(((this blog post is in response to this article. I know they'll never read it, but...it made me think and I just need to get it out.)))
There are a lot of reasons out there not to have kids. I'm sure that any parent can come up with several.
But I don't know any parent who would have it any other way.
I was going to list off all my reasons for choosing to become a mother, but I realized that it all came down to just one thing: There is an increase of love in my life because of my children.
It's something that you can't really comprehend until you are a parent, but I saw enough evidence of it to be willing to put aside all the superficial things I can't have and do and take the plunge.
I have a good relationship with both my parents. I've been able to see it in their eyes, both when I or my siblings did things they are proud of, but also when we did things that they would have wished we didn't. They loved us even when we misbehaved, even when some of us decided that we disagreed with things they held most important. It didn't matter what we did or who we chose to become, they love us.
I saw it when I babysat. Not only the delight of the child in seeing his or her mother come into the room after an absence, but in the eyes of the mother as well.
You see, in having kids I don't have more love simply because I have more people who love me. I have more love because I am more capable of loving others.
When I got married I didn't think I could possibly love my husband any more than I did right at that moment. But every time I saw his awe looking at an ultrasound screen, or when he touched my growing belly, I loved him even more. We grew closer because of what we were creating together. I loved him more because of how he took care of me when I was more sick than I've ever been in my life. I loved him more deeply seeing the shared grief in his eyes when Cora died and I love him ever more every time I watch him care for and play with Erin and Patrick.
And that extreme morning sickness I think made me love my children all the more. I didn't know how much I could truly love someone I hadn't met until I became pregnant. And as much grief as her death caused and causes me, I learned how to love more and to love better because of Cora. And that has increased with each of her successive siblings.
I am better able to care for the needs of my husband because I have learned how to put my needs and wants aside as I've attended to the demands of my children, who could not do certain things on their own. So I am more willing to do things for Matt that he could probably do for himself since I've learned how to put others first. But that doesn't mean I never get anything I need because he has learned more how to care for me as well.
My capacity to receive love has increased too. For a long time I kept part of myself guarded. I was so afraid of being hurt I couldn't open up completely. But Cora's death taught me that only today is guaranteed so you should give and receive all you can today.
So while my house may, indeed, be cleaner if I didn't have kids; we would probably have more money; we could go out together as often as we wanted, and all of that, I would be less of a person if I didn't have my children. And I would not trade anything for that.