Sunday, June 24, 2012
I'm breaking a rule here. I'm posting just for the heck of it, and I'm putting down an unedited rant.
Why is motherhood so scary? I am scared so often... almost all the time, in fact. Sometimes explicitly so, sometimes latently. There are so many moments when I wonder why the heck I got into this. What possessed me to court this fear, to open my arms and welcome this perpetual terror onto my doorstep? Why the heck didn't I see even a little bit of what was coming? It was such a massive decision - to have a child. How could we have made it on the basis of factors like tradition and my biological clock? I remember a conversation with Azfar in which I asked him what he thought I may bring to his family by way of contribution to the home life (in other words, how I may play a role in making his parents' lives richer and happier). He replied, "Give them a grandchild?" It was only a half serious answer (yes, equal emphasis on 'serious' as on 'half') but that was a factor too, in our decision to have a child. How could I think that it was a good idea to give birth so that other people would be happy? Sometimes you gotta wonder at yourself.
I cannot enumerate the number of times that I want to run. Growing up is beautiful but this part right here? The part where I'm somehow wholly responsible for another human being's success and well-being? This is not beautiful. Not for me, at least. I'm just too worn down by the constant fear.
I'm afraid that my sons will lose a parent early. This is an entirely real fear, if not a rational one. I'm worried all the time that Suleiman will turn out badly and it'll obviously be because of me. I'm worried that I don't want to spend as much time with my child as I should, as his mother. I'm worried that I don't do enough... that I will never do enough for him. I'm terrified of myself and of my propensity for anger at him. The very thought that he might be bullied by others makes me sick to my stomach. I wish I'd given birth to a less opaque child. Instead there is this fragile creature sitting in that playpen - an unfathomable personality: painfully shy and yet wonderfully social, very bright but unfocused, sensitive as hell but intent on doing whatever the hell he wants. This is a child who responds to praise by immediately and deliberately turning whatever he's doing on its head: by turning right into wrong. He'll seem not to understand the simplest thing until I'm shouting it out to him - whatever rotten, ridiculous principle it is - and he'll just smile at me, his eyes growing larger with each harsh word, and he still won't get it. And then two, three days later he'll bring up the same thing, which I don't even remember anymore, and he'll tell me the right answer. He knew it all along, see? He understood all along, but for some strange, unknown reason he didn't want me to see that.
I am afraid of never being able to understand my child; never being able to pin down his personality and say, "That's him, and therefore this is what I must do to be a successful parent." There are too many contradictions in him and in me. And if his own mother can't understand him, how the heck will anyone else? He will be bullied, I'm sure of it, and I will not be there to protect him. I'm afraid of loss of control. I wish I could run. Every day, these days, I wish I could run.
Why is motherhood supposed to be natural? If we are inherently selfish beings, then how can it be natural to live for someone else? How is it natural to be scared all the time? My friend told me that our bodies are biologically geared towards reproduction, and that nature has not catered for what will happen to the woman's body after it has given birth. In a way, we start dying the day we produce a child. And I can feel that - that closing in of the walls, the panic of having signed up for something that cannot be backed out of, the sinking feeling of knowing that actually I don't really matter anymore. He's the future. And the future is in my hands. Most days I just don't feel up to being a hero. So, what am I, then? What am I? What is the price that must be paid for seeing this through? What is the cost if I don't?