One of my mother’s friends is the kind of woman you can talk to about anything. She’s frank, honest, non-judgmental, and has a wicked sense of humor. We got talking today about adoption and the experiences (ok, the horror stories) we’d seen with friends. She said to me, “I don’t think I would have adopted if I’d been unable to have children; I don’t like children that much.” She has raised two great children and is a grandmother now, but she never had felt any strong desire for motherhood; it was just something she thought she was supposed to do.
My mother’s friend, like my mother, is of a generation where women got married and raised children, then thought about a life for themselves after the children had left. But even today, a lot of people follow that expected path and don’t give any serious thought to something that ought to be the biggest decision of their lives. High school children are educated about teen pregnancy by having the responsibility of carrying an egg or a doll around for a week, but I wonder how much is discussed about the decision to have children or not, the fact that there is an alternative.
For those of us who didn’t just fall into motherhood, we have been given a valuable opportunity to step out of the well-worn groove, assess our own lives, and decide if motherhood is something we really want.