You know, these days with social media – on Mother’s day, Facebook fills up with all these women praising their mothers to the moon and back. I’ve never understood that. I can’t relate to having a mother worth praising like that. I know people feeling sorry for me because of that, and I don’t understand that either.
When I was a child, a teenager and in my twenties, I always thought I’d be dead very early as an adult. I couldn’t see past the next three or so years. I didn’t talk about it with my parents, but secretely, that’s how I felt. When I began high school (swedish version), I couldn’t see myself going to collage or university. Or work, or have a family, for that matter.
I don’t know why my parents chose to have children. I cannot even begin to imagine what my dad saw in mom, making him think she’d be at least a fairly good mother. Sometimes I wonder why it’s even allowed for anyone to have children.
Having grown up with my specific parents and having inherited patterns that I disagree with, yet have such a hard time getting rid of, I decided quite early that I would not have children of my own. There were couple of years when I worked as a portrait photographer, photographing toddlers between six and twelve months, where I swayed. Toddlers that age are adorably cute. But I stood my ground and made the decision – I am not going to destroy a child by what I’ve learned from my mother in particular.
Because I know in smallest detail how I think and feel about my mother. I couldn’t bear the guilt of having a child who’d think the same about me. I just couldn’t do it – and the risk would’ve been too great. Some twenty, twentyfive years ago, just about the time when I was in the beginning of my emotional journey, I was not ready to have a child. I was too deeply rooted in the ways I was brought up with, and I knew it. You have no idea how grateful I am that I actually did know this.
Because I’ve seen what happens with the children of people who grew up with narcissistic parents. It’s not a given that it ends up well – on the contrary. I know of someone who lost both their children to social services, and the only reason for that is because they didn’t know how to be parents – they never learned, so how could they? It’s extremely tragic, and equally difficult to do anything about. We all know it’s impossibly to fix a narcissist, and children to narcissists – at least some of them, become narcissists themselves.
I am immensely grateful that I don’t have children. Sure, there are downsides to it. With both mom and dad dead and gone, with pretty much no contact (except with one sister on mom’s side) with any of my (step-) siblings, I am quite lonely. It does suck having no family, especially since I am also being single since many, many years.
But I wouldn’t trade it for the world, to have a child wounded by my own lack of ability to be a parent. If I had a child now, at fortyfive, I think I may be wise enough to make it, but at twentyfive, I’d have been a lousy mother.
And this is pretty much the one and only reason why I chose not to have children. I do not want to put the weight of my own upbringning – and that’s one heavy weight, on the shoulders of an innocent child. I just wouldn’t do it – and I didn’t. I have to admit I am immensely proud of just that.
Now, I realize that perhaps my upbringing was different from yours. Perhaps all the crap I learned was different from yours. Perhaps I am a weaker person because it’s taken me so long to begin to actually recover. I’m not saying that no victim of narcissistic abuse from their parents should not have children. I’m just saying that I chose not to, because of how I grew up. I think it’s possible to be an amazing parent – just not for me. I have enormous amounts of empathy – just not the right kind of empathy to be a mother.
What I do believe, however, is that anyone who’s grown up with a narcissistic parent, should take a really good look at themselves before having children. Are we ready? Are we done with ourselves to the degree where we can raise a child without handing over these patterns we learned ourselves? Are we ready to deal with the consequences if we somehow fail to be the healthy, generous and loving parents we want to be?
Because, and in this I can only relate to my mother and other people I know, when we plan for children, we should plan to have them because we want THEM, not because we want an endless supply of unconditional love. If we want children for that endless supply – that’s when I think we’re on the wrong path.
However. Don’t take my opinions for anything else than – opinions. I do feel quite strongly about this, I’ll admit that. But whatever you choose to do is your own choise and your life. And if you’re reading on this blog, I take the liberty to assume that you’re more on the recovery path than the survival path – and that’s a really, really good thing. ♥
As for myself; if I find a guy who has children, they are most likely going to be at least halfway grown up. Even if I am not a mother, I can see myself as a step-grandmother. 🙂
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