Thursday

Why Me? Motherhood Wasn't What I Wanted But It Happened

Kneeling beside my bed in my studio apartment in 1997, I began to pray, not because I was in need of anything in particular, but just because I could whenever I wanted. You see, I was single. No man, no children, no roommates, no pets, absolutely no one lived with me that I had to feel obligated to talk or care for and it felt good – too good.

So while I am kneeling beside my bed waiting for God to speak to me, I am suddenly saddened like someone getting ready to hear some of the worst news of his or her life. I didn’t quite know why I felt that way until I heard an audible voice from within my spirit, saying, “You will be a mother some day and you will marry.” This news was not what I wanted to hear. I was looking forward to hearing something else such as God telling me to attend a Bible college or do some missionary work, anything but this! I cried my first cry about being a mother. These were real tears, gut wrenching! I became angry all the while as I cried asking God, “Why?”

I couldn’t help but think about all of the women who wanted children in the world and hear I was being called to motherhood and marriage. I had just got out of an abusive relationship, so the last thing I wanted in my life was something else to test my patience and nerves. For the first time in my life I was sincerely happy and at peace in my eclectic looking apartment cheaply decorated with abstract art on poster board along the walls, decorated plastic containers and crates turned on their side to simulate bookcases.

Then again maybe I wasn’t really happy as I wanted everyone around me to believe during that time in my life. Loneliness had been my kryptonite back in the 90s. Like superman, this superwoman fell weak to my imagination of one caressing and kissing me and longed for my dreams to become real—a debonair gentleman to come into my life and sweep me off my feet and out of my boring routines. Yet, at the same time, I wanted to stay in my apartment and never interact with anyone unless I absolutely needed to, simply because my heart still ached over my past riddled with verbal and physical assaults from men who claimed they loved me.

What was so bad about my being called to motherhood and marriage? I really don’t know. I can’t seem to pinpoint exactly what had occurred when I was a child that caused me to disdain the possibility of me one day being a parent. I remember thinking back to those childhood days when I found marriage to be troublesome. I saw people around me looking at their mates as if they were sickened and/or aggravated by them. I saw the frustration in parents’ eyes when their children did just one more thing to make them yell, scream, cuss or whip them. Parenting was definitely not something I saw in my future. I remember my mother saying, “What if one day you meet a man and fall in love with him, you may want to have children.” I was still adamant in my beliefs when I responded to her, “I still don’t want any children and I don’t want to be with the same person for the rest of my life that is boring!” I remember her being hopeful about my future when she commented, “You are still young, you may change your mind when you are older.” I had hoped that I wouldn’t.

As I pondered the news God gave me about motherhood and marriage, I remembered a radio interview on a Christian station. When the interviewer asked the guest about the various callings God had made on his life, he commented that he may not have liked everything God put on his plate, but he ate anyway. I thought about my own calling. Although this idea of being a mother wasn’t what I had in mind, I could accept it; however, the challenge I had was to try an convince the little child within me that it was okay that our Father in heaven knows what’s best for us. As I began to think more about motherhood, I realized I really hadn’t come to terms with being a mother even when I learned almost two years later that I was pregnant and I felt guilty that I wasn’t married first even though God was already aware of the order of events. I had often wished during the pregnancy that God would take the baby from me, and could I get “a do over” roll for my life?

I didn’t like the thought of how the baby would impact my future, those around me and how the baby changed me mentally or physically. What exactly did I have planned for my future in 1997 anyway? I really didn’t know. I had been educated at very good universities and had a resume two pages long! I allowed myself for the first time in my life to awake each day with no focus other than to work at my data entry job, pray to God, eat, read, shower, go to sleep and awake the next day to do it all over again each and every day until God told me different. Up until that point in 1997, I had never had a dull moment in my life! For me to behave that way back then was almost insane to those who knew me. I was never one for not having a plan for my present and my future. I never had an opening in my schedule that was ever left for God, casual reading or just sitting down and relaxing. I sometimes wonder had I allowed myself to keep busy would I have ever entertained a single thought of desiring the touch of a man.

The opportunity to abort my baby had been given to me by a nurse, who said it was a requirement to ask, but I didn’t have the mindset to think twice about it since being influenced by talk shows that provided details of the procedure and biblical teachings discouraged me. I asked God, I told God and sometimes I swore at God about allowing this to happen to such a sinner. I almost pleaded, “This isn’t what I wanted…” To that, he said nothing.

