Sunday, September 12, 2004

Offspring....On Purpose?

I have to ask myself , "Why am I doing this again?" Being a mother is basically agreeing to become someone's indentured servant for at least six years, with no pay.
But seriously:
Is it genetic?
Is it that the species exists primarially to xerox themselves? Darwin's theory of why we have children - a rage against mortality, a will to survive time - seems strangely abstract, almost irrelevant to our day to day lives where decisions get made. Who, after all, sits down with their spouse and says, "I'm really afraid of going the way of the dinosaurs, sweetie, Lets get pregnant."
This may not be the case for the argument of adoption alone. We seem to have a biological drive to connect with babies, this is true even if the child is not ours. Scores of infertile couples go on to adopt children. clearly they are motivated by something other than genetic narcissism. The very phenomenon of adoption makes it clear that there are other forces at work. We seem to need children in our lives for multifaceted, nuanced reasons that have as much to do with soul as with flesh.
Does parenthood give us purpose?
We want children in our lives, it's a big part of what we feel it means to be an adult. It's about being able to take care of someone other than yourself. It's about realizing that you're not the most important person in the world. Parenting brings meaning to our lives and expands us beyond ourselves. Childless people even find other ways of parenting -weather with others' children, their own pets, or their choice of career - which only goes to show how strong the drive to parent
What about our need to conform?
Do social pressures cause those of us to want to fit in to have children? We are human, we seek approval from our parents, our peers and society "norms" conform us.
In the end , why we have children may not matter. Why questionwhat is "natural" Maybe God created our sex drive to be as strong as it is so there would be a next generation. Maybe we were duped. :) Ah, who cares? Childrearing brings joy, pain, laughter, sleepless nights, love, worry, humor, drama, and lets face it, excitement of all kinds into our lives. Life would be boring if it was all about ourselves.
I am always surprised by the passion that motherhood has brought into my life. The real pull, though, happened for me once my first son was born. Love took over, and I never, ever knew I could love so deeply or consistently. And I was afraid to have more children, because on some level, I didn't really think I could love another child as much. I didn't think I had the capicity in my heart to duplicate what I already felt. My heart would burst.
After boy #2, the same intense love and dedication is now two-fold; but not at all too intense or overwhelming for my soul, just comforting and peaceful. I now have even a greater capacity for love. With the possibilty of a third chid in the horizon. I am within' the realm of understanding of how Heavanly Father can love each and every one of his children the very same; more than we will ever understand; More than our children will ever understand, before that is, they become parents themselves.