When you are not instintively maternal

I have a good friend at boot camp, Linette. She is in her late-30s and is funny, sweet and successful. She also chose not to have children.

Now, for some women this is not puzzling to me because they are just not “kid people.” But Linette is a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) and selflessly helps children in need.

I finally asked her about it one day and she responded, “Even though I love kids, I just never felt that maternal instinct to have my own and I thought that was an important part of the process.”

I could relate. Ten years ago, having children was the last thing on my mind. And being Mormon where most women seem to be born breeders, I was an anomaly. I wanted a career. I wanted to travel. I did not want to be tied down. I find it ironic that the thing I spent the entirety of my 20s running away from is that which has brought me the most joy in my 30s.

But I have never been that woman to coo and paw over other people’s babies. Newborns in particular freaked me out and I have always felt more comfortable with older children. When Hurricane Hadley was born, Jamie and I anxiously gazed at her and simultaneously queried, “What now?” To make matters worse, she was a tough, colicky baby and though I loved her, I never really felt bonded to her for the longest time.

Jamie and I felt strongly we are supposed to have three children so when it came time to get pregnant, I did it without much enthusiasm (as opposed to Jamie who has always been gung-ho over the baby-making process. :-) The next 40 weeks were filled with some excitement yet mostly apprehension that I would give birth to another Hurricane who would level me as Hadley had.

But the moment Bode was born and they placed him in my arms, I felt it. That moment so many mothers talk about – when they instantly fall in love with their new baby and feel that bond. I remember thinking, “So this is what it is all about.”

We are on the precipice of getting pregnant again. Last week at church, I grabbed someone’s infant to play with him – something I rarely do. And as I gazed down at that slobbering face, those burgeoning cheeks and sumo arms, I felt it: that maternal instinct. For the first time, I felt absolutely overwhelmed that I wanted a final child.

As Jamie and I snuggled in bed that night, I relayed my experience to him.

“Well, congratulations Amber. It sounds like your maternal instinct is finally kicking in.”

“Yeah, and it only me took four years and two kids to get it!”

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