Saturday, November 17, 2012

FAQ: Do I Want More Children?

November, if you haven't heard, is National Adoption Month - today, in fact, is National Adoption Day. In previous years I did a LOT of blogging to commemorate. Spoiler alert: that will not be happening this year. I am way too busy (those cat videos on YouTube aren't going to watch themselves). I've also been too busy to answer e-mail and my blog e-mail tends to be crazy anyway; if you've written to me in the past 6 months, don't give up hope, I will catch up eventually. I hope.

But I feel like I should do something for November, because I think adoption is really rad. So I'm going to steal - no, let's say, appropriate an idea from my friend Brittany. She's been answering frequently asked questions on her blog each week and I've decided to do the same. I already have a blog FAQbut it hasn't been updated in ages; I had a lot of anger issues when I wrote it and I think I'd probably explain things better if I were to re-write it and I think that I will eventually, but not right now. Wow, that was a beautiful run-on sentence, wasn't it? I think I might look into National Grammar Month; I need it.

Anyway. I have been asked other questions, by friends and acquaintances and by high school students who have been subjected to my story during their child-development classes. I want to answer some of them here. Today's question is courtesy of a teenager who apparently missed the phrase "I always wanted to be a mother" sprinkled liberally throughout my story.

Q: Do you want more kids some day?

A: Short answer, yes. Slightly longer answer, yes, absolutely, but I'd like to be married first.

I would not be me if I left it at that, would I? I love words too much.

I have always, always wanted to be a mother. I know that in today's modern world women are supposed to be ambitious and have their own careers and lives but I've never been that type-A. I think I'm unambitious out of self-preservation; I tend to take things to extremes and when something is important to me I give it 500%. Ambition would be the death of me. Being a wife and mother has always been enough of a goal in my mind. That's probably not the sort of thing a woman is supposed to confess to but there it is.

My pregnancy was a surprise but not an unwelcome one. It wasn't the way I'd planned on being a mother but I was disinclined to be picky. I wanted a baby and I was having a baby. Maybe it's because I know exactly why I made the decision I did, and because I know so many other birth mothers whose decisions were similarly selfless, but I am always surprised when someone assumes I placed Roo because I didn't want to be a mother. Placement had nothing to do with wanting to be a mother or not wanting to be a mother. It was about what was best for the little girl I love so much. It was a choice I made as a mother.

I very much want kids. I know that single women aren't supposed to say that because we come across as baby-hungry and people get these ideas that I instantly assess every date as a potential father, that I've picked out names for all my children, that I can't hear normal conversation over the sound of my own biological clock ticking. Judge me if you will, but I do want children. I would love to have children, and preferably before my fertility starts to nosedive. But I'm not going to do it by myself. If I don't get married, I'm not going to have more kids. I don't care how well-off I end up, how successful or happy or anything else. I will not be a single mother again. I wanted Roo to have two married parents who love each other. Why would I want anything less for any other children I might have?

There's a selfishness behind this determination as well. Here's another uncomfortable truth: my pregnancy was the absolute bloody loneliest time of my entire life. I don't think I've ever felt so alone and I hope I never do again. I hated going to doctor's appointments because I was frequently the only woman in the waiting room without a husband or boyfriend. I invited H to come with me at first but I stopped after a few months because it was obvious he was never going to. I would surreptitiously assess the relationships of the couples in the waiting room and, without exception, they seemed to love each other. It hurt. I'd stare at my hands and wonder what I had done wrong that the father of my child didn't even like me.

I will not go through that again.

I want children, but I don't -just- want children. I want more for my children than I can give them by myself. Which means that although I would dearly love to be a mother, it's probably not going to happen. I'm okay with that. Because I had Roo, and if she's all I ever get, she's enough.