Monday, April 18, 2011

On Motherhood

I recently discovered two awesome blogs - It's Time to Get Over How Fragile You Are and Chronic Babe. Both have inspired me to open up a bit more about life with a congenital heart defect. A regular feature on Chronic Babe is the Blog Carnival - a theme blog roundup link party of sorts. I missed the official carnival of the previous topic, Parenting with a Chronic Illness, but I'd like to touch on it nonetheless. I thought about starting with an easier topic, but honestly, there isn't one closer to my mind frame at this point in my life then motherhood.

Before I dive head first I do feel it is necessary to say I have strong opinions and this is my website and my blog that I paid for. Be respectful if you feel the need to voice an opposing view.

When I was a child my only one true goal in life was to be a mom. I loved playing mommy - with my toys, with my friends, with my pets, I am a natural born mother-type. I love children and I took it upon myself from toddler-hood onward to take care of all of the children who came into my life. Luckily, for whatever reason, my first cardiologist recognized this Mommy head space I was and told me from an early age that I would more than likely have to adopt because my heart would not be able to handle having a baby on my own.
Fortunate for me as well, my first preschool was run out of a home of a woman who not only adopted her children but took in foster kids as well so I had very early exposure to the first hand experience of adoption.

As I grew older and into my teens, however, the idea of having my own children got stuck in my head and childbirth was - for whatever insane reason - attractive to me. I was incredibly depressed that I couldn't, or rather shouldn't, have my own and when circumstances I'm not obliged to go into put me in a situation where I had to advise a young friend of mine to terminate a very doomed pregnancy it damn near broke my heart.

I tried to compensate it by working with children. I was a nanny, a day care provider and after school worker. I pitched in at an elementary school library and majored in child development. All that gave me was a severe beating to my immune system and a deep hatred for parents wrought with entitlement issues.

My favorite mom/baby pair. credit

As I matured I realized I needed to face harsh realities though. Children, babies in particular, require energy I do not think I possess. I came to the conclusion that the health of any potential offspring is not something I want to risk along with my own personal health. The risks are too great and it is my personal opinion that it is irresponsible to pass on poisonous genes like mine. So I grew back into the idea of adoption and became very comfortable with my decision. So much so that I'm now kind of an anti-procreation-let's-take-care-of-the-unwanted-abandoned-kids-before-adding-more-to-the-world warrior (but don't worry, I'm a total hypocrite and I'll be the first to gush over a girl once she tells me she is expecting). I found out I LOVE teens and preteens (My inner child is perpetually 12.5) and adoption is back on the TO DO list. As is a tubal litigation.

However, now that I am at that PRIMO BABY MAKING AGE my biological clock is not only ticking, it's screaming it's fucking head off in my ear 24/7 telling me to make with the procreation and keep my pathetic genetics in the pool. I have to remind myself daily - DAILY - that it is perfectly normal, strictly biological for me to be going through this. Many women do. I envy those that don't have this shrieking throw-back to primitive mating rituals 101 knocking at their brain every hour of the day, and I admire those women who brave the stigma of having a child-free life. I tip my hat to you.

I want children. I want them badly. I want a house filled with homework, Spongebob Squarepants, muffled teenage giggles, Judy Blume books and impatient voices shouting, "MOM! When's dinner? I'm starving!"
I don't care where they come from - India, USA, Russia, South America, China - I don't care their ages. I love them all and if they need a mom, I'm happy to apply for the position. Will I ever get to? Will I have the opportunity? Will I find a partner who wants the same things out of life and will put in the extra effort when my illness gets in the way? Will I be mercilessly judged and rejected based on my heart health alone? These are my worries, my questions that do not yet have answers.

It gives me joy and pain to see my friends have children, to have those random five second conversations with a child as they quickly breeze in and out of my life, to see mothers with babies tightly swaddled to their chest as they browse at the Farmer's Market.

I often daydream about the type of mother I will be...I know myself well enough now. I would be the kind of mom...

...who checks in on her kids at night to make sure they're sleeping peacefully.
...who wants her home to be ground zero for the friends to hang out and feel they have a second home at.
...who can become a hardass and take a screaming teenager when their privileges are revoked for poor grades.
...who reads to her children every night, from simple Bernstein Bears to Katherine Paterson and Meg Cabot.
...who has a panic attack for every minute past curfew that her child is not safely home.

Motherhood is something I always wanted and still want. Is it in my future? Not immediately, but I certainly hope it's on its way.


QUESTION: How do you feel about becoming a parent?

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