A customer said something to me Saturday night that touched my heart. She said, “All women are mothers even if they don’t have children of their own.”
Most women have motherly instincts even if they don’t give birth to a child or adopt one. Teachers think of their students as their children, aunts think of their nieces and nephews as their children, pet owners think of their pets as their children, a woman can think of a younger friend as her child, and so on. A mother’s love is in our hearts, and we spread it to the people and pets in our lives. Mother’s Day isn’t just for the women who gave birth to a child, but for all women who have give motherly love to others.
When I was with my ex-boyfriend, he kept telling me how much he wanted to have a child with me. I had my doubts and said no. I was very sick and knew at that time I wasn’t capable of having a child. I figured I’d have a child one day when I was well. I dreamed of being a mom and holding my newborn child in my arms, but I feared I would pass my mental illness on to my child. I wasn’t sure I could watch my own child go through what I was going through. He pressed on and I stuck to no. He was abusive and not the kind of man I wanted to raise a child with.
After he kicked me out, I knew I had made the right choice, but I dreamed of motherhood. What name would I give my child if a girl or boy? What kind of mother would I be? How would I look as a pregnant woman? How many children would I have if I found the right man? I figured I would find a wonderful man who would help me build a beautiful family, but my mental illness shattered that dream.
I discussed my desire to have children with my therapist. We talked about how hard it would be for me to be off my antidepressants while being pregnant. There was a big possibility I would spend nine months in and out of a mental health hospital. Then there might be postpartum depression. With major depression, Borderline Personality Disorder, and anxiety, postpartum depression would be even harder on me. I didn’t want to be the mother who harmed her child or spent her child’s first years in a hospital. I couldn’t do that to a child.
Children are a lot of work and raising them is stressful. I don’t handle stress well. When I get stressed out, I have anxiety attacks and I fall apart. I don’t work a full-time job because I can’t handle forty hours of stress. There are no hours for parenting. I can’t just leave for hours at a time to relax and be by myself. After six hours of a hard day at work I can go home, put my feet up, watch a movie, snuggle with my husband, and be free of works problems. As a mom, home is your workplace and there is no leaving when things get rough. I would be constantly sick and falling apart because of the stress. I would probably end up spending a lot of time in a mental health hospital because the stress was too much for me to handle.
Then there is the worrying. I worry obsessively about small stuff. My worries overtake me, and they get blown out of portion. I would worry excessively about a child. My child wouldn’t have been able to go to school, a friend’s house, or to an activity without me worrying myself sick. My child probably would grow up to hate me because I wouldn’t let my child do much because I worried too much. I wouldn’t be able to eat or sleep because my worries would drive me crazy. I would be sick all the time from anxiety attacks.
These reasons and some other are what convinced me that I wasn’t meant to have a child. I mourned at first for my lost dream of motherhood. Accepting it wasn’t easy at first, but I knew it was the right decision. I cried over it.
When I met Lou, I told him I wouldn’t be able to give him a child. He said, “I don’t need children. I just need you.”
I love the marriage Lou and I have. I have had four dogs who were and are my babies. Our current dog, Esther, is my baby girl. I love her dearly and do my best to take really good care of her. I also have six nieces and five nephews whom I adore greatly and love endlessly. I have two great nieces, a great nephew, and a great nephew on the way that I also love endlessly. I also have nieces and nephews I have adopted into my heart whom I adore.
I don’t have any children I gave birth to, but I have lots of children, including fur babies. Like my customer said, “All women are mothers even if they don’t have children of their own.” I never gave birth to a child, but I have lots of children. My husband and mom give me a Mother’s Day card each year. I celebrate just like any other mother. Mother’s Day is for all women who have given love to a child or a pet. It’s for all women whose hearts are big, and love is endless.
Loving all my nieces, nephews, my past dogs, and my current dog spreads the light of recovery within my soul.
Happy belated Mother’s Day.