Not the Best Mom (Story by R.C. Peris)

I never really wanted children. My mother was difficult and mentally ill. She struggled with me as she struggled with life. I decided at nine that I didn’t want a child. Not ever. I had baby dolls I mothered but I didn’t want a real baby. No way. My mother used to say to me and my siblings who were older that when children are babies they trip over your apron strings but when they get older they stomp on your heart. Good Lord. I did not need my heart stomped on. I got on birth control early and never had sex without a condom. STDs were one thing but pregnancy would be a disaster. It’s not easy getting an abortion in my country. It’s technically legal though various states keep chipping away at the law that makes it difficult.

I met Trevor when I was thirty-eight years old. We got married two years later. We had agreed on no kids but I got pregnant despite an IUD and Trevor was ecstatic.

“We’re going to be parents,” he said. He didn’t even ask me if I wanted the child. I loved Trevor and I didn’t want to disappoint him or make him angry. So I had a baby.

The nurse placed her in my arms and I felt her tiny throbbing life. It was quite special. We took her home and then the crying began. The diaper changing. The constant focus on her. One night I looked at her while she was sleeping and realized she wasn’t the universe. She is not everything or the best thing I did. She was a human being who would eventually be an adult who might be needy or a jerk. My baby was not everything or the best thing I have ever done. I cried watching her sleep because society or culture insist that I should be madly in love with her or think she is the best thing in the world and I felt none of that. Nobody wants to hear about that.

I walked softly to bed and cried some more. My child was not everything. Was I an awful human being? I wanted to start a blog. Children Are Not Everything. I knew there were people out there who would agree but a blog is a lot of work and I already had a baby that was a lot of work so I tabled the idea. I will just keep being a mom. A capable mom. Not the best mom. I cried some more and my husband flopped in bed. It’s a secret. I am not the best mom.


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