Back when I was a kid, teenager and college girl, I noted that I did not want to have children. I didn’t want to fall in to that “trap” and be one of “those” women. I mean, I hated how at such a young age I was repeatedly told I had to learn to cook for a husband and that I would have to have children and cook for them as well. At young ages, girls are often given baby carriages as toys. Why in the world we do that? I preferred my Connect Four and Mastermind games. I never really had dolls growing up. I had this one creepy one that was about 3 feet tall whose hair I cut off and whose face I painted with red and black stripes. I didn’t have it with me in my room. It just stood in a corner with the mannequin heads my grandmother collected. Yes, I said it was creepy! I know.
So, I had this warped understanding of motherhood. On the one hand, I loved my mother dearly and saw what lengths she went to in order to make sure I was ok. On the other hand, I heard too many times about how I just had to have kids as that is what women did. Growing up there was also silly pop culture tidbits and movie scenes about women struggling with being supermom. It all just seemed a bit crazy to me.
In college, I was friends with other women who also claimed that they did not want kids ever. I didn’t believe a single one of them. Although, I probably did think a few of them truly shouldn’t have kids. I looked at them and knew they wanted to have kids. I knew they were pretending that they didn’t want kids. How strange is that? They were saying what they felt their circles at that time wanted them to say. I, on the other hand, was super sure I didn’t want kids. I wasn’t very nice to them. Kids screaming in a restaurant just would set me off. Kids kicking my chair on the plane would set me off. I would look at some kids and note that they were ugly. Yes, I was that far gone on the anti-kid track.
Then just yesterday, I was having dinner with a friend that I have known for 20 years. We sat down net to a couple that had a kid. I smiled and waved at the little girl and let her play with my earrings. My friend looked at me and shook his head and noted “oh my look at you. You are now a kid lover.” He laughed at me as if I had just walked into a pole or a chair-both of which I have done in the past in front of him. I gave a smirk and waved to the little girl. Yes, I had changed. Or had I?
Here is the thing. I loved my son the instant he was born. Actually, before. The second I found out I was pregnant I changed instantly. I became tolerant of kids everywhere. I even became a child whisperer for some. Had I really changed? Perhaps there had been love there all along? Was I that whole time I professed to hate kids actually just rebelling against a system that I couldn’t even name? At some point it was cool to say one didn’t want kids. It is like that State Farm Insurance commercial called Never, where a guy throughout the years says:
“I am never getting married.” (then gets married)
“We’re never having kids.” (Has a kid)
“We are never moving to the suburbs.” (Moves to the suburbs)
Yes, many of us have said those exact phrases and done the same subsequent behaviors. It’s evolution in all respects. We have certain young ideas of ourselves that we outgrow as we enter various bouts of metamorphosis throughout our lifetime. We evolve in thought, beliefs and actions. We rebel against certain versions of ourselves and then we rejoice in those same versions. Below are photos of an expression of love I wouldn’t have imagined many moons ago. But that is ok. I got there anywhere and am rejoicing.