• Megan Maley

To the woman who didn't want kids...

Updated: Dec 20, 2018


Photo by Leon Biss on Unsplash

I'm SURE this is a controversial blog title. But relax... I'm speaking to my former self. Because that's the truth... if I'm being perfectly honest with myself... kids were always a "someday" ambition... but as I got older... it became glaringly apparent that someday was never going to be today. I have made NO SECRET of the fact that I'm pretty career-minded... I'm a creator at heart and constantly have new projects and hobbies... and I love me some "me time". More than that... my list of stuff I needed to get accomplished before becoming a mom seemed to grow and grow and I was too busy being "career-minded" to cross things off my list.


I was on a perpetual voyage to figure out my why in life and it never ever occurred to me that God might throw an infant into the mix. I firmly believed that everything in my plan was in MY control and would happen on MY terms.


And the further down the rabbit hole of MY life I got, the more evident it became that I wasn't making room or time for starting a family. My husband even commented from time to time "you don't want kids." I would argue that I did. Just not right now. But deep down I knew that the longer I pushed it off, the further away that life got. Ultimately, I was a woman who just didn't want kids. Plain and simple..


Here's a short list of things (and this is BY NO MEANS comprehensive) of all the things about kids I wasn't interested in:

-Pregnancy

-Childbirth

-Breastfeeding

-Motherhood

-Taking a back seat to my own life

-Never getting to pee without an audience

-Not having the luxury of doing what I wanted when I wanted to do it

-Postpartum Depression

-The cost of childcare

-Balancing a career and motherhood

-Giving up my hobbies

-Forgoing cute clothes for fear of spit up

-Not having time to play in my makeup

-A backseat full of carseats


You get the point, I'm sure. The woman I was (and let's be real... I had spent 32 years figuring out exactly who she was and exactly what she preferred and honing her into a productive, efficient, highly-organized human being) did not want kids.


I'll skip the details here... but in a nutshell, we got knocked up... on accident. (Side note: if I had a nickel for every person who asked "Well don't you know what causes that?..." I'd have at least like 5 or 6 nickels.)


Fast forward through maybe the most uncomfortable (uh, miserable) 9 months of my life... and something ABSOLUTELY INSANE happened... I became a mother and simultaneously in an instant (and complete and total shock and awe)...I became a different woman.


I explicitly remember the moments leading up to my delivery and telling my husband "I'm not interested in this..." To which he replied, "delivery?" And I said, "No.... motherhood."


Twenty minutes later... (give or take... I was super high...) my sweet little boy was placed on my chest. And something changed. I *literally* became a different woman. Scouts' honor. Not physically, of course... but chemically. Something in my brain actually 100% God's honest truth changed. This tiny human who, up to this point, had been a kicking nuisance and the reason I couldn't eat a full meal without feeling sick, was the absolute only thing in the universe that mattered. In an absolute instant... I was rendered to a puddle of sobs and I knew that I would give my last breath for this child to keep him safe. Just like that.


I'm not kidding. An actual chemical change occurred.


Here are some sciencey-type things to back up my claim of having a chemically-different brain:


-Actual scientists say that babies alter mama's DNA for decades after birth

-Pregnancy causes actual changes in a woman's brain

-Stuff that happens to your brain when you become a mother


Here are some not-so-sciency but super relevant (in m opinion) things that are like 1000% evidence that my brain is different:


-Pre-baby, I hated the color red. HATED. I mean, this was a thing people knew about me. I was like a fiesty bull in a bull fight... angered by the sight of it. Now, I love red. I think it's so flattering and wonderful and I actually OWN red things now! UNHEARD OF.

-I randomly only enjoy dark beers now. And red wine is like not appealing to me at all (it used to be my ONLY jam/drink of choice).

-I prefer peanut butter cookies over chocolate chip cookies (this alone is enough to convince me. Pre-baby, chocolate chip cookies were my fave desert. I could literally skip eating cookies altogether if you didn't show up with chocolate chip.)