I was angry with God because I was mere flesh who hadn’t been strong enough to turn sex away. My happiness about being alone had wore off quickly. I became like so many single, lonely women desiring a companion that would make me feel complete. The chance I took that night to allow my lover to enter me unprotected could have resulted in much more than a baby. Exactly how many times we slept together unprotected, before I became pregnant I don’t remember, all I recall was we hadn’t known each other that long before the “surprise” came. I remember wondering why my belly continued to grow despite my participation in professional physical fitness training and watching my diet.

I don’t know if God told me this or if I reasoned it, but I started to believe that God gave me, the gift of motherhood, because he planned to use the children in the future, not only for his glory, but to create a new and improved me. In the past, I noticed as young as fifteen that having children made some young women act mature beyond their years. They seemed to have a more settled demeanor about them and they viewed the world a lot differently after having babies. Pregnancy seemed to mold and shape them into women that had more compassion for others, became less selfish, and provided an insight about life they would have otherwise never had.

Why wasn't the information and counseling readily available for women when they didn't want to abort, but didn't want to keep the child either after giving birth? Where are the support groups for mothers-to be who don’t want to be mothers, but are too afraid to tell anyone they don’t want their child and rather put him or her up for adoption? Who holds pregnant women’s hands when they have second thoughts about being mothers? Although I struggled with the idea of being a mother throughout my pregnancy and often wished that God would take his blessing back, nothing prepared me for the day I saw my baby’s eyes. With tears in my eyes and when no one was looking, I quickly asked God, in a quiet whisper, for forgiveness. “Please forgive me Lord I didn’t know what I was thinking or saying. Thank you for giving my child life.” The baby looked at me as if God used his eyes to reply, “You are forgiven.”

Three children later (a grand total of four) I have never asked God to take any of them like I did with the first, but I have requested that he bless me with the wisdom and the strength to stand before the obstacles set before me. I have repeatedly commanded that God send his angels down to help me quiet a crying child. I have also prayed to God far too many times to count to give me peace of mind. For there are times that I felt as if my head would come off and I would lose my legs to stand, because of the stress of raising children. Sometimes my own cries drowned out my children’s moans, sighs, whines and screams. When I am feeling at my worse, I go to some faraway place in my mind where I can’t hear them and for that moment I feel okay. I get off my knees or out of the chair I am sitting in when this happens and proceed to wash the dirty dishes, clean the crumbs off the floor, make a bed, sort some laundry, go out for a walk (when daddy is home) or get on the phone. For I know that if I allow my mind to stay in that far away place that drowns out the sounds of children too long, they may hurt themselves, but if I come out of that far away place too soon and don’t allow myself enough time to cry a good cry, then I may be the next woman on the news.

A mother-to-be goes through so many mental and physical changes. It doesn’t give her any encouragement about her calling when there are so many miserable mothers around her trying to advise her on childbirth and childrearing. They are telling her things like, “I didn’t want to see my baby’s face after all she put me through…I was ready to hurt my child about…His dad was no help to me…The baby didn’t allow me to get any sleep, I was ready to throw him out the window…” The new mother is definitely not ready for what is ahead when she can’t see the bright light at the end of the tunnel and the women around her don’t bother to be a beacon of light for her. In her mind all she hears herself saying is, “I am not ready for this!”

One day while walking my children, I had a conversation with a neighbor about children. She said she never wanted any. I couldn’t help but think why was it that she got her wish and I hadn’t. She reasoned that God didn’t allow it to happen to her, because he knew in her heart that she truly didn’t want any. She said she loved her nieces and nephews and were grateful for them. I had wanted the same, no children, at least so I thought, but maybe God knew my heart better than I knew it and gave them to me anyway.

Another day, I had been walking my children again and saw two pregnant women walking side by side. I couldn’t help but speak to them while they smiled and waved to both of my sons riding in a double stroller. They asked if I had twins, I said, “No, they are fifteen months apart.” They commented on how cute they were. As we exchanged small talk, I remember saying something to encourage them, although I have since forgotten what I said, I do recall how they reacted, they smiled.

I guess my only request for mothers who are around expectant mothers is to be lighthouses for them. Direct them toward the light that will give them the strength to keep going even when they are experiencing dark waters, raging storms, and heavy winds in their lives.

Written by Nicholl McGuire

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Over 20 years office work experience, six years completed college coursework, background in print media and communications, recognized for exceptional attendance and received merit increase for past job performance, self-published author and part-time entrepreneur, Internet marketing and social media experience. Interned for non-profit organization, women's group and community service business. Additional experience: teaching/training others, customer service and sales. Learn more at Nicholl McGuire and Nicholl McGuire Media

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