Feeling trapped by motherhood

Feeling trapped by motherhood

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Occasionally I do. And I hate myself for it.

There's so many better, more positive, more politically- correct words I could use to describe this feeling: "challenged, hog tied, confined?"

My sister used to use the word, "trapped," when talking about being home with her small kids on particularly frustrating, sunny afternoons, and I would cringe to hear her say it.

Frankly, I wanted to slap her and say, "What are you talking about? You have two beautiful, healthy children. All your life you have said you wanted to have children. This is your choice. What do you mean "trapped?"

Then I had kids. Funny how the very same word is coming up in my mental vocabulary now and again, whether I like it or not. And so close to mothers day.

I too made a very conscious choice to have children. To say that I didn't know what I was getting myself into is to be dishonest. Perhaps I couldn't really imagine it clearly or in any great detail, but I knew it. I knew it.

But no one can really know what it is to be responsible for the welfare of another completely- dependent human being until they do it. And, I wonder, can anyone be responsible for the welfare of another, completely-dependent human being without ever feeling, if just a wee bit... well, trapped?

Maybe it has something to do with accepting you're a grownup. Never is it more clear that your innocent, aimless, meandering youth is gone than when you find yourself committed to raising a newborn baby, or two, into adulthood.

I first experienced this feeling when I was just home from the hospital with a newborn. At that point, my thoughts were almost morbid and definitely driven by hormones and lack of sleep. I couldn't get this one image out of my brain of my tiny, helpless baby who couldn't even lift her own head, crying and crying and no one coming to pick her up. What if something happened to me, or Ian? What would happen to her?

It was like a light, or a really loud gong, went off in my head. Then a voice that said. "Tag, you're it. And you're it for life."

I still have these moments. Sometimes in the evenings when the kids are wound up and I am winding down, it hits me hard that if I don't initiate bedtime they will get more and more wound up until they eventually just implode in a big giant, flaming ball of snot, tears and dirt. Then I think, in the words of David Byrne, in his song, aptly titled Once in a Lifetime,: "My God, What have I done?"

What I've done is become a mom. Countless women have done it before me. And, no doubt, countless women have had these same, silly concerns, then woken up one day to discover that, poof, their kids are gone. And it sure felt good to be needed like that.

family self portrait, taken one particularly goofy afternoon, using Mac photo book

Opinions expressed by parent contributors are their own.

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