That’s an unfair question. I’m not sleeping well lately and I got woken up by someone deciding they want to have a baby (because they think they’re getting fat, and everyobdy is having them right now).
Basically, I think you’re potentially right. And I’m jealous.
And that eats me up inside each and every day. To me it seems a cruel twist of fate that I can never, ever be the thing I probably most want to be.
That may sound a bit full on, but I do thing motherhood is the most amazing thing in the world. One of the biggest miracles of life (the miracle of life itself?) is the presence inside every organism of the facility for making more organisms.
That this then ends up in humanity (and many, many other species) as a whole package of instincts that encourage a bond between families, and particularly between mother and child, is just icing on the cake.
We look after our young. We care for and love them. That’s instinctive and natural. It certainly appears to turn the upper middle class in to self centred arrogant arseholes, but then, who isn’t.
There’s things I don’t like about the family unit. I don’t like the inward turning nature of it in our society. In fact, I tend to favour, at least conceptually, the idea of communal social structures (relatively small scale) for the raising of children. I just think it allows an amount of social schooling that is just not accounted for in our selfish society.
But I’m getting massively distracted.
This isn’t about me, this isn’t about society. It’s about motherhood.
And actually, it’s at least partly about society.
The thing is, that mothers start off with an incredible bond with a child. The act of housing a baby inside your body. The act of letting it go. It’s a painful, messy baptism for the relationship but it creates a bond that cannot be matched by any social bond formed later.
Marriage, love, partnership, conception, sex, trust, affection, promises, mutuality, support.
These are the things that bond a father to a mother.
Compared to the things that bond a mother and child, they are meaningless.
A mother is only a single mother in that she is something that exists in a duality, but that duality is mother and child, not mother and anything else.
Perhaps there is hope. Let’s face it, I don’t have experience of this. And if my desire to have children is anything to go by, I suspect I will be a good father, if given the chance.
I’m even tempted to find a career minded woman who will support me while I stay at home and look after the house and the children.
I want some structure where we are both involved utterly in ensuring the most loved children ever.
I’m hope you can see how much stuff I’m ignoring here, in favour of feeling sorry for myself.
But then, you did upset me.
Illustration by Maria.