The idea of my own death (and by that I suppose I mean my life) is starting to have a new meaning. In a certain deep and biological sense I’m allowed to die now. Of course my genes want more and more and more babies, but going from zero to one is a much bigger biological deal than from one to two and so on. My genes are like, by all means don’t stop but don’t worry about it too much because we’re way better off than we were before. And I think I can feel that.
And yet in another sense I am not allowed to die now; I am a mother. I feel that too.
Before I had a kid I never liked it when people said things like having a child gave their life meaning. I just saw a quote from one of those babycenter emails that said, “It was like I wasn’t even living before I looked at my baby.”
And now that I’m on the other side of it… I still think that’s full-on bullshit. And what does that mean for the childless, intentionally or not? Having a child has enriched my life and oh my god (ohmygod) do I love this kid. But life has to be meaningful and lived in ways independent of children. For their sake as well as ours.
But it is a little different now. Is the “meaning” people are feeling really just our biology? Are our genes speaking to us? Do our cells know? They must. Well done. You did it.
Art credit: Klara Lindahl