Maternal Ambivalence, Ctd

In an essay recounting her experience volunteering as a Big Sister and then as a court-appointed advocate for foster children, Meghan Daum shares her reasons for wavering on biological motherhood:

They ran the gamut from “Don’t want to be pregnant” to “Don’t want to make someone deal with me when I’m dying.” (And, for the record, I’ve never met a woman of any age and any level of inclination to have children who doesn’t have names picked out.) Chief among them was my belief that I’d be a bad mother. Not in the Joan Crawford mode but in the mode of parents you sometimes see who obviously love their kids but clearly do not love their own lives. For every way I could imagine being a good mother, I could imagine ten ways that I’d botch the job irredeemably.

More than that, I simply felt no calling to be a parent. As a role, as my role, it felt inauthentic. It felt like not what I was supposed to be doing with my life. My contribution to society was not about contributing more people to it but, rather, about doing something for the ones who were already here. Ones like [children in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program] Maricela and Kaylee. I liked the idea of taking the extra time I had because I wasn’t busy raising my own child and using it to help them. It also helped that if anyone, upon learning my feelings about having children, lobbed the predictable “selfish” grenade, I could casually let them know that I was doing my part to shape and enrich the next generation.