*Note: Originally written on Monday, 5/12/08, the day after Mother's Day.
So I read other people's blogs, mostly women, and I read about their mothers and their kids and their miscarriages, the assorted tragedies of being a person on Earth at this time. And I, like most people, compare my life to what I read, not necessarily in a judgemental way, just comparing, measuring differences. Quite often, the biggest difference is motherhood. As in, I'm not a mother, and most likely never will be. I think there is a biological component. I'm fertile, as far as I know, but I'm at an age when most women have either had children, or their biological clock is booming like a Taiko drum, and mine isn't. It would probably not be easy for me to get pregnant now, there would be a high risk of Down's Syndrome and other abnormalities related to aged eggs, and yet, there is only the tiniest whisper of If you want it, it has to be soon. Mostly, there is deep ambivalence when I think about pregnancy and a child of my own. I don't want it the way most women seem to, the way one friend did, desperately trying to get pregnant even though she had serious doubts about her fiancee. Or the woman who's husband didn't want kids, so she poked holes in his condoms. To me, that speaks of a yearning I don't feel, lengths I'm unwilling to go to. I don't know what I expect, maybe a deep clutching sensation in my uterus, but it's just not there.
My mother wasn't a particularly good one, not like some mothers I read about, sacrificing for their children, making sure they're taken care of. I admire women who are that way, who want better for their kids and work hard to ensure it. I had some interesting, mind-expanding times with my mom, but generally I feel she was selfish and neglectful. She did things because she wanted to, and dragged her kids along when she had to, often leaving us behind. Which is a good way to make a child feel abandoned and unloved. I think my little brother felt it more than I did, since my early childhood was more stable than his.
I like kids, I babysat a lot when I was younger, and I enjoy being around little ones, but still, there is only the barest thought of Do I want a baby? Maybe it's a balance thing, I don't feel I have space in my life for pregnancy and kids, what with having a disabled husband and a job and aspirations of a literary nature. Or maybe I'm just pathologically lazy, kids are a lot of work and I don't want to have to deal. I do have the idea that I could be like Josephine Baker and after I'm wildly successful, adopt a huge, multicultural family of needy kids. That seems like a really cool thing to do.
I had an uncomfortable conversation with an elevator inspector once. He was asking about my family and if I had children, he had six!, and when I told him I was childless, he looked at me with pity and condecension and asserted, "Why? Children are the joy of life!" I made some flip comment like, "Not always." or something like that (I mean, were Jeffrey Dahmer and Charles Manson really the joy of their parent's lives?), when what I should have done is given him a teary, wide-eyed look, and said sadly, "I was in a horrible accident when I was young and I can't have children." Would have served the presumptuous dickhead right.