Mama Don't Preach: Thoughts on Respecting Parenthood Decisions

Do you think all women are meant to have children? This mom doesn't.

Dumping the Parental Bandwagon

woman smiling down at pregnancy test

I just got off the phone with a customer service representative at my credit card company. I called to dispute a charge -- the hospital where I birthed a baby boy seven weeks ago made a billing mistake -- and the next thing I knew I was having an extended conversation about labor and delivery with the stranger on the other end of the line.

She's due in a few months with her second child. She told me the birth story from her first: They overdid it on her drugs and she was totally numb up to her ears for hours. I told her mine: I had a c-section that didn't heal right and had to be (stop reading if you're squeamish) reopened, picked at, prodded, and allowed to just sit there as a gaping wound for weeks, healing gradually.

Yes, it hurt. More than labor, in fact. I was in the hospital for a week and a visiting nurse came to tend to me twice a day for more than a month after that, at which time my husband was charged with latex-gloving up and ministering to my slit midsection on a daily basis. Sexy? I think not.

Sharing Stories, Not Sentiments

Though my childbirth scenario was a bit heavy on the pain and hers a bit too light, we both agreed that actually having the baby was completely amazing. True, we'd suffered, but we'd each been rewarded with a big prize -- a healthy child.

"I cried for three weeks afterward every time I looked at her," she shared.

"Yes," I agreed, having dampened many a onesie with tears of both the gently rolling and the sobby gulping variety. "I've done a lot of that, too. The whole thing is pretty emotionally intense."

Then she said, "I don't understand how anyone can not have children. They're missing out on the best thing in life."

At that point, I got off the phone. Because you know what? Thrilled as I am to be a mother and to hang with this astoundingly adorable little person sprung from within, I refuse to jump on this particular parental bandwagon, the one packed with proselytizers peddling their baby-centric life view.

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