When Mother’s Day gives Mixed Emotions

I didn’t always want to be a mom. In fact, I thought that I’d live happily childfree for all of my days. Around 5 years of marriage, I started to wonder if I’d regret not having a child. I thought of and pursued the possibility of building our family through adoption. That door closed. Then we tried for a baby and had a miscarriage. Mother’s Day 2014 was dark and sad. I didn’t know if we’d ever have a child.

Here I am now in 2016 with a 13-month old on Mother’s Day. Becoming a mother has changed me in a way that I didn’t imagine. I now feel certain things so deeply in my heart. In particular, my heart aches for all sorts of mothers on Mother’s Day. Especially today, I think of:

The woman who wants to be a mother

The one who has lost a child

The lady struggling with the demands of motherhood

The mother who has an estranged child

Those living without their mom

And this week, I think of all the mothers affected by the Fort McMurray fires. There have been women who’ve given birth during this past week while fleeing from their home.

I am glad to be a mom. It is seriously hard work. Challenging. Tiring. And the lovey-dovey stuff too. But one thing I’m grateful for is the way in which my journey of motherhood has given me a deep love for any struggling momma. I’m feeling both sad and glad this Mother’s Day, and I think that’s okay.

Large or Small Family: Is your reality different than what you imagined?

I recently saw a picture of a family with 4 children. That was the composition of my family growing up: 2 parents + 4 kids. For the longest time, I imagined that I would have at least 4 children, if not 5. Then shortly after marriage, I changed my mind about children and decided that I wanted to live happily childfree. Then after 5 years of marriage, we explored the possibility of building our family through adoption but that door shut. We finally came around to building our family “the old fashioned way” and experienced some set-backs and a devastating miscarriage. Today, we have a 4 month old daughter via birth (ouch!!) and are very glad for her. But seeing that we are 31 & 35 yrs old and having our first child, the likelihood that we will have 4-5 children is very slim.

When I saw the photo of the family of 6, my heart smiled. That was my childhood. I had a good life. Part of me started to picture the possibility of having 4 children again. But soon afterwards, reality hit. Factors such as age, time, money, health and ultimately, preference came to the surface. We won’t be having a large family. And you know what — that’s OK. Really. There’s pros and cons to small or large families.

If we are lucky to have another, we’re pretty confident that we’ll be 2 and done (unless we are surprised by twins, oh my!). I was thinking the other day that if our daughter has a sister that will be perfect. Or if she has a brother, that will be perfect. This gave me peace that 2 and done seems right for our family. (I say all this knowing that it’s never a guarantee that we’ll be able to have another. Secondary infertility is quite common).

http://ydtalk.com/crib/am-i-amish/
http://ydtalk.com/crib/am-i-amish/

Having one or two children is not what I always pictured re: family size. Maybe we tend to picture what we knew, what we experienced. Regardless, people have more or less children than what they grew up with all the time. Sometimes this is due to personal preference. Sometimes it’s due to timing. And sadly, sometimes people don’t end up with the family size they always dreamed of due to fertility problems.

I’m embracing our reality of being a small family. There will always be a soft spot in my heart for large families. But I no longer feel that’s for me. One or two kids sounds great. Not what I originally pictured but just fine with me.

What about you? Is your family size larger or smaller than what you thought it would be?

5 Reasons Why I Need Non-Mom Friends

We all know that Moms need other Moms to survive the child-rearing years. But there’s a friend that every mom needs: a Non-Mom friend. Here are 5 reasons why:

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  1. Your chance of having a meaningful coffee date is 100% greater when one of you is child free

If you could be a fly on the wall of a mommy get-together you would hear a lot of this: “Sorry, what were you saying again?” Seconds after this common question is asked, the mom is off running after a toddler who is determined to find the most dangerous or breakable things. And if they can’t find something dangerous, it’s time for an epic meltdown. Believe me, it’s so much easier to have a decent conversation if at least one of you isn’t also worried about your child dying as you talk.

2. Friends without kids can offer great support and even advice!

I really don’t like the notion that only those who are Moms can understand or contribute to a discussion about children. I think Non-Moms can sympathize and offer tips more than we give them credit.

3. They remind you that you are more than just a Mom.

Often, your Non-Mom friends were your friends before you had children. There may be interests that you shared. If you stop hanging out with them, you lose that part of your life. Odds are that eventually, your children will move away from home. If you lose your Non-Mom friends during this season in life, you may find yourself completely lost when the empty nest years begin. You may forget who you were before kids, therefore forgetting the non-children aspects of your life.

4. The Golden Rule

I remember what it felt like to be on the outside. The outside of the mommy club. Friends all of a sudden disappeared when they had a child. I understood that their life had changed, that they were busy but….they often were busy hanging out with other moms! People they barely knew seemed to take priority over little old me with no children. Treating others how we want to be treated is another reason to keep your Non-Mom friends.

5. It’s boring to have just one type of friend.

Why have only vanilla ice cream when there’s so many flavours out there?! I think you’ll find life more fulfilling when your friends are varied. And you may find that you grow more as a result. .

Are you a Mom that’s been intentional about keeping your Non-Mom friends? What’s helped to foster those friendships? Or if you’ve been a Mom for a while, do you wish that you had more Non-Mom friends? Why or why not? And for those reading who fall into the camp of being a Non-Mom, I’d love to hear your thoughts as well. Looking forward to your comments!

Book Review: No Kidding

Hubby and I enjoy going to Chapters (a large book store in Canada). We grab a drink from Starbucks and look at books. A couple months ago, I came across “No Kidding” and it became the one that I browsed through whenever in Chapters. This collection of personal stories are short, easy to read, and thought provoking.

book-review-no-kidding-women-writers-on-bypas-L-NzEZ2vI opened this book expecting to read stories by women who are happy with their choice not to have children. To my surprise,  I didn’t find this book to be all positive re: being child-free. While some of the stories left me feeling neutral or encouraged, there were quite a few stories that left me feeling sad and discouraged. In some cases, I wasn’t convinced the author made the “right” choice to remain child-free. Some woman knew since they were a child that they did not want to raise children. Often, this early “knowing” was a direct result of a troubled childhood OR a mother who complained and/or looked miserable while raising them. Other women in this book placed their career as their “baby” and before they knew it, their possibility to have children biologically was nil as their egg supply was finito. There were others who called themselves “conservative or traditional” who didn’t have children as they held out for marriage and it never happened. These women were not willing to parent without an equally committed partner.

An encouraging theme through out the book was that regardless of the reason for remaining child-free, all of the woman feel that they are living a full life. None of these women are in a deep dark hole as a result of never having children. Some feel that not having children was the best thing they ever did. While others, not sure if it was the best idea, have come to terms with their reality. Even the select few who still experience some longing re: children (but its no longer a possibility) are mostly satisfied with their life. As a result of this book, I’m more aware of the variety of paths that lead a person to live child-free.  And encouraged that these authors are happily living their lives – whether they intended all along to be child-free or not.