After 33 years of marriage, two children, bills, taxes, disease, wars, husbands on active duty and a grown child currently deployed to the Middle East, I can echo that it ain't all easy. We decide to have children, and in a moment of sexual frenzy, presto chango, another human life (or two) enters the world.
It's never easy. Just ask my sister Mariah. She was born in 1949, and round about the mid-seventies she decided, since she was happily married to an equally ready adult, that she wanted to start a family.
Things didn't go especially well. In her first trimester, it was discovered that she'd been exposed to toxoplasmosis. Forget that she didn't have a cat, but strangely, she did have a garden and made the unforgivable error of actually gardening whilst gestating.
She read up on toxoplasmosis and, because she really, really wanted to be a parent, not just a baby boomer with the mandated boomlet, she girded her loins and saw the pregnancy through.
Six weeks early, she gave birth to twins, Pete and Re-pete, and entered the realm of parenting in a parallel universe - that is, the universe of a mother of severely handicapped children.
It wasn't JUST that her kids had been exposed to toxoplasmosis, and it wasn't JUST that her boys had inherited the previously unknown gene (in our families, anyway) of Russell-Silver Syndrome. But there were actually difficulties during delivery. So, at age 26, Mariah was the mother of two children who had issues with severe cerebral palsy, blindness, growth, failure to thrive, abnormal facial shape, you name it.
So began a life long commitment to parenting. In another article, I'll write about the frustrations of being a "special" parent and how society, in general, treats these families. But I do want to take a moment and express that when I started parenting in the 80's, I was told that my contribution to my children's lives was of no particular value, that I was cheating myself, that my brain would atrophy, that my husband would find me boring, ad naseum.
Oddly, that didn't happen. I didn't cheat myself, my brain is just fine, and my husband, thank God, has never found me boring - annoying, bossy, opinionated, cranky, clumsy, sclerosed, etc. YES, but NEVER boring. And since my boys didn't turn into axe-wielding whackos, I figure that I had some positive input into their lives.
Becoming a parent is the best of living. It's also the hardest, most painful, impoverishing, humbling, frustrating and socially demanding thing you do. But once you create another human being, it's never about just you alone.
Life isn't an ABC sitcom. It isn't a Harlequin Romance. And it isn't all about "Moi." It is about drama and it's about "US."
So if you are thinking that you don't especially like raising children, consider not conceiving them in the first place.
They didn't ask to be born. We ask for them!
For more info on Russell-Silver Syndrome go to:
For more info on toxoplasmosis go to: