It’s all worth it. It’s totally worth it. It’s definitely worth it. For the first few weeks after giving birth, it seemed like this was all I ever heard from other mothers. Usually right after I would start telling them how I was having trouble, or struggling with my new found parenthood, or showing any sort of negative and emotional weakness whatsoever. And out it would come: “IT’S WORTH IT!” Of course I knew it was worth it, but for the longest time I found myself struggling to come to terms with this particular little phrase. Mainly because the “worth it” parts were still so far off and unimaginable to me. Laughing, smiling, dancing, first steps, cheeky faces, baby talk, waving. These milestones were still months off. So in the meantime I was stuck with unending crying, sleepless nights and “what have I done with my life” type questioning. I decided that I would never try to push this type of advice on anyone, knowing just how much it had angered me in the beginning.
So I was quite surprised when recently I caught myself almost saying the exact same thing to a couple of friends who have not yet made the leap into parenthood. The first admitting to me upon reading my first couple of blog chapters that her uterus for the moment has well and truly been snapped shut, barren like the icy expanse of the Antarctic, a cold wasteland forbidden for men to tread. Ok, so I may have paraphrased that a bit, but she definitely said something about her womb being in the Antarctic. Or was it Arctic? In any case, she made it clear that babies weren’t happening anytime soon. The second stated that my posts weren’t the first she had encountered along the subject parental truth telling, and although brave of me to speak up merely strengthened her view of just how hard and difficult motherhood is, how little support we get both from society and from those closest to us, and how maybe it just isn’t for her. Both of the conversations saddened me a little. Now I know that it’s no one’s business to tell someone whether or not they should become a parent. If someone has made the decision that children are just not for them, it is no one’s place to try and tell them otherwise. And yet, hearing my friends talk about deciding they might never have children struck a small nerve within me. And suddenly I could feel the words welling up in my throat. “OH DON’T GET ME WRONG, IT’S TOTALLY WORTH IT!” I wanted to scream. Luckily I caught myself just in time.
So what was it that made me almost break my rule? I could think of a couple of explanations. Firstly, I didn’t want my friends to make such a huge life changing decision based solely on my advice. I would feel terrible thinking that someone decided to never have a baby just because they read one little blog post that suddenly turned them off the thought. My blog is only very new and I have only spoken a few times. Yes about some awful and traumatic stuff, but it’s not all like that. I felt like I had to try and explain that there are so many more good times, and that I haven’t got to the good time posts yet. However I suddenly realised that I was being incredibly conceited believing that anyone would make a life altering decision merely based on something that I wrote on the internet. And in the reverse, isn’t it the same thing if I tried to convince someone to HAVE a baby? Surely that would be just as worse.
The second explanation came in the form that it was perhaps some deep seated biological need. Propagation of the species and all that. Maybe every mother has some inbuilt mechanism to seek out the “to have a child fence sitters” and somehow convince them to turn to the dark side of the force. “You hate children and find them annoying? Oh, not your own child, you’ll LOVE them!” “You hate poo, and the sight of vomit makes you want to vomit? Don’t worry, it’s different when it’s your own child, you won’t notice it at all” ” Don’t worry, you learn to live with only 2 hours sleep a night. It’s called adapting” “I used to hate other people talking only about their children and boring stuff like housework. But now it’s ALL I know!” Seriously, get away from us you she-devils. Back to the (ball) pit with you!
Regardless of the explanation, I’m still not sure why I felt the need to say it. In the end whether my friends want to have children is up to them and their partners to decide. I suppose the question they need to ask themselves is, is it worth it?