Dear Aunty Em: Should I have a baby?
‘Should I have a baby?’ – Maybe mama
Dear Maybe mama,
a) Go and stand in the card section of K-Mart and check out the Mother’s Day range. Absorb the pinkness, the flowers, the sense of gratitude.
b) And then go stand in the homewares section, preferably the boring bit, near the pegs, mops and cleaning products.
c) Once you’ve taken that all in, head over to the baby section, with all the teeny tiny clothes, swaddling wraps and butt cream.
Life as a mama involves one day a year of a), 365 days a year of b), and some sweet moments of c).
Being a mum is one of the best experiences I’ve ever had but I also know that I’m lucky. My son eats, sleeps and smiles a lot.
But there are still times that the sheer volume of wiping overwhelms me; butt wiping, bench wiping, high chair wiping.
And it never stops. You can never take a day off. That kid will be there hanging over the side of his or her cot screaming your name every single day. It doesn’t matter how you feel. You are responsible for the wellbeing of your child and you had damn well better step up.
Simple things like going to a cafe become difficult once your kid can crawl. Ditto going out at night, going on holidays, or having an uninterrupted shag with your partner.
The real question is this: what are you willing to give up? And what are you hoping to gain?
If you’re willing to (temporarily) give up a few liberties in exchange for an experience like no other – one that will unleash a tidal wave of love inside you – go for gold.
But it’s also worth noting that ‘mother’ is a noun and a verb. You can mother children without actually birthing them. Nieces and nephews, friend’s kids, godchildren – hell, you can mother your adult colleagues, family and friends – the instinct to nurture is something that can be put to good use in society. Don’t think that if you don’t have a baby, you won’t be able to tap into that wellspring of love.