What I Want You to Know is a series of reader submissions. It is an attempt to allow people to tell their personal stories, in the hopes of bringing greater compassion to the unique issues each of us face. If you would like to submit a story to this series, click here. Today’s guest posts is by Dragon Mama..
Have you ever just known that you didn't like something without ever trying it? Of course you have, otherwise you would still be in junior college taking "Intro into ____" classes to rule out every possible career choice ever! The truth is all of us have the ability to determine if certain things just aren't meant for us. Of course this kind of inner wisdom comes from years of actually trying stuff, and weighing the outcomes. For example, at 31 years old and 31 years of NOT mastering the English language (spelling in particular) or any form of eye-foot coordinating activities (soccer, dancing...) I can confidently say that a career as an English teacher or soccer coach would not be a good fit for me. Even though I've never actually sought after either of those career options.
Do you have small hands? Should you become a proctologist? Not if you aren't medically minded, or one for health care, people, ick factors....
As a child, my family owned a VHS taped titled The Reluctant Dragon. It was a beautiful story about a namby-pamby dragon that was more into tea parties and ball room dancing than battling knights and blowing fire. Eventually the Dragon, under extraordinarily stressful circumstances, finds himself behaving more like a "real dragon" and in the end establishes some kind of balance between fulfilling his potential as a scaly, green monster and his softer side.
For me, I have never wanted to be a mother. And I have been called a monster for saying as much. But I've always felt it was not for me. And I feel like I gave the idea a lot of thought. One of my first jobs (at the age of 14!) was to work in my churches child care. I watched babies, and toddlers, some older kids...There were babysitting gigs, and I even worked at a pre-school for over a year! And I was always so thankful that I didn't have kids of my own. I have younger cousins, and my spouses families kids too. But in all of my time spent with children it was never something that I wanted for myself.
Its like my friend who has a cat. I am a pet nurse by trade and I know SOOO much about cats I could overwhelm you with the knowledge I have on them. But I look at my friends cat, and I say, its not for me. I'm not really into them. I mean, I can care for them, heal them, nurse them back to life...But I'm not a cat person. They're ok, but just not for me.
Same thing with horses. People are wild about horses! For me, they're ok. They serve a purpose, but I'm not really into them. Would I ever be mean to a horse, or a cat? No. I just don't want one of my own. Does that mean if I'm around horses or cats I'm cruel to them? No, I just don't want one of my own.
And I've always known being a mom was something I didn't want to do. Even now as my friends are all married off and starting to have off-spring of their own, I am more interested in how they are decorating their nurseries than what will be occupying said nursery.
But, like my friend the Reluctant Dragon, some wildly stressful circumstances have been in the works and ultimately the outcome will be that I will be a foster mom very soon.
What?! How did this happen?! But what about not wanting to actually be a parent?!
I know, its hard to explain. But ultimately it comes down to a husband that after years of going along with my D.I.N.K. lifestyle, had a heart breaking change of heart. Three years of struggling with feelings and emotions, (anger, guilt, regret, blame, bargaining with God...) later and we are at a place where I can surrender and Husband can support.
Anyone who has ever been in a position to serve knows the complete satisfaction of giving/living for someone else. Anyone who is (happily) married knows what I mean when I say putting others needs/wishes/wants ahead of my own will ultimately be more satisfying and fulfilling than living to serve myself ever could be. Its some kind of universal secret equation that God created. Giving myself away, living for someone else will end up making me the happiest. So... we're becoming foster parents with the intent to adopt a child should the fit be right and the opportunity present itself.
No, I'm not suddenly baby obsessed. It wasn't like I took some pill to change all of my feelings on the matter. But I am ok with looking into my husbands eyes and telling him I will help him raise a child that needs a family. And I am at peace with telling God that this is scary, and that if He continues to make all this possible, then I will continue to be faithful and surrender.
This decision has been hard, I'm not going to sugar coat this. Sometimes its actually harder to have people happy or excited for us when this is such a struggle for me. And I wonder what I should say when they say "Oh I'm so happy for you!" or "I can't wait for you to get placed with a child!" For now I just say "thank you. " and I just keep lifting the situation up in prayer and asking God to carry the burden. Being a foster parent, as opposed to being pregnant is a daily choice to stay a parent. Once your pregnant, you're locked in. There's no going back, or changing your mind. But fostering means at any minute of any day I can place one phone call and end it all. Done. That "freedom" of backing out makes being The Reluctant Mommy very hard.
Added to the normal mommy stresses are the added steps required for "parenting" a ward of the state. A biological mother would never be forced to mount a ridiculously hideous fire extinguisher on her kitchen wall, or get TB tested, or take her child to court ordered family visits. There are dozens of stupid hoops we had to jump through to get to this stage. Some of them costly, some of them painful, some of them just stupid!
I also lost my job because of becoming a foster parent. We are waiting for a call to tell us to come pick up our kid. I told my boss over two months ago, that once we get to this part in the process, it could mean that I'd have to leave suddenly to go get said child. That may mean leaving in the middle of the day, in the middle of a shift. And depending on the child's needs and /or age it might mean me not returning for at least a few days. Maybe longer. Well, because of that uncertainty, my boss handed me a "Notice of Resignation" form and asked me to fill it out stating it "was just too hard to keep you scheduled knowing that you might leave at any moment". So I was fired basically.
I love what I do, and I worked really hard to become an RVT. Loosing my job over becoming a foster mom, is particularly cruel.
I'm not setting out to break any "worlds best mom" records, and I know that some women are cringing at the idea of me becoming a mom when I'm not crazy about kids. But lots of people become moms when they don't want to be. And I know that I can offer a safe and loving home to a child that wouldn't have one otherwise.
I guess what I want you to know is having a desire to have children is not promised to you as a woman or wife, and having a child doesn't mean you particularly wanted one in the first place. But like moving to some awful climate for your husbands job, you make sacrifices for your family. Becoming a mom for my husband is my sacrifice.