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Letters

From a Mother...


We are sitting at lunch when my daughter casually
mentions that she and her husband are thinking of
"starting a family". "We're taking a survey," she
says, half-joking. "Do you think I should have a
baby?"

"It will change your life," I say, carefully keeping
my tone neutral.
"I know," she says, "no more sleeping in on
weekends, no more spontaneous vacations...."

But that is not what I meant at all. I look at my
daughter, trying to decide what to tell her. I
want her to know what she will never learn in
childbirth classes. I want to tell her that the
physical wounds of child bearing will heal, but
that becoming a mother will leave her with an
emotional wound so raw that she will forever be
vulnerable.

I consider warning her that she will never again
read a newspaper without asking "What if that had
been MY child?" That every plane crash, every
house fire will haunt her. That when she sees
pictures of starving children, she will wonder
if anything could be worse than watching your
child die.

I look at her carefully manicured nails and stylish
suit and think that no matter how sophisticated she
is, becoming a mother will reduce her to the
primitive level of a bear protecting her cub.

That an urgent call of "Mom!" will cause her to drop
a soufflé or her best crystal without a moment's hesitation.

I feel I should warn her that no matter how many
years she has invested in her career, she will be
professionally derailed by motherhood.                 


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