I was in second- or third-year university, and in a serious relationship.
A mutual guy friend said to me, “you’re going to make a great mother one day.”
I can’t remember the circumstances that led up to him saying those words. I knew it was supposed to be a kind remark, but it kneed me in the gut.
What he meant as a compliment, I took as a curse.
“No man wants to marry a mother,” I blurted back.
For years I’d struggled with the mis-understanding that I could only get a man interested (and to stay) if I used my body to convince him. There was nothing about the nurturing, mothering characteristics I held so deeply inside that I thought were worth a man admiring. If I showed too much care, kindness or maternal instinct, I supposed I’d end up alone.
What a tangled web we weave when we only have our own thoughts to believe.
I’m not even sure where along the way I became convinced of this un-truth: that as a woman it was more admirable to chase after a career than faun over the desire for family. This idea, along with the one that my ‘body-is-power’, shaped many decisions in my early adult life. Many of those decisions have made me who I am today.
Would I do them again?
Perhaps allowing the softer, feminine, nurturing side of myself out of hiding would have led me down a different path. At least one that resonated more with when I feel the most like me.
My nurturing outlet these days is my sweet nephews. Three little faces who bring me such joy.
Their laughter is mine. Their tears are mine.
Their questions about life and pain I get to help answer.
Just recently, my brother-in-law commented that I "look like a natural" holding a baby in one arm, while cooking and corralling toddlers at the same time. This time it wasn't a gut kick. More of a yearning heart was my internal response.
And so, I am thankful for that one time, someone told me I’d be a good mother.