Hejira

 

 

subverting my maternal instinct

January 5. 2001

the blonde:

me

I was looking at a picture of myself from high school the other day...I miss my long dark hair, sometimes. I miss being unfat, too.

*

 

A lot of small children come to B&N whenever I'm working there. And so are their proud parents, usually pushing a large, squeaky stroller which they park in a corner of the cafe. Then their young children usually crawl around, occasionally breaking things. And no matter what, the parents always leave a huge mess - crumbs all over the table, on the floor, high chairs strewn around the cafe. I look at these mothers and fathers fawn over their children, weighed down by diaper bags, strollers and various toys, and all I think is: trap.

I was thinking about writing this entry for a while, and I am deliberately trying not to sound disrespectful to all the parents out there. But I think I've started to clarify to myself recently why I don't want to have children, so I think I'll lay it all out here.

The first thing I'm not going to claim is that I would be a horrible mother. It's funny, because I used to think that very thing for a long while, but I realized now that that's not the case. If I were to ever have a child, I would not neglect them in any way, I'd want to give them every opportunity and all the love and attention I could. Therein, I think, lies the problem.

I'm not really good at selflessness. There is so much I want to do in my life, so many places to go and things to do. And if I had a child, I would be sacrificing a lot of those things that I want to do. Not that I'm saying anything's wrong with that sacrifice, a lot of people do it, and think it's a worthwhile one. But I don't think it's one I would want to make. I know I must sound pretty selfish. I guess it disturbs me that parenthood is almost like something mandated for people, especially women, to do, and if you decide not to, you're considered self-centered and incapable.

I've always been uncomfortable with things female. I'm not a girly girl, and never have been. I never played with Barbies, and whenever we played house, I always wanted to be the dog. I prefered to wander around the house, pretending to be a horse or a tiger, identifying more with animals than with baby dolls or mothering. Maybe it's just not meant to be.

But I often wonder what kind of mother I would be. Would I feel trapped? Would I regret it? Would I think it was the best decision I ever made? Maybe I'm completely wrong, maybe someday if a little bundle joy was placed in my arms, I will instantly fall in love with him or her. Maybe I'll realize the sacrefice is worth it. Maybe I'll spend the rest of my life regretting it. It's taking such a chance, a leap of faith. Which is why it's not something I want to attempt.

And after this somewhat amorphous rant, I am only 20. I used to think I will not ever change my mind, but I know now it's at least possible that at some point I will think different. I've learned at least to never take for granted that I will change my mind, about many things.

One Year Ago:
"We kind of just sat there, having one of those nonsensical, fractured conversations that we usually do. He hugged me, and opened the door halfway, as if to go out. Then we started talking again, and he closed it. Then opened it again, and then we started talking, and closed it. But it was getting on to 5 am, so I knew he had to get going because he was leaving in about three hours for Pittsburgh."