They fuck you up, your mum and dad.Philip Larkin
They may not mean to, but they do.
They fill you with the faults they had
And add some extra, just for you.
Despite what others might think, I actually am very much aware of my shortcomings. I have always been very guarded about how I’m feeling. As a child, I felt like nothing I did would ever be good enough, but I also did not have a healthy relationship with emotions. I built a wall around myself and developed this odd mechanism for shutting off caring about anything. It wasn’t until I was about 16/17, that I started to self reflect and there was honestly times where I honestly thought I had some level of sociopathy. Moments of feeling absolutely nothing, things that meant the world to me on a normal day, things that were defining things, such as my love of animals would just fade to nothing and I would just be empty. Sounds great right (sarcasm), I was a grade A candidate for motherhood.
When you’re a girl, for some reason, people tend to want to know these things about you. When you’d like to have kids. How many. There is this expectation that women especially just want to have a child, or at least that was my experience. Problem was, as everyone seemed to expect these plans of marriage and kids, I’ve never felt maternal. Keep in mind I was a bit of an outsider as it is because I was a minority group, an atheist, very much a liberal leaning person, who was also stubborn and very open with my opinions. So this was just another thing I just could not relate except for a few select friends I found in high school. Now at this age, my reasoning for not wanting a child stemmed from the fact that, I didn’t want a lot of the things that went along with it. I didn’t really romanticize the idea of getting married, yes I wanted to find a life partner, but I didn’t know if I really believed in marriage. I didn’t want to do the whole pregnancy thing or labour. I’m very much a chicken when it comes to pain and hospitals (yes I am spooked by hospitals). And the most important thing was that I truly didn’t think I was fit to be a parent. I lacked empathy, sympathy, any healthy connection to emotions really, and I did not have that maternal drive or patience. I knew I held a LOT of issues from my family life (though I love them so) and I was afraid of failing in that arena because the consequences would be screwing up another person. I also think the world is over populated and people should be more conscious of reproducing vs resource capacity of what you can provide and what the earth can sustain.
The poem that resonated the most with me is ‘This Be the Verse’ by Philip Larkin. Very to the point and concise short poem that holds so much truth. I stumbled on it as a class assignment right when I was trying to figure out how I felt about my own parents. I had a lot of anger about somethings but I mean I didn’t really think they were shitty parents. They provided well for us, they were hardworking, didn’t do drugs etc. And to be honest they were a product of their upbringing as well.
I found meaning in analyzing human behavior and development because I did not want to just blame my parents and live with my short comings. I don’t believe in god or reincarnation. I think this is our one life that was know of and we can only do ourselves the service by trying to become our best selves. As life went and more things happened and I started to have more issues with my mental health. As I said before, I’m a pretty opinionated person and fairly obsessive so I would mentally catalogue things that I noticed about things like parenting. What people did that was positive and negative and what traits were important for being a functional, happy person. So I took classes on child development and would form opinions about these things even though I didn’t really see myself having a kid because I was not a functional person. I had met someone who I wouldn’t mind having a child with, biological or adopted and I considered it for a moment.
That consideration led me to realize, I wasn’t one of those people who wanted to be on a purely career driven track to the point where I would basically use daycare to raise the child. I thought it was important to still have achievements for myself because I didn’t want a child to be my only accomplishment. I saw women who sacrificed too much of themselves to be a mom eventually hit a point in their lives where they didn’t know what to do with their lives. And I didn’t want that. I also realized that because I am so opinionated about certain values that just like with dating it would be next to impossible to co-parent with someone unless we were on the same page. But all of this was just theoretical and I was a mess in my personal life so it simply did not make sense for me to be a parent. Because I’m a crazy person.
But hey things change and life happens and I love my daughter so now I just have to learn how to become my best self while trying to do the best for her. She’s my catalyst and saved me from myself at the worst but right time.