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More blogging about having babies

December 20th, 2003 · No Comments

The wonders of dialoguing via weblogging… It’s been fun for me to look at the other postings and comments, that began with Chris Winter’s original one on having babies. If you’re interested, go back to the trunk of the tree, at his blog, and then trace through the various branches.

I wrote my reply after reading and discussing the first posts with Ted , and then, after the night that I described….The question in my mind that I was trying to address, after talking and reading, was “how will my life change with children?” and a big part of that to me was also the question “…and if so, is it worth it?” So I thought about how I have changed, how children have changed me, and how grateful I am for the blessings of it all. Although I must confess that if someone had told me all these changes ahead of time, I might have felt a bit overwhelmed….change always seemed so scary to me! I think though that it is good to ask questions, to wonder why, to consider the costs. The prospect of becoming parents is scary and uncertain. Since I blogged my reply, I’ve realized how many facets of this question that there are to answer, and other angles I could have described….it seems every person brings a different paint to the picture, adding to the palette. Here’s a few more thoughts I’ve had….

One angle I realized is that in the history of humankind, there have been relatively few generations who could choose whether or not to have children. For most of our history, it has been simple scientific fact that children came from intimacy between men and women. The whole concept of choosing family size, choosing children at all, is a new one. Having children was simply the natural consequence of sex.

I appreciated Tamara’s comment on my post, regarding the bigger picture. Having babies puts the world into a wider perspective. I too began immediately appreciating my mother more. My mom amazes me. I have told her that but I probably could afford to tell her that every day. I don’t know how she did it, raising four of us by herself, including my brother who had many special needs. And I don’t think I had any idea how much work she had done or how much I should appreciate her, until I became a mother myself. Thank you, Mom!

Becoming a parent connects us deeper into the cycle of life. First we are kids, then parents. Grandparents is the next stop I suppose. My family is rather fragmented, so sadly, I don’t have many relatives in my life: I’m missing out a bit on having my children help connect me deeper with my grandparents, aunts and uncles, as Tamara described. I confess sometimes it’s difficult for me to relate to my children: the strongest memories from my childhood are mostly sad ones. But I am learning through this too that I can enter into their childhoods a little bit, and see life through their eyes, getting to be little girl again in a wonderful way – actually in three wonderful ways! With my children I can blow bubbles, swing, laugh, yell, kick soccer balls, eat ice cream cones, dance about the living room, and be silly again, even more than I was able to do as a kid.

One more aspect of parenting is that it connects you with people, into the wider world, in intimate and immediate ways. We’ve seen this twice in childbirth classes, and through other friendships and groups (this weblog?!). Children are like cement, building friendships between families who can be very different, who might not have any other reason to know each otherl. Children create immediate connection. For example, once I was on the phone with someone at the mechanics, and I had to excuse myself, saying I had to rescue my baby since she had gotten into the garbage. “Is she one year old?” the woman asked me. “That’s how old mine is, and he does that all the time.” Babies bond. Just take an infant on a bus, around town, through a mall and see how many potential friendships you find, how many people meet your eyes, smile and give you greetings. Walking around the ferry with our kids, we often make or meet a friend. It’s amazing and fun to feel so connected, to have things in common.

Another comment left on my blog a while ago, on another post, one about owners searching for a lost cat on the island , applies to this topic as well. Joanna wrote “How beloved does something have to be before you are willing to go to great lengths for it?”. When you love your kids, you are willing to go to great lengths for them, and it doesn’t really matter. Yeah, sometimes I’m tired, as I was the other night, and I’d rather not mop up vomit. But when you love your kids, just as when you love your spouse or anything else, you give to them, and you don’t think twice about it.

Yesterday afternoon, as I watched Abigail and Michaela kiss Elisabeth good-night for her nap, heard Elisabeth squeal with happiness over seeing her crib, and saying “uh-oh” when I had to fix the sheets, getting kisses, even slimy ones, I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I can’t imagine life without them …

And even on a day like today , when I had to take Abigail to the doctor for an intense time, trying to hold her and help her cope with her pain and the requirements of medical care, coming home exhausted physically and emotionally, I’d still do it all over again. Even if I have bet my life, I wouldn’t take it back. Children have opened me to the world and the world to me.

Having children is a part of life, a part of being alive, a part of being human and living in this world. We parents think we are the ones who give children life. But children give us life. Children bring life. It’s the way the world was made.

Tags: family