Art creation vs Pro-creation:
Sometimes I get the feeling half of my relatives are sizing up my torso like a vessel for their future baby friend/family member. I understand why, the thought of it is exciting to most people. There is a reason most married young women have dreams of having a family…just the way they dreamed of a glorious wedding.
Then there is me. I’m not a picket fence type, and i never was. While my friends dreamed up weddings and cute babies and handsome husbands, i couldn’t picture it. Instead i dreamed of owning an old dilapidated home and renting out all the rooms to eccentric strangers while living a kooky artist life, or possibly even devoting the other half of my life to religion.
I really had no plans of getting married, in fact i planned the opposite. As a young adult and even went as far as to carry out bizarre rituals to improve my odds of not EVER finding myself attached. I attended church almost everyday as my primary form of socialization. Secondly I had no physical contact with anyone. Upon someone extending a hand in greeting I would plant mine firmly behind my back and say, rather loudly ” I don’t touch people!” Revealing instantly that I was probably koo koo, and therefore frightening any dating prospects away intentionally. (of course I now realize how hilarious, and effective this notion really was.) Trouble is, I am actually a little bit ocd, and what started as a brilliant plan ended up turning into a very tough to break habit/quirk. I couldn’t touch anyone even hugging family members without a distinct anxiety because isolation had become my new normal.
I had begun moving past that “stay back” quirk (and of course onto other quirks) when I met Christopher…The man I find myself married to now. I like to say I find myself married, because it was more something nice that has happened than something I planned for. Sort of like a happy accident. Now that the decision has been made, I feel pressure from others to sign onto the entire picket fence idea of my peers. and well, that just isn’t me. Sharing my life with someone who loves and cares about me, doesn’t imply that this crazy eccentric person, is magically transformed into a baby popping out Martha Stewart type. Not that there is anything wrong with those ladies, but it certainly isn’t this lady. Being a christian sometimes means being part of a culture of people with a different “ideal life plan” than me, and it can feel alienating.
I’m an artist. most artists aren’t parents, or if they are it isn’t accomplished easily.We make very little and it takes up a gargantuan amount of time. the only creation i foresaw myself taking part in my life was creating making art. maybe you think that is strange, but really it isn’t entirely dissimilar to motherhood. Through making art i feel a strong connection to those around me, to the world, and everyone who views my art. The things i create sometimes feel as though they have a life of their own and I’m merely the steward. there is even the sense that I’m leaving something valuable behind for when I’m no longer here. that is not so different for how hopeful mothers to be feel i imagine. An art mentor once said, (upon my disappointment that a friend had refused to attend my art show) “people don’t understand that creating a new piece of art and wanting others to see it is like having a newborn baby and introducing it to the people in your life”
she hit the nail on the head with that one. but people aren’t excited about things they don’t find meaningful.
I don’t hate the idea of bringing a baby into the world…but I am annoyed at the one-sided attitude people verbally display trying to convince me about it . As if there are only positives to consider, and I will for sure I miss out on a quality life if i chose not to have kids. Mama didn’t raise no fool, i know there are many negatives you do not say. I have had horrifying nightmares about things like stretch marks, being morbidly obese,( i know, its kinda funny) but it can happen. Not to mentions more serious things like postpartum, or dying in childbirth. I use my very body as a form of art with modeling, and I’d prefer my torso not to be sawed in half, or turned into a purple striped watermelon. Secondly I like my breasts the way they currently are, thank you very much. I don’t call that vanity, I call it self-preservation. If I’m going to be a construction site for a human creature, at least lets consider doing it when I have enough money to hire a crew to clean up the damage.
I get that you feel like the positive outweighs those possibilities. I have worked with children for most of my life, primarily toddlers for over 6 years. Although i admit my job included the higher stress level, of watching 14 toddlers in one room for over 8 hours a day in a daycare setting…i wont be in quite the same situation unless i beat the record of octo-mom. I was nanny for a year too. i liked doing both, and I am quite good at these things. So its safe to say I know exactly what the job of being a good mom requires. including being potentially covered in poo and vomit on a daily basis…I also know that pales in comparison to the positives of watching growth and being a part of small daily triumphs. ive experienced both,albeit with other people children.
I don’t look down on moms.But lets be real, being a “mom” isn’t the hardest job in the world. (being a GOOD MOM IS!) just the title of mom, entails becoming impregnated and labor. We all know there are plenty of women who take the easy road. moms who babysit with tv constantly, and provide McDonald’s daily while they watch tv shows, or play candy crush on their cell phones all day. they drop their child at daycare more than they really need to or at random people’s houses while they lounge the day away in stained shirts and baggy sweats that hide their growing dairy-air from the sedentary lifestyle.
Its being a “GOOD mom” that is a very VERY hard job. i see the hard work and dedication of the many great moms around me, and i know It would consume most if not all of my life. i would have to put it ahead of all other things. With my background i wouldn’t be able to, with a clear conscious, be anything other than the very best mom i could be.
Sure,some women balance motherhood work and creative endeavors like a bright yellow bendable smiling Dr. Seuss character, and good for them. But i know i would feel pain and guilt, real division of heart over having to decide between my human creation and my art creations, the first would always win out. that’s why I’m choosing to be an artist right now.
I don’t think my choice should warrant condescending phrases like “you will change your mind”…or questions as to if anything is wrong with me as a possible reason for why I don’t have kids yet. To which I have decided will now respond “I am an alien from Pluto and I have a frozen womb, I actually do give birth to snowflakes twice a year.”I think ridiculous rude questions deserve ridiculous rude answers.
I am not saying I NEVER will be a mother… lets face it, I was saying I would never get married, and I am that. Both myself, and my drivers ed instructor said I would never drive, and I do that, (although not particularly well.) This choice like those,also is mine, and my husbands to make on our own time. It is not the “obvious american dream default choice” that it is made out to be, or one that anyone should be taking lightly. We do not all share the same dreams, so please talk to me like a person, and not merely a vessel for another person. You can start by asking about what art I’ve made instead, of asking about why I still haven’t made a human.