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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

On Motherhood

This woman I know, who happens to have been a boss of mine, has made mention several times that she wishes she'd never had children. She has great girls, and she is the first to tell you how easy they have been to raise, how she doesn't help them with their homework and how they succeed at everything they try. They are going to good colleges soon, and are currently vacationing in Europe. Why anyone would say they wouldn't have had their children when obviously it worked out so well for them really bothers me. This woman has degrees up the who-ha, she is educated and cultured, and yet she continues to make mention of this desire to have not had children. It's weird. I wish I could get inside her head to find out how much of what she is saying is truth, and how much is desire for a path the rest of us didn't know she could have taken. I wonder if her husband is a very nurturing man. He must be. In my mind it's all very odd.

know another woman, girl-woman really, who continually says she wasn't supposed to have children. She has two children by different fathers, one of which she won't acknowledge except with a certain racial slur, which is odd because it is negative toward her actual child, and odder yet because the kid is not of mixed race, really. Anyhow, she says she wasn't supposed to have had kids, medically. Yet she had two, and neither of them resides primarily with her. She is one of the smartest-quick learning women I know but she picks the worst men. Really bad men. And her children's feelings, she just walls them right off from her soul. The situation is sad really, because if she always did what was best for them, it would do nothing but improve her own life. Very paradoxical.

I've worked a lot of different sorts of jobs. And at one of them, working in an assisted living facility, I liked to read the patients files. Doing this is always encouraged; it helps aids understand the people behind the dementia. You can better plug into a person and have things to talk about if you know who they are. Anyhow, my favorite lady at this place, I'll call her Daisy, was an old woman in her late 70's or early 80's. Sweetest lady ever. Polite, with good manners and used to being kindly in charge. Daisy had been a bank executive. Probably one of the first women to work her way up like that in America. She had had a fulfilling career. Never married or had children. Her job was her life. Her friends even came to visit one day and threw her a birthday party. They had all gone to Catholic school together and had stayed in the area and remained friends for the entirety of their lives, though they saw each other rarely. Not long after this, we found out that the bleeding Daisy had been having was due to advanced uterine cancer. She was dying. And she was dying with strangers and didn't really remember the friends and job and life she had lead anymore. I saw other Daisy's in my experiences as a Nurse's Aid. There are tons and tons of Daisys.

~"The grass is greener where you water it."~

When the women I know wish away their children, I remember how it felt to watch Daisy die alone. It's not something that's comfortable to explain, the relief I have in my heart, knowing that I know I won't die that way. I have daughters and a son. I am someone’s mom, and I'll be someone's grandma someday, but it explains why I shake my head when women explain why they wish they didn't or wouldn't have or don't want their children, even as they explain away the rashness of their comments.

Best wishes,
Rebecca Flys

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