A guest post by ninersgirl.
My friend recently had a baby. Savannah was born two months early, due to several difficulties that my friend had during her pregnancy. Mom has gone back to work full-time, and I have become Savannah’s full-time caretaker. Although Savannah was a planned pregnancy, my role in her life was not. I love this little baby, but I am also feeling very overwhelmed by unexpected “motherhood.”
Savannah is a fairly easy-going baby. She has no health problems. She’s generally very predictable (eat, sleep, poop, repeat). Some days Savannah is crankier than others, and some days I swear she hates me. But on the whole, she’s a good baby.
I have never wanted to have my own children. I like sleeping in, I love a tasty cigarette, and I curse like it’s my job. I’m not what you would call “motherhood material.” I am totally honest about the fact that I’m selfish, which is a big reason why I have never considered getting knocked up and raising a baby.
My plans have taken a back seat for a while because I’m in a position to help a friend. She can’t afford full-time daycare, and I want to be supportive. Compassion aside, I keep asking myself why I said “yes.” Last week I had a little panic attack when the baby wouldn’t stop screaming. I got a little dizzy and thought, “I can’t do this.” Fortunately, my partner was home and could take the baby off my hands for a few minutes. I don’t know how single women manage to do it.
Full-time care giving has definitely reaffirmed my pro-choice beliefs. Some women (myself included) aren’t ready to be mothers. Some women feel overwhelmed by the children they already have. And some women are stuck in bad relationships. Whatever their reasons, I support their right to decide when parenting is appropriate for them.
I’m really struggling to be a good friend and a good “aunty” right now. I love Savannah, but I don’t know that I’m cut out to take care of her full-time. At least I have the option to walk away – if she were my own baby, I couldn’t shirk the responsibility.
If you’ve ever felt overwhelmed by care giving, how have you managed to deal with your feelings? Has your own experience with motherhood contributed to your pro-choice beliefs? I’d love to hear your point of view.