A post appeared on Facebook from a mommy group. A woman was asking for personal experiences in deciding whether to have another child.
For some reason, I was compelled to read the comments. I wondered what advice other mothers would offer this woman. The comments followed along these lines:
I have never heard of anyone regretting the children they have….Children are such a blessing….I only regret the children that I didn’t have….Your clearly have a desire for more children.
Every comment was encouraging this anonymous woman to have a baby. It disturbed me in ways I didn’t even have words for.
I scrolled past, but I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I read the post again. I read the comments again, and then, I posted a comment.
I might regret my children. And while we are on the subject, I just might regret my marriage.
Don’t get all judgey. I don’t want pious advice, and I want a chance to explain.
I regret the last two Hobbits, and, sometimes, I almost regret all six of them. I wouldn’t give them back, I love them dearly, and I can’t imagine my life without them.
But I am not sure that I chose the path of my life with my eyes wide open. I regret that my view of the world was so small that I didn’t know the unlimited opportunities before me.
I regret that I was not better prepared to be a mother.
I regret that I did not know the energy it would take to bring them to adulthood. I regret that my resources of patience and energy are so divided.
I regret that I did not know my own weakness. I regret that I did not know I was going to fail each and every day.
Hobbit #5 is simply a joy. She is the tiniest wisp of a girl, with a personality that takes over any room she enters. She is happy and charming. She makes friends with every single person she meets, and she has intelligent and thoughtful conversations with adult neighbors. Everyone, and I mean everyone, at a block party knows #5.
She is delightful, but she deserves a better mother.
The Baby Hobbit is great fun, partly because of her opposite personality to #5. She is built like a football player…. wide and robust. She is naughty and mischievous. She surprises us constantly with how smart she is. She has a mind that can work out a way to get around any obstacle, and, sometimes, I swear she is going to grow up to be a criminal mastermind. It is going to take a lot of work to stay one step ahead of her. She has uncontrollable hair that is every bit as unruly as she is. She wears boy’s clothes because of her love of Mickey Mouse, and she pairs those boy clothes with a fluffy tutu. She is strong and willful, and oh, so naughty.
It is so much fun to be her mother, but she should have better.
I regret that I was incapable of making my own rules. I regret that I was ensconced in societal norms of what I should do or who I should be.
I regret that I wasn’t more selfish. I regret that I was woefully naïve about my ability to be a mother. I regret that my self-identity rested on my ability to form this family.
I regret that I am not enough. I do not love my Hubby enough. I am not patient enough with my Hobbits. I am a lazy friend.
I regret the baggage my Hobbits will carry with them, simply because I am their mother. I wonder if they will remember the way I gritted my teeth when I was trying to maintain my patience. I wonder if they will remember the times I left them to be alone.
The Hobbits are growing into amazing people, with sensitive and kind hearts. I do not deserve them, but I am humbled by the fact that I get to witness who they are becoming.
Don’t judge me and don’t comfort me. I love my Hobbits fiercely. My path may not be what I should have chosen, but it is my path. To use the worst phrase ever, it is what it is.