-My brain doesn't cooperate for hard tasks anymore. I used to be able to think of the exact right word when nobody else could think of it... or remember obscure details and the exact date/time/dollar amount of every transaction from the prior week or month or pay period... and I had a vocabulary that would impress a high school English teacher. Not so now. I find myself with a kind of a fog and a second train of thought going most of the time and it has seriously impeded my once sharp and witty abilities. Sad, but true. I think this is actually referred to as #MomBrain.

-Finally, I freaking decorated my house for Christmas this year. THIS NEVER HAPPENS. While I do love a Christmas tree, the tchotchke that is Christmas decorating kind of stressed me out and made my inner-minimalist want to hide in a corner and look at black and white photos. BUT NOW... I have a tree (with mismatched ornaments! 2 garlands, 2 wreaths (complete with red bows!) a pot of RED poinisettias, 2 metallic reindeers and a slew of pine and Christmas cookie-scented candles. My living room looks like Buddy the Elf wearing a Beverly Goldberg Christmas sweater and I freaking love it.


There is a point to all this...And it begins here:


To the woman who didn't want kids... Thank you for your contribution to this life up to now. You laid the foundation for what I now love and cherish. I want you to know that life with an infant is wonderful. And that everything you ever searched for to fill your soul and life purpose and figure out what you were put on this Earth to contribute... that we have found it. I found it. You searched for 32 years and then I stepped in last-minute and found it and stole all your thunder. And for that I am sorry.


To the woman who didn't want kids... you assumed your body would be destroyed by growing a human inside of you... and that life would simply be over if your stomach was not flat and your breasts were not perky. Unfortunately, you will never know the love I have for this body that you took for granted. This body created a life. And I am so proud of that. When I look in the mirror now at this body that was never good enough for you and that you constantly berated... all I see is beauty. For sure, this body is different. But this womb gave life. These breasts gave sustenance and immunity and nourishment. These arms have held a crying child countless times and these lips, which are surrounded by tiny lines (which once made you so self-conscious)... these lips have kissed tears and sang lullabys and told stories to the most adoring of audiences. This body is the protector of that which I cherish most. And I'm so sorry you will never knew this level of self-awareness and self-love. It's life-giving.


To the woman who didn't want kids... I'd love to tell you all these things... but you're gone. We were like two ships passing in the night. I'd love to tell you that you DO give up your time and your personal space and your hobbies (to some extent) to care for a child... but that everything you give up pales in comparison to the joy you experience watching your little human crawl for the first time... try peanut butter cookies for the first time (which, by the way, YES.)... and fight you to feed himself with his spoon. The annoyance of tiny hands reaching for you constantly IS NOTHING compared to how bad you miss your little guy the first time he sleeps all night in his crib by himself... or the first time you drop him off at daycare and then have to go on to the office pretending you are ready to go back to work but ALL YOU WANT TO DO is stay home and snuggle your baby.


You see, you didn't know me. YOU may not have wanted motherhood.. but I can't get enough of this. YOU thought you knew how life would be with a child... but you had no idea. YOU thought... I've been around enough kids to know how much I'm going to stress and cry and hate how much things have changed... but you didn't know yourself as a mother. You had no idea how you would change.


To the woman who didn't want kids... who envisioned her future self and simply couldn't see herself raising a baby or a family... how silly it was for you to speak on behalf of a woman you had not met. Because when you become a mother, you become a different woman. The woman who lived in this body before me is somewhere else. Not here. There is a new woman here.


The artist Sarah Walker was quoted by the author in this article as stating: "becoming a mother is like discovering the existence of a strange new room in the house where you already live."


So is it possible that the woman who once occupied this space is somewhere lost in a room in this house I live in? Only time will tell. I'd like to think my former self is lounging by a pool in some sunshine right now, sipping a chilled white zinfandel and loving the shit out of some lip gloss and fancy sunglasses, just doing her own thing. Maybe reading a Cosmo or something I no longer have time for. In the meantime, I'm gonna snuggle the buh-jeebus out of my little guy and eat peanut butter cookies without abandon.


Until next time, be well, friends!

-M

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