I am 26. No one close to me that truly knows me asks about marriage anymore. That is something we laugh about when a person that doesn’t know me asks. Children however still come in the picture. Even those that know me better than most sometimes ask, “But what if?”
Some go further and imagine how funny it would be when one day I break the news that I am pregnant and about to become a mother. Usually I smile and humor them and think on the inside how cute it is, that they truly believe I will keep it.
Don’t get me wrong, I really don’t hate babies. I used to be terrified of them because they are so fragile, and I feared I’d hold one wrong and hurt or worse, drop them! That terror wore off with time though.
I still avoid babies as much as I can but it is not out of hate or even dislike. I pity most actually. For having been born in a world like this. I will explain.
I had a shielded and happy childhood even though it turns out we were poor (I never felt it though). It was during my teen years that I realized how much hurt was spread between people that laughed heartily in front of me, and I came to see how cruel things got behind closed doors when it wasn’t Christmas. I learnt that in my family, hurt didn’t camp outside. It had a room of its own and a plush seat right at the dining table, and it lived and flourished with my whole extended family.
Everyone was hurting and I too joined the club.
Back when I had to live with my mum and things were really bad between us, I would imagine myself a mother and fearfully wonder if I would turn out like her. Would I say half the things she said to us? Would I get tired of being a parent and wish my children away like she did too? The thought scared me so much that every time someone would say I did such and such a thing like my mom, I would go on the defensive and quickly call them liars (then I would try changing how I did that particular thing).
I have matured enough to know that while my mother’s dysfunctional nature cannot be justified or forgiven away, it can be understood and empathized with, knowing how fucked up my grandpa is to date. It shows through my uncles too. No one could have grown up with a father like him and live to become a happy normal person.
With this logic came the question I will never have the heart to ask my mother: “Why did you give birth to me?” It is probably taboo to ask a parent this, unless they abandoned you somewhere when you were a child, and yet, it is a thought that has never gone away.
I wonder if she’s asked the question herself. Do parents ask themselves why they’re giving birth, giving life? And not at a time when the deed is done and the child is a teenage mass of rebellion; but in those months before the birth of the child. Do they ask themselves what kind of life they’re giving before they give it? Do they think themselves guardians worthy of such a task?
Why do downright dysfunctional, hurt people with emotional issues they’ve never dealt with, become parents to begin with? Why, when we’re bent in half with our burdens of life, do we invite children to carry some of that load, and further expect them to grin and bear it, and thank us for giving them a life?
I’d like to think I’ll heal someday of my past. That I would make a kick ass mother and that I would never hurt my kids in any way, but I have undergone enough of my depressive cycles to know that while my hurt never goes outwards to scar people, it makes me hollow on the inside and I become numb and unavailable.
And I cannot stomach the thought of becoming another dysfunctional parent.
I’ve come to terms with the fact that I am a lot like my mother. I am glad too it’s mostly the great things about her. Yet unlike my mother, I will never become one because I am honest enough to accept that I am not fit to be a parent. And I refuse to give birth simply to gamble and see; my children will not become guinea pigs to prove things to myself or to the world.
More importantly, I have seen enough of life and this world to never wish it on anyone, especially not a child of mine.
All the joy I have felt, the pain I have been through, the genes of mine (great or shitty) that could have been passed on end with me. It all ends with me.
So I will do for my child what I wish my parents did for me. I will never give life.