Thursday, April 20, 2006
Maternity-and-What-Not
I've come to the realization, or perhaps moreso the acceptance, that I am not a naturally maternal person. I'm a far cry from the soft spoken, kissy-faced woman who always seems to know just how to hold a wriggling infant or soothe a crying child. If I'm being completely honest, babies (aside from adorable ones who smile at me from diaper advertisements or email attachments from friends) don't interest me all that much, certainly not enough for me to feel the urge to hold one that isn't my own.

At my husbands basketball game recently I nervously watched as a teammate of his made her way to the bleachers with her one year old, looking for someone to hold and play with her during the game. I quickly set my eyes downward and started rifiling through my purse and praying, please, don't give her to me.

It's not that I dislike children, but aside from my son and my nephew, I tend to feel either indifferent or awkward around little ones. I thought this earlier in the week as we sat in the waiting room of my OB with an antsy little Bossman. A slight woman with slender fingers resting on her very pregnant stomach smiled and cooed at my son from across the room. A gentle, maternal woman.

I would've kept my nose in a magazine, only looking up if the toddler had accidentally brushed against my leg.

Later, lying on the doctor's table I had another non-maternal thought as he rubbed a doppler over my gel slathered skin. We heard, again, the rapid flickering beat of the life growing inside me. And my reaction after the inital relief was, Creepy. There are two lives on this table.

I was happy and smiled just the same, but the reaction stuck with me through the night. I think it's justified. There are feet the size of my fingernails walking around inside my body. It is creepy.

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10 Comments:

Blogger LJ said...

That was BRAVE. That was a damn brave entry. It is SO taboo to say all this stuff. And it is SO true for a lot of women. I have friends who felt exactly like that, who are really good mothers but never felt it was their major talent in life.
My hat is off, Mella! Truly. What a fabulous, honest piece of writing.

Blogger Darkmind said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Blogger Skye said...

I'm the opposite, Mella. I love kids, gravitate toward them. Kids love me, and I'm in my element around them... and yet, I don't enjoy being a mother. I'd rather be like you.

Blogger Mella said...

LJ Why thank you. It's something I've been thinking of for a while now. Especially since becoming a mother, and having the general population of the world assume that because I've had my own child, I must love being around all children - which simply isn't true. I'll take mine, and mine alone, thank you very much. (But that's only because so far they've proven to be the best. Ha.)

darkmind Interesting - my husband has a very similar affect on little ones, but I've always assumed that's because he's still part-child himself.

Skye That's so interesting to me - I hadn't even thought of what it would be like to be on the flipside. Any ideas why this is the case for you? Just curious.

Blogger JunieRose2005 said...

Mella,

Well, I DO love kids. Think most kids are wonderful and a treasure!

....however- I resent it when parents...(sometimes of kids not even CLOSE relatives)...insist that their kids give me sloppy kisses!

Also- I don't think it's doing the kids any good to think it's the right thing to do to pass out kisses to everyone!

Gosh, hope I'm not gonna be considered as a grumpy old granny now!

Junie

Blogger Skye said...

Mella, I've been pondering that very question today, and I'm really not sure. The only idea I can come up with is that I'm burned out, as I think I used to enjoy motherhood back when I only had one child.

Oh! You know what? I think I've just figured it out. When I only had one child, I was able to keep him happy pretty much all the time. Same with babysitting, playing with someone else's kid, etc. But once I had two and then three children, there was no way to keep them all happy, and it's now a continual juggling game for me, trying to keep each of them happy at least SOME of the time. That's when the enjoyment went out of it.

Maybe if I could give up on the idea that it's my job to keep everybody happy, I'd be able to enjoy motherhood again. Thanks for making me think about it.

And Junie, I'm sending all three kids over to your house RIGHT NOW, with their drooly, chocolate-smeared lips, to give you big wet kisses!! ;)

Blogger Teri said...

I felt that way before I had Tessa. I still don't have a ton of affection for older children...

Blogger JunieRose2005 said...

LOL, Skye.

You have lovely kids,judging by pictures I've seen!

Actually tho, I was thinking of little toddlers that new parents often think everyone should want to kiss!

Mind you, I DO love babies - I do, really! :) I just don't always like wet kisses from other peoples' babies!

Oh my!! I'm getting in deeper and deeper-and on Mella's blog too! :)
Sorry!

Junie

Blogger Weird said...

Tolerance and the appearance of maternal talent are not necessarily love, in fact I've found that intolerance is often much more useful and respected by children. Cooing, kissy people are often just looking for attention from whoever will give it. Harsh huh?

I think you are right on track.

Weird

Blogger Chris said...

Prior to the birth of my first child (even up to the very day) the thought of having a child around...constantly... was abhorent to me. I used to despise children, and swore that I would never have any.

Immediately after her birth, however, I never wanted to live another day without them. My own children, that is. I still despised other people's children.

And then I met my ex-fiance...and her newborn son... and when the relationship finally dissolved some 4 years later, I found that he was the only one I really missed having around.

Odd...

However, in reference to this post, there is absolutely nothing wrong with being a mother AND disliking children. And there is certainly nothing wrong with being a mother and NOT being a chubby, cooing, doting woman. We each show our affections in our own way, and it's quite apparent from previous posts (and pictures) here that your child (and soon to be children) is/are well loved.

Relax. Enjoy the moments.

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