I always knew I wanted children, but for me, things happened a bit later. For many years, I was focused on “standing on my own two feet” by ensuring I had a real career or skill I could always fall back on. I was raised by two parents who were immigrants with limited education and because of it, we struggled. Even as a young child, I knew I didn’t like that struggle and wanted to get out of that cycle. I had my daughter when I was 37 year old, which was then followed by a few miscarriages and pregnancy losses (including one related to a congenital heart defect). I am now pregnant again at 40, and we are praying this pregnancy will result in a healthy baby.
For me, motherhood was utterly shocking to the system. A month after my daughter was born, I wondered why no one had really warned me or spoken about how jarring first time motherhood could be. My entire life, I was a very focused and goal orientated person. I always knew what my next move would be, and at 37 (pre-baby) – I felt very grounded and sure of the track I was on. And then, my daughter was born.
All of the sudden, I doubted everything and start questioning all my life’s choices. As a libra (and lawyer), this was torturous because the internal debates I would have in my head (and still do have) felt endless with no resolution. There are days I still don’t feel like I am providing the stability my family deserves because of all the open ended questions I grapple with (such as, are we living in the right place; are the people helping me raise my daughter the right people; private or public school; city or suburb; etc.)
Many say that as long as you are doing your best, that’s good enough – and for the most part, that seems to be a reasonable position to take given that if you’re doing your best – you theoretically are at maximum effort. For me, it’s the cross roads and decision forks you come up to along the way where the real stress of motherhood comes in (e.g., I’ll do my best once we settle – but where do we lay roots – in the city or the suburb?) There are no easy answers of course, and every decision is based on numerous factors, but one thing I have found to be true is awareness and deliberation as the way forward.
Being aware of the issues, applying your own personal factors and coming to a conclusion after deliberation is probably doing your best when dealing with life’s cross roads and decision forks.