When I was pregnant and finally told people (or let my mother tell people), I got the most amazing phone calls. My mom told her sister and I swear within minutes, I got calls from both her sons, my first cousins, telling me that this would be the most amazing journey of my life and the best thing I could do.
When I started to tell my friends, they were uniformly supportive. One friend called her brother who called me and said that of all the people he knew, he knew I would thrive at this because I took such good care of them all in college. (I was the one who routinely held someone’s hair out of the toilet after s/he drank too much.)
So why did I want to have a child? What was that yearning that told me to push forward partnerless?
I wanted to re-experience the world–to see it again through a child’s eyes. I wanted to help develop a new human, someone who would be able to improve the world. I wanted to undo the damage my parents had done. To build a better person, not take one down. This was a big issue for me. It took me a while to learn to undo the oppression and anger my parents raised me with. I often think that it took me so long to get pregnant because I needed to learn to undo their parenting style. I needed to learn my own self-worth before I could impart self-worth onto a child.
There are the cliché answers—clichés because they’re so true. I had so much love to give and wanted a child to give it to. I was the teenage babysitter who would start out sitting one kid and soon have a backyard full of them as parents would hear I was there and drop off their kids with me. Even saying I wanted to view the world through a child’s eyes is cliché, but oh-so-true.
The desire to be a mom is hard to articulate. It’s like trying to explain sniffing a newborn’s head and feeling that primal urge in your underbelly (as an aside, I knew I was one and done when I could smell that new baby scent and not feel that urge). The desire to be a mom was always within me. And my son is one of my greatest accomplishments. I’m amazed at how much of him is innate, and pleased with the things I’ve been able to influence.