Yesterday was one of those days. The kind of day where I feel like the biggest failure of a mom. The kind of day where it feels like my life long dream of having children was a huge, misguided mistake. The kind of day where I’m that person that all the people who don’t want to have kids look at and think, “that is why I don’t want to have kids.”
There was a moment at In n’ Out, after about six hours on the road, when I looked up from filling my hands with tears to see an older woman looking across three tables, straight into my face. Her expression was set into a mask that I couldn’t read. At first I thought it was disgust or pity but later I wondered if it was envy I saw etched there.
I was reminded once again that in many ways the perspective my struggles have given me is a gift. In that moment I was grateful for the reminder of how desperately I wanted this and how someone might actually envy my life despite the fact that right then I was miserable.
In the car I asked Mi.Vida if we should even have another kid. Things have been so hard lately and we’ve struggled so much to make ends meet, not just financially but professionally and personally. Most of the time it feels like we’re barely getting by.
We talked a lot then about siblings and how we wanted to give one to Isa. I mentioned that the first really difficult months would hopefully be an investment in later years when they could be friends and playmates and actually make our lives better for each other and for us. I think we both worry we wouldn’t survive the initial difficulties to reap the later rewards.
As the conversation continued I mentioned that I really believe that there is ingrained in some women, a biological imperative of sorts, compelling us to procreate. It’s much more complicated and involved than a simple forgetting about how painful childbirth is or how insane sleep deprivation can make you feel. This biological imperative compels you to have children even when your rational mind knows you can’t afford it financially or emotionally. Even when you suspect it might cause the dissolution of your marriage.
Mi.Vida isn’t so sure. He thinks it might be as much about the way I tend to want things compulsively than any biological imperative. And that may be true. We both agree that any feelings I have about being pregnant and having children is so wrapped up in my mother’s losses and my own fears that it’s hard to pin point exactly what is going on. Still, I’m sure there is something primal there, something that can’t be tempered by the logic of my rational mind.
What are your thoughts of my suspected biological imperative to procreate? Do you believe some women feel an almost primal urge to have children despite a rational understanding of how hard it will be? Or is it just me?