While perusing Facebook yesterday, I came across a link that hit me like a bolt. It by itself probably wouldn’t’ve been enough to move me, but combined with the piece that inspired it, and my own personal experiences, it kind of got the brain to ticking. After all, I’ve had friends inquire as to why I don’t use pictures of my daughter as my Facebook picture, to which I kind of had to blink – she isn’t me. If she wants her own Facebook when she gets older, then game on, but until then – she is she, and I am I.
But anyways, this got me to speculating the why of the whole martyrdom that parenthood has supposedly become, how overweeningly self-sacrificial people choose to behave when it comes to parenting. But because there is a lot of guilt associated with either resentment of the life given up, or because we’re working longer hours, the children have somehow become the boss of the family. Or, at least, that’s how the media choses to portray it; I’m sure it’s somewhat different in homes across the world. But even if you do choose to raise your child differently and be the authority figure, you’re still barraged with how ‘wrong’ you are that you aren’t equating money with love. Oh, what a vicious cycle…
Now, I’d like to take a minute to add that my lifetime goal has been to be a mother. I’ve always known that I’ve wanted children, nevermind all the screaming and the poop and the sheer exhaustion of it all. So there’s definitely little resentment or disappointment here – I had a pretty good idea of what I was getting into, and chose to do it willingly. But that doesn’t mean that I resign myself to a life of being Leah’s mom – I am still me. And to some degree, if I were to break down and just slap her up as my Facebook photo, that would be a tiny way of saying ‘I give up on me. Me doesn’t exist, might not actually deserve to exist outside of the confines of my child.’
That sounds pretty dramatic, doesn’t it? But according to a wonderful piece from the New York Times (which I’ve probably linked to before, ’cause I love it), people put it later and later because of careers or waiting to be ready, and idealize the crap out of it. This, obviously, kind of makes things with the bitter to realize that it’s not some magical experience as portrayed on one’s favorite TV shows or movies (which also goes for marriage, ha ha). That’s a problem endemic in society though – so many people want the easy button, to never have to lift a finger. I’d query how they appreciate anything if they didn’t work for it, but that’s not for the now…
Back towards the topic – this whole idea that you are less than your child continues to take scarier turns as time goes by. The state of Florida apparently think that bedrest is the status quo for pregnancy. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I had a pretty normal pregnancy, if not an excellent one. I’m a slight critter and I didn’t put on oodles of weight (even if most of it stuck with me post baby, hee hee), so outside of some weird muscle constriction crushing my lungs a few times, things went fine. I wasn’t constantly on the toilet like I expected to be, I managed to get some sort of sleep most every night, and I didn’t have to nap like mad. So it kind of boggles me that anyone would think that we should confine ourselves to bed to waste for months on end if there isn’t a need. Nor do I think that we should be told to tough it out – like any situation, pregnancy is highly individualized. 🙂
Of course, that’s not nearly as crazy as the state of Georgia trying to rule miscarriage as murder. While I harbour the sincerest belief that this will get laughed out of existence, it’s frightening that someone even thought it ideal to propose. It’s definitely worse than the federal government attempting to change the law to make rape even less likely to be reported, treated, etc… it’s just… wow.
Anyways, I guess my point is wondering where it starts, and where it stops. Sure, people should take care of themselves and their kids and all of that, but I kind of wonder where the federal government gets off moralizing at folks. But then, I might as well wonder when they’ll stop exploiting fear to breed xenophobia to breed more fear to steal more power… hah. For now, I guess I’ll continue to be my own person doing my own thing, and all of that. Oh, and go wake up yon tiny one from her nap, ’cause that’s a part of me and me-things too.