“Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.” » Elizabeth Stone
This was one of the first quotes I read when I had my baby. It rang true then and rings true even more today.
I cannot identify the exact moment when my identity so heavily embraced the role of mother and has only grown into it since. Its an identity I never thought about much before I had a child but has grown like a crown, giving me reason for pride and responsibility in equal measure.
I’ve met many people since who have children, are expecting or have elected not to have a child. What started as initial curiosity in understanding why somebody had a child (or didn’t) has turned into a serious analysis as more and more answers from parents often point back to themselves – as perhaps would have been the case for me if i ever consciously asked myself the same earlier. Very few people actually think of parenting as the divine gift of nurturing another life, pouring love and wonder into it and gaining life back in equal measure. Its often the same answers
- Its time to have a kid, my biological clock is ticking
- It will be nice to have a child after so many years of marriage
- My spouse really wants one, although I’m not so sure
- It just happened
- A baby completes our family ….
There is the odd “I love children and would love to have one of my own” but its few and far between. As i sat reflecting, I realized that so many people make this enormous decision to bring another life into the world, with very little knowledge of the immense responsibility they are taking upon themselves, causing for their child and thrusting upon the rest of the world.
In time I have turned the question back to myself – From having had the privilege to have a child, what do I want for my child (truly for her alone) and what do i want for the world around her? The deeper I delve the question demands more selfless answers. I’ve finally reached a point where I realize what I want for her – it encompasses love and courage and kindness in great measure. It wraps up confidence in Christ and in herself in a way that will hold her steady all her life. It has inner peace and immense potential, hard work and integrity, compassion and empathy working for her happiness and those around her. And while I may have started unraveling the answers for my child, I am acutely conscious that it is I who holds the power to give it to her – in moments of happiness and worry and through tears and failures, it is I who will have to role model and teach it for her to be able to reach out and imbibe it. Only if I can have those values, can I pass them onto my child.
How amazing that in setting out to gift her the best of the world, I have to also gift it to myself. I guess this is why so many people say that children bring out the best in you, because they ensure you gift back to yourself what you started out to give them.
Today, when i meet friends and family, I take the liberty to ask, “What would you want for your child, and for the world by choosing to have a child and what are you consciously doing about it?” And as they ponder their answer,I recall the quote “While we try to teach our children all about life, our children teach us what life is all about.” #GiftTheLight