Today is Mother’s Day and I’m feeling mournful about what isn’t in my life. Once upon a time, I wanted children. I now feel sorrow in recognizing becoming a mother no longer aligns with what I want out of life.
I have strong mothering and nurturing instincts. It seems a shame to not put them to use raising children. It feels as though I am failing the world in some way. I am angered by it.
One of the false mirrors the Narcissist showed me was a desire for marriage and children. I said it was important to me; that I didn’t want to get involved with someone who wasn’t on the same path as me.
The Narcissist being what he is, he told me marriage and children were his path, as well. He then later convinced me he hadn’t wanted those things and I only imagined he did.
I know I didn’t imagine him dragging me to over 15 different jewelry stores for an engagement ring. That wasn’t in my imagination. I didn’t dream that up. He wanted me to have a ring that made me delirious with excitement. He wasn’t content until we found one, after 15 different stores, that made me tear up with emotion when I tried it on.
He led me to believe a proposal was coming any second. He had the money for the ring. He was envisioning ways of proposing that met his need for pomp and grandeur. I accepted him putting this pressure on himself. This was him being himself, regardless of my own lack of need for grandiosity. I expressed my feelings and desires to him but didn’t try to stifle him.
Of course, he never came up with something that sufficed. Nothing he could think of was worthy of him. He never proposed.
I know I didn’t imagine him talking about having children with me. It wasn’t my imagination that we discussed children at length. It was particularly relevant in choosing the home we would buy. The layout of the home and location all centered around having children. We would begin shortly after moving in and getting married.
Of course, as soon as we moved in was when the devaluation phase began in earnest, so neither ever happened.
I curse myself for having wasted those years with him.
And now, it’s Mother’s Day. His new supply has two daughters. What is their day like today? Is he acting the kind and involved boyfriend? Has he helped the girls put together gifts and acts of kindness for their mother? Will the four of them do something lovely together?
Or has he started showing his true colors by now? Has he done nothing for her? Is he excusing himself by saying that it’s her kids, not his? Is he convincing her that it’s weird for him to celebrate Mother’s Day with them? Is he telling her that she’d know that if she’d dated more men than him after her divorce? Does he tell her that he thinks gifts and holidays are stupid? Has he told her yet that he wants no part of it, and that being with him means accepting that about him? Has she noticed yet that this attitude only applies when he isn’t the person celebrated?
Will he spend Mother’s Day with her the way he spent most days with me? Playing video games and dismissing her emotional needs?
I started seeing these tendencies in him and it’s why I let go of the idea of having kids with him.
When I talked to him about being fairly certain I didn’t want to have children his reply astonished me. He said he was going to be really angry if in a few years he was ready and I didn’t want them. I reminded him, as I often did, that in a few years I would be in my mid-40s. If he wanted children with me he needed to step up to the plate. I had been to the doctor. My number of eggs was already quite low. He needed to shit or get off the pot.
We met when I was 36. I told him, from the very first date, how important marriage and children were to me. He was enthusiastic as he told me how important they were to him, too. We built our lives together around this central theme.
He brought up the idea of children often. I’d remind him couples need to have sex in order to procreate, and we weren’t a couple who did that. Exactly how was he thinking we were going to get pregnant?
And yet, he continued to talk about having kids together. That is unless I expressed wanting children. As was often the case, if there was something I wanted, something that would make me happy, he quickly was less interested. He would start hemming and hawing about money and how much kids cost.
I had started realizing how exhausted and disappointed I was all the time.
He promised an engagement and led me to believe it would be coming any second. He never came through, and never talked to me about having reconsidered.
He said he wanted to be with me, to have children with me. Yet when I reminded him he had chosen someone 4 years older than himself, he didn’t listen. He refused to hear me about the realities of my age and my childbearing potential. He wanted children with me, but he ignored me.
And then there was the fact of the normal day-to-day with him, which I’ve talked about at length. I was consistently disparaged, manipulated, mistreated. Did I want to have children with someone who was going to model this kind of behavior as appropriate? Someone who was likely going to treat my children this way?
The answer, of course, is no.
Thus, I am now 41 years old. I am childless and alone on Mother’s Day. I have no small noisy exuberant children disturbing my peace. I have no handmade little cards that I will cherish for decades. There are no sweet little hugs and kisses, no, “I love you, Mommy,” in my life.
I have no partner giving me a kiss on the forehead and thanking me for all I do.
I am coming to terms with this. My life goals eschew both these. I will write. I will travel. I will, hopefully, make friends along my journey.
But I will not have children of my womb in my life.
Today is Mother’s Day and it is the first Mother’s Day where I have sat with these thoughts.
This is the first Mother’s Day where my focus hasn’t been 100% on others. I honor and cherish all the mothers in my life. I honor my own mothers. I also honor all the mothers who model the loving, honest, generous behavior children should have in their worlds.
But I also honor myself, and my grief. In the past, there was always some haunting hope. There was always a part of me that assumed someday in the future, I would experience pregnancy, birth, and motherhood. There was always a part of me that felt someday, I would experience Mother’s Day with offspring of my own.
Now I know I will not. I choose not to. This is not the path for me.
It is a choice, but it is a hard one. And it makes the emotions of Mother’s Day far more complicated from here on out.