There’s a billion reasons not to have children and only one good reason to: LOVE. I’m not talking Hollywood love, but the real deal. The love that makes women lift cars, take bullets, fight evil grown men, and single-handedly become supernaturally empathetic when it comes to their kids. The LOVE with all caps that leaves you physically and emotionally broken, and you don’t even mind.
When my oldest was a baby I had a discussion at my parent’s home about why anyone in this world would have children when there’re so many more reasons not to? Fact is this world is a mess. There’s murder, rape, war, diseases, natural disasters, nuclear weapons, power stations that explode, and Pokemon (I just don’t GET them). Who are we to decide that someone else has to suffer through idiocy of mankind?
And then there’s the fact that children are exhausting. They cost money, nerves, and probably a few of my own years of life. Mostly what you get in return is sleepless nights and dirty diapers. Later in life it’s going to be temper tantrums, ruined furniture, clothes, carpets, etc. And puberty. Oh the glorious puberty when your kid HATES you just for being alive. Then, when your kid is a grown up and (hopefully) finally appreciates what you did for him/her, they move away and begins a life of their own. Shiny!
But generally speaking: Is having kids egoistic? You want to have a kid because you can care for them, and have someone to love and invest in like an expensive insurance. And when you’re old (and lucky) your kid returns the favor. You feed them, raise them, entertain and teach them. You obviously have a certain idea or vision about how your life will be with a baby. You’re hoping for something to happen that makes your life better, right? But what’s in it for you besides having stress and work and the imminent danger of private insolvency? Come on, let’s face it, the logical necessity of producing kids is pretty much nonexistent. Except maybe in case you want a kid because the poor little dude can help you work on the farm.
This is where only a mother can speak up. How do you explain the love you feel for your child? How do express the impact they make on your life? It’s impossible. I’ve tried to put it in words but, damn, that’s hard.
I have constant butterflies in my stomach when I look, just look at my children. When they were small the only thing I wanted was a few minutes for myself, but as soon as my wish was granted I wanted to be with them again! It’s a never-ending struggle between being a 24/7 mommy and staying myself.
My heart constantly explodes with pride and melancholy because I feel like it is going way too fast. They used to be my babies but I have no control whatsoever. Not when it comes to their personalities, their thoughts, or feelings. All I can do is help them find their own way. There’s no crossing path, just a constant parallel observation that the older they get the more distance they create. Sure, I still cloth them, cuddle them, and kiss them. I answer their questions (thank God for Google), and make them see they can make their own opinions. But that’s it. My kids aren’t Play-Doh. I can try to shape them, but they’re rebels. I make fairies, and then they turn into dinosaurs before I’ve turned my back.
I constantly ask myself if I am I doing it right. What if I’m doing it wrong? What if I fail miserably? How can I even think about enjoying motherhood when their future is so unclear? I’m not even sure they (or I) will live through next week! I could get hit by a car and they’d grow up motherless. What if they get a disease, and the only thing my sacrificial motherhood brings is pain and a too early death? These thoughts are so damn painful I usually just put them in the back of my mind. But I DO have them, and I can’t turn them off.
And that’s what motherhood feels like. It doesn’t complete you and it can’t fix you. The truth is, having kids is a profound change in your life, and it will rip you apart and put the parts back together, no more and no less. It is a painful and rather annoying process that will last for the rest of your life. My only hope is that it gets easier, which I’m sure it won’t. But I can still hope, right?
So no, having kids hasn’t anything to do with egoism. Indeed, it’d be very egoistic not to enjoy this kind of love. The relationship between a mother and her children is a constant giving and taking. You can expect everything of your kids and you’ll surely go through every kind of emotion there is; regret, jealousy, frustration, anger, pain, and love. So much love that no matter how weary or devastated you are, they give you one smile and it’s all worth it!