Over the last week, I have had a crash course in what it feels like to be a mother to a new born. My new foster cat had kittens prematurely and wouldn’t feed them and as such, I had to. Every 2 hours. All through the night. Then I had to go to work.
Anybody that knows me, knows that I am destined to grow old old and collect as many cats as my age (and quite content with that prospect). I read an article today that pretty much sums up my sentiments towards having children:
So when these kittens came along, I pretty much knew that not only would I be ill equipped emotionally and physically, I was convinced that I would hate it. What I didn’t expect was although I was tired and I was sad (as the kittens slowly died one by one from illness and a failure to develop), what I didn’t expect was that at no time did I think ‘I don’t want to do this’ or ‘I resent these little beings for [insert reason here].’ I have told myself so many times that if I was somehow through circumstance cast into motherhood, that I wouldn’t want to do it and that I would end up resenting the subject of my ‘mothering.’ I saw myself as Drew Barrymore in that terrible film ‘Riding in Cars with Boys.’
Now those that are reading this shouldn’t draw a line between me enjoying looking after kittens and me somehow desiring children. Anytime I hear ‘Oh you’ll change your mind’ (or like statements), I just want to punch someone in the face. Since I was about 18 I can remember knowing that I didn’t really see having children as something I was interested in or something I thought was supposed to define me as a person or give worth to my existence. The only time I have ever veered from this line of thinking was when I was dating someone I thought I would spend the rest of my life with. I’m now convinced that this thinking was only a product of me thinking that this is what was expected of me and wasn’t actually and autonomous desire.
However, my recent experience has shed new light on some of the feelings my mother friends must feel, particularly when they’re up at ungodly hours of the morning for months and even years on end. I have always assumed, in error, that there would be some element of resentment. I didn’t realised that the greater sense of purpose at play could drown out any feelings of resentment.
For the mothers out there who are awake feeding their children, I admire your strength and thank you for doing something I am not cut out for.