Should Women without Children be Asked if They’re Baby Hungry?
I always knew I wanted children, but until then was fully satisfied giving my attention and energy to traveling the world, studying spirituality, focusing on my career and when Kit and I got back together spending every moment possible with each other. By the time I was in my late 20s I had been asked several times if I was baby hungry.
Had I known how tasty Forest would be I probably would have been. But in all seriousness I never was, and that was greeted with surprise, maybe disappointment, and at times an energy of judgment, as if I were less of a woman or less of a Mormon. Fortunately none of this came from my family, but it was common enough to understand it as a cultural pattern. Some see not pining after motherhood at a certain age as a sign of immaturity, or poor priorities. It is interesting to note that Kit has never been asked the equivalent.
The experiences I had in my 20s molded me into the mother I want to be today. I watch my 3 week old son as he finishes nursing. His eyes focus on the room around him. He is picking up patterns and colors more everyday. Of all the things in our home, he stares the most at the wall of masks we’ve collected during our travels, and my large framed photographs. As we sit I tell him stories of Filipino farmers, glowing temples, Irish Priestesses, moose in Utah, and of course the food in Malaysia. Right now my words and these images to him are more a feeling, but as he gets older he’ll recognize them as the legacy of his family. Someday because of who his parents are, he’ll want to add his own stories, and maybe his own mask for the wall.
I’m not suggesting everyone should travel or pursue a career during their 20s, and start a family in their 30s. This is what was right for us. I have an older sister and sister-in-law who were in the same class in high school. My sister has 5 children, and Kit’s sister is an emergency pediatrician. I admire both of them for what they’re doing with their lives, and because of who these women are, know the next chapter for both of them will be equally incredible and worthwhile. The idea of asking them if they wish they were doing something else is demeaning and undervalues their important contributions to the world.
No, I wasn’t baby crazy, but neither am I now bemoaning the fact that I’m not in the middle of planning another month long adventure overseas. I was where I was. I am where I am, and only God knows where I will be. What I do know, is our mask wall isn’t full, my cameras’ batteries are, and Forest looks like he has some wanderlust in him. For now, I’m going to sit in my chair and watch his blueberry eyes slowly close, knowing there’s nowhere in the world I’d rather be, and with no one else.
Wholeness through loving where you are.
Love, “Whole Hannah” – inner i art