I never wanted to have children. Absolutely not. Vehemently NO.
I soon learned that motherhood in all of its forms can often arrive without a formal invitation.
I did end up having children. One is my biological child and one is not.
There are the ideas that we have when we are young about what our adult lives will look like in the future. Then there is the reality of life — which often comes hurtling at us with the unpredictability of a lightning strike.
Some of us grow up daydreaming about booties and cradles. Others grow up wanting to make sure we don’t ever get pregnant at all. And then some of us grow up knowing we’ll be fine with whatever life brings our way — whether it’s motherhood or not.
I never wanted to get pregnant. I knew — or I thought I knew — from a young age that I didn’t want to be a mom — especially a stay-at-home mom. And now that I am a stay-at-home mom, I think I understand why I was so terrified of that role. Over the course of time and motherhood, I have realized exactly how much my own mother gave to me. How much time she devoted to me. And how much she undoubtedly sacrificed for me.
That’s a phenomenally scary amount of love, patience, and devotion to imagine ever giving another human being.
Of course, I never thought about how much my mother was giving me growing up — I was only interested in everything that revolved around me as most children naturally tend to do.
Now that I’m a mother, I understand my own mother’s immense sacrifice and a seemingly limitless cup of patience.
I arrived at motherhood in a rather ambiguous way. I didn’t plan it. I didn’t dream of it. But there it was. Not exactly something you can hide from — at least not physically.
Of course, I have embraced motherhood in the best way I can in the most benevolent fashion possible.
I had intense difficulties adjusting to the role of being a mother for years — the concept of giving away all of my space to another human being (or beings) who are both small and exceptionally demanding.
Some women become mothers when they never planned on it. Some mothers become mothers they dreamed of it. Then there are the mothers who pined after motherhood in the most desperate way only to never have their maternal desires met.
Motherhood can come from adopting, fostering, or becoming a stepmother. Motherhood sometimes comes from an act of violence — rape. Motherhood can also come from wanting to make a partner happy or to give them a family even if it wasn’t a top contender on your own ‘to do’ list.
In all of the ways in which our conflicting and compelling paths brought us to motherhood — we didn’t all have our children for the same reasons — and that’s OK.
Even so, most of us are still able to design our own roads through this often gut-wrenching and heart-rending journey of being a mother.
My reasons for having children are not the same as the mother who might be sitting next to me. My reasons for arriving at motherhood are unique — and they are imperfect.
However, all of our reasons for becoming mothers do eventually bring us to the same table, and with that said, I know we are all doing our very best to provide what we can.
More from Michelle: Why Second Marriages Can Be So Much Better