Recently, a friend sent me the following. I thought you might enjoy it as much as I did. —John C. Willke, MD
“We’re sitting at lunch when my daughter casually mentions that she and her husband are thinking of starting a family. ‘We’re taking a survey,’ she says, half-joking. ‘Do you think I should have a baby?’ ‘It will change your life,’ I say carefully, keeping my tone neutral. ‘I know,’ she says, ‘no more sleeping in on weekends; no more spontaneous vacations.’
“I look at her carefully manicured nails and stylish suit and think that, no matter how sophisticated she is, becoming a mother will reduce her to the primitive level of a bear protecting her cub; that an urgent call of ‘Mom!’ will cause her to drop a souffle or her best crystal without a moment’s hesitation. I feel that I should warn her that no matter how many years she’s invested in her career, she will be professionally derailed by motherhood.
“She might arrange for childcare, but one day she’ll be going to an important business meeting and she’ll think of her baby’s sweet smell, and she’ll have to use every ounce of her discipline to keep from running home just to make sure her baby is all right. Looking at my attractive daughter, I want to assure her that eventually she will shed the pounds of pregnancy, but she’ll never feel the same about herself that her life, now so important, will be of less value to her once she has a child; that she would give it up in a moment to save her offspring. But she’ll also begin to hope for more years, not to accomplish her own dreams but to watch her children accomplish theirs.
“I want her to know that a Caesarian scar or shiny stretch marks will become badges of honor. My daughter’s relationship with her husband will change, but not in the way she thinks. I wish she could understand how much more you can love a man who is careful to powder the baby and who never hesitates to play with his child. I think she should know that she’ll fall in love with him again, but for reasons she now would find very unromantic.
“I wish my daughter could sense the bond she will feel with women throughout history who have tried to stop war and prejudice and drunk driving. And I hope she understands why I can think rationally about most issues, but become temporarily insane when I discuss the threat of war to my children’s future.
“I want to describe to my daughter the exhilaration of seeing your child learn to ride a bike. I want to capture for her the belly laugh of a baby who is touching the soft fur of a dog or cat for the first time. I want her to taste the joy that is so real it actually hurts.
“My daughter’s quizzical look makes me realize that tears have formed in my eyes. I finally say, ‘You’ll never regret it.’ And then I reach across the table, squeeze my daughter’s hand and offer a silent prayer for herand for meand for all of the mere mortal women who stumble their way into this most wonderful of callings this blessed gift from God that of being a mother.” Author unknown.