9.16.2012

Thoughts on Motherhood

Right off the bat, I will say it and I will say it clearly: I am NOT pregnant.

My thoughts on having children tend to vary.  It is not uncommon whenever I am seeing someone (again, check out my considerably more active dating blog for that info: www.36anddating.blogspot.com) I tend to start thinking of footie pajamas and pacifiers.  Yet, that isn't always the case.

Let's start back at the beginning, if you will.  I have a wonderful condition called Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, or PCOS.  What it means is that my ovaries are covered in thousands of tiny cysts, which affects the quality of my eggs being produced and it can even prevent ovulation.  There are also lots of other fun side effects, but they are mostly just annoying.  PCOS can make a woman infertile.  At the very least, it makes it more difficult for a woman with PCOS to become pregnant via completely natural means.

I've known this diagnosis since 2000 or so.  I dealt with it then, the fact that if I ever wanted to have kids I would probably end up having to go on hormone therapy or endure more invasive means such as IVF.  Ultimately, I came to a certain peace about my struggles.  Getting pregnant is not impossible for me, it is just a bit more difficult.  (My mother had PCOS, and she got pregnant 3 times without medical intervention.)  So, I'm not running around having unprotected sex during my fertile period.

Lately, my attitudes towards kids have taken a certain shift.  I'm at that age where my friends are either spawning as rapidly as salmon, or else we are discussing whether or not being in our mid-to-late 30's is really worthy of what doctors call a "geriatric pregnancy."  You know, we are facing the inevitability of that time where we will no longer be able to get pregnant, or at least carry a baby without needing more help from science than if we were in our 20's. 

What has brought this shift on?  I teach K-8 2 days a week, and in the past couple of weeks there have been moments with my students that have brought out some serious maternal inclinations in me.  There have been times where I've had students in turmoil and all I've wanted to do is scoop them up, rock them, and make the pain go away.  I have one kid in my kindergarten group who is, in my opinion, beyond cute.  And I have a herd of 1st and 2nd graders who are extremely fond of hugging me.  In my opinion, there is little that can withstand the cuteness of small children who hug and love with abandon.

But today I was handed a baby to hold.  This baby is only a month old, and she's certainly precious.  However, I have not been one of the women in our congregation to go all nuts over her, wanting to hold and babysit her at any and every opportunity.  I was reminded that I'm good with kids as she was getting fussy -- it was past her lunch time -- and yet I was able to soothe and calm her.  Then I handed her off to her mom without a single nanosecond of regret, a scintilla of desire to have one of my own.

Members of my church who saw the event asked me if I'd gotten my motherhood fix.  I said that I get it pretty regularly with my K-8 kids, but that I didn't desire to have kids of my own -- much to my mother's chagrin.  Since all of them were grandparents, they agreed easily with my stand of loving them, and then loving to give them back to their parents.

Is it a shame that a woman who is apparently good with kids doesn't want any of her own?  I don't think so.  Right now I'm seeing a guy who has a 10 year old son, and that's enough for him.  His son is a great kid, and if -- and this is a great big IF -- I end up with a more stable and consistent role in his life, I'm perfectly fine with that.  It isn't that I'm opposed to being a mom, or in this case, a step-mom.  And if I end up getting married and he wants kids, I'm open to the idea although he'll know my physical struggles. 

Motherhood isn't for everyone, and I'm glad I know that about me now instead of later, instead of finding myself pregnant or a mom and then realizing I don't want to be a mom.  Besides, there are plenty of children who need homes.  Perhaps one day, that will be the answer.

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