In college I took a writing class that I absolutely loved. We read essays, wrote, and got to criticise each other’s writing. That was my favorite part…cruel as it may seem, I loved dissecting other people’s writing and figuring out how to make it better. It never struck me that the criticism would be taken personally….calloused, I guess.
Near the end of the semester we had got to choose our own topic to write on. I chose to write an essay about motherhood. I can’t remember any of the other essays I wrote for that class, but this one I do because I got a lower grade on it. The professor said, and rightly so, that it didn’t tie together. My thoughts were going in an interesting direction, but there was no cohesion.
It was true, and still is. I’ve said this to my close friends, always a little afraid of how it sounds, but I just don’t get wanting to have a baby. Usually I continue with the fact that I don’t have anything against it, I just don’t feel any pull towards it. I don’t know what that maternal instinct is, at this point in life I just don’t have it. But it continues to come up….growing up in a town where you have kids as a matter of course, where it seem like it’s just on the list to check off after getting married, I’d really like to understand why people have children. To what end?
I can’t say that I know that desire any more now than I did in college. But I think I do understand it more. I’m at that stage in life where people are having babies, thinking about babies, or trying to have babies. Six years ago when I graduated I never considered that I’d be talking to friends about their miscarriages, or their seemingly in vain attempts to get pregnant. I had no idea I’d be going to baby showers for people I actually like, and getting to hold babies I really want to hold and play with.
But the part that sticks with me the most is the pain and loss. It’s incredibly hard to see someone go through it, but it’s shown me that for something like childbearing to hold such incredible weight in people’s lives, it must be a central part of being human.
I still don’t really get it, and I still don’t know the desire to mother, but in a small way I understand it better.
Can I have my “A” now?