When did you decide to become a mother? How?
Did you spend a lot of time pondering the decision? Or was it just something you knew and did not have to think about?
Did you think about it enough? Too much? Do you wish you had spent more time reflecting on the decision to be a mother?
And here’s a question you might avoid: was the decision to become a mother the right decision?
Whew. Deep breath. Just think about these things during your morning or afternoon or evening walk. Or while washing dishes or combing the knots out of your hair. Then write about them in your journal. You don’t have to share these questions or answers with ANYONE – not your child; not your mother; not your significant other; not your best friend; not even your therapist or psychiatrist.
But I think we owe it to ourselves to be honest with ourselves in our thoughts and journals.
I speak to a lot of moms who have or had postpartum depression, and a lot of them grapple with these questions: Did I make the right decision? Should I have gotten pregnant? Should I have become a mother?
The questions might seem monstrous.
This is something I have learned about monsters: its much worse to bury and push them down than it is to actually face them.
My husband and I have talked about the What Ifs. What if we had known what was going to happen when I got pregnant? What if we had known the hell my hormones would drag me through? What if we had known how dark the darkness would get?
We probably would have decided to skip the whole business of parenthood and proceed directly to adopting a herd of small dogs.
That’s the truth and it tears me up inside to think about a life without Pippa and Julian, but it’s also a relief to admit the truth: if I had known, I would have chosen a different life.
Thank goodness I did not know the future when I was contemplating my decision to get pregnant or not. Because even though I know motherhood was absolutely the right decision for me, I also know that it was not. Because it put me through hell. It nearly destroyed me. So depending on your logic, we chose poorly. Very, very poorly.
Somehow. Some way. I don’t know why. But just asking these questions in my journal helps me feel better.
There’s no right or wrong answer to these questions. What you write in your journal has no bearing – no bearing whatsoever – on your worth as a mother.
But asking and face the tough questions gives us the chance to feel fully human.