BlogHer of the Week: Sweetney
By Elisa Camahort on March 09, 2009
BlogHer Original Post
I am not a mom. I never wanted to be a mom. I'm nearly 45 years old, and that biological clock never kicked in. Of course, Lisa is a mom. And Jory is still contemplating motherhood.
Despite our different experiences and different perspectives, we all read Sweetney's post Self(ish) and found it deeply affecting and compelling.
For me, it's that Tracey articulates much of what I thought (and feared) about parenthood. I long ago made the decision I was indeed too selfish to be a parent, but I didn't mean "selfish" exactly. I think I meant that I thought I had a big enough job taking care of my life and all that I was always trying to accomplish. And I never changed my mind. When she writes about the energy it takes to take care of a child, it sounds exactly like what I feel when I imagine being my sister with her two kids, and just imagining it is completely overwhelming to me:
The things she wants, the energy she needs, her questions that require answers, the endless barrage of busywork and errands related to taking care of another, much-less-able human being, is just so, so exhausting. And by "exhausting" I don't even mean tiring or physically draining. I mean that, in my case at least, it exhausts ME, who I am. That it drains not just energy from me, but my sense of self, whatever it is I've come over the course of 38 years to think of as my identity, and the integrity of my mind.
Of course that's not the whole story. There is the overwhelming love too:
The love I feel for my daughter is enormous. I can't even wrap my head around that kind of love sometimes, it's so big. And its profundity is what has kept me going even when I've been mired in the blackest tar pit of depression -- it is the infallible engine inside me that will not quit even when my spirit collapses.
If I had to name only one thing that I, as a non-mom, have observed MommyBlogging accomplishing, it would be this: It has given some women permission to acknowledge and honor their entire mothering experience. Not just the deep love and heart-gripping joy, but also the self-doubts, the frustrations, the exhaustion.
This has permeated beyond the blogosphere, by the way. When I used to state my lack of intention to have kids, no one accepted it and moved on; everyone had something to say. But in the last few years I've heard more and more moms tell me that it's a lot of hard work. Rewarding work, but hard work, and if I didn't think it was for me...that was probably OK.
I believe it is writers like Tracey from Sweetney that have paved the way for more women to be more honest about the entirety of their parenting experience and perspective. Tracey captures the bitter and the sweet, sometimes all in one paragraph:
Of course I don't blame my daughter for any of this. She was and is beautiful and perfect, and I very much wanted her, and I would do everything again to have her here with me now. I do wonder though if any of it could have been different for me, or if the part of me that holds the equipment necessary to being a mother is simply broken, damaged, incomplete.
Thanks to everyone for continuing to send in your nominated posts. Remember to nominate individual posts, not entire blogs, and keep them coming!
For Elisa, Jory and Lisa
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