It said, “This Woman Walked Out on Motherhood.” Knowing how sensational news headlines could be, I gave the video the benefit of the doubt by clicking on it.
It was about Rahna Rizzuto and how, during a short time away from her family, she decided she no longer wanted to be a wife and mother. It talked about how she, after six months in Japan, divorced her husband and moved away to focus on her career. She claimed she had lost herself and wanted to give herself priority. Besides, she never wanted to be a mother anyway. Now, years later, she’s back in her sons’ lives. She says she spends quality time with them and that works for her. And her children are happy and well-adjusted, thank you very much.
Did anyone else notice how many times she referred to herself and what she wanted?
At the end of the video clip, I looked over at my husband and announced, “I think I’m going to Japan.” He looked at me like I was crazy. I would hope he looked that way because he knows I could never do that. Indeed, how could I walk away from my own heart?
The darkest period, I would venture to guess, in the years of our marriage would be the weeks after we had Elijah. Two weeks after I gave birth by cesarean section, Steve had to go back to work. Still healing, I would get up each day to take care of a newborn, a four-year-old, and myself. Steve did all he could, cooking at night and trying to get everything ready for the day. Still, I had more on my plate than I could deal with. What made it worse was that I had stopped taking my pain medication because the mood swings were alarming. Popping Advil and Motrin did little to ease the pain. I remember walking around haltingly, one hand pressing on my cut to ease the pain, and doing what I had to do.
Before this turns into a soliloquy, let me explain that I tell this story because I have a point to make. Through all the years of staying home with my boys, of wearing pajamas all day, of not having a social life, of having to do household chores, somehow it never got easier. But nothing worthwhile ever is.
Some people thought I had it made. I heard catty back-stabbers thought I was lazy to be staying at home while my husband worked his **** off. And did I think the daycare wasn’t good enough for my kids? Aside from being selfish, I heard I was uppity and thought my kids were all that.
But I would wake up at in the morning and wonder what my friends were doing. I would look at my wardrobe and see only jeans and sweats. I would count the years and wonder when my time would come. “Going to the office” was a phrase that sounded so appealing to me, but so far from my reach.
The truth is, becoming a mother IS the hardest thing I have ever done. But I can say, now that I’ve gone through all these, that I have absolutely no regrets about my choice(s).
Did I lose myself? I’m sure I did. But the person I’ve become after staying and seeing it through is a better person. And the rewards I am starting to enjoy make my life more meaningful. Let me never say I’d do it all over again. But I’m glad I did, and I am thankful I never quit.
Will I have a career after? I don’t know. But I am working on it. It’s harder to juggle things, to go to school at night and on the weekends and stay up late to study. But my grades are tops, something I never even attempted to care about back in college.
Will I ever achieve my dreams? I’ve living some of them now. And while the rest remain unfulfilled, I choose to leave that up to my Father, the God who orders the universe, the One who knows best. I trust He’s got my back.
I think now of a conversation that took place some time ago. A lady friend was single and pregnant. After having her baby, she went back to her old life–apparently the clubs weren’t as fun without her there. When asked why she didn’t stay home to take care of her child her eyes flashed, “Do I no longer have the right to be happy?” The memory of her words still get to me. The cost of a pack of condoms would be nothing compared to the price her child has to pay as he grows up without his mother’s constant care.
Aborted, unwanted, abandoned or displaced children–they are the results of a couple’s careless, selfish actions. In many ways, the selfishness continues as both parties escape the consequences of their actions.
Children are born without their consent. So why should they have to bear the consequences? It wasn’t by any act they did that they enter this world. Wanted or not, they open their eyes to a life that they will eventually have to take responsibility for. How it must hurt to know from the start that you were never wanted.
I think about Ms. Rizzuto’s claim that she never wanted children anyway. I wonder at society’s willingness to let that slide. The fact of the matter is, she did have children. And if indeed those two boys have grown up to be well-adjusted and happy, it is no small thanks to the father (and his second wife, perhaps) that they are. Ms. Rizzuto is back to enjoy the fruit of her ex-husband’s sacrifices. Isn’t it ironic that she is the one being given the voice to speak on alternative parenting? This makes me sick to my guts.
I’m sorry, but we’re supposed to face up to the consequences of our actions. If you have a child, you’re responsible for that child’s life. It’s a responsibility that can’t be dismissed just because you changed your mind and prefer to go another way. Not even abortion can make things go back to the way they were. How can they when you’ve just committed murder?
I believe that much of society’s ills can be traced back to our selfishness and habit of shirking responsibility. And in cases where children are involved, there are no excuses.
This isn’t easy for me to write. It’s been so hard, and I’m not kidding myself into thinking it’ll get easier from here on. I’ve heard it actually gets harder. But I’m a mother–my boys’ only mother–and I won’t let them down. I won’t let my Father down.