more than anything I've ever done. Part of me keeps coming back to the idea that if I loved this so much, I'd be making more children.
But the thing is, I think I could have 10 children and question whether or not motherhood was the best thing I'd ever done. That is, if I had time to think about these things while raising my 10 children. Well, I probably would actually, because I'd have a lot of time to think in the asylum.
So although I'd like to think that most of my posts are well-reasoned and thought-out, this time I'm left without a reasonable answer. Is motherhood the best thing I've ever done? On the one hand I have a child who I couldn't imagine life without, and a lifestyle I enjoy more than my pre-kid lifestyle. On the other hand, I have a 24/7 all-consuming emotional responsibility that I usually feel like a failure at.
Is motherhood the best thing I've ever done? I have no answer. It's not something I would un-do, but it's also not something I would necessarily want to do over again, either.
I have no answer. I think having a child is something that you can't explain to anybody, and that goes for both the good and the bad.
I would like to end this complete downer of a post with some happy news about some people I know who are pregnant. Did you know both of my brothers' wives are pregnant with their first? I am so excited for nieces and/or nephews. I'm calling it right now: both boys. This is largely due to the fact that, in the history of the world, I have never known a single person who has had a girl. (Okay, slight exaggeration: there's my mom.) Anyway, I think we find out the sex of Baby #1 in the very near future, and the parents of Baby #2 want to wait and be surprised at the birth. I'm not gonna lie, I would like nieces. I always pictured myself having two girls (hahahaha), and now I have one boy who I wouldn't trade for any girl in the world. BUT, in the spoiling aunt role, it would be fun to have a niece. Have you seen those puffy little tutu-like skirts they are selling everywhere for girls? The ones you put over the little leggings? (And I do have one niece on Bill's side, but she's a little past tutu age.)
Anyway, so I'm excited for my sisters-in-law. And should they one day find themselves ambivalent about motherhood, I hope they know they can always come to me to talk.