Parenthood: “a reassuring kind of immortality that fills an existential void”. Huh? I must be sipping on something different. Because since becoming a mum four months ago I cannot stop pondering the reality that is – my mortality.
If anything, I feel more mortal now than ever.
I can assure you that nothing puts a damper on motherhood quite like lying in bed at night inundated with visions of your impending demise. I wonder, why? How come when all the new mothers around me are ogling over their new ‘bundles of joy’, I am lying in bed at night worried about cancer (and the rest), how long I will be around for her and – of course- GOD? These thoughts are usually followed swiftly by self-reassurances that I am not ‘that old’ and that I still have plenty of time and how tomorrow, tomorrow, I am going to start exercising, eating better and quit all my nasties in some sort of bid to reclaim some level of comfort. Huh! As if and…if only.
Is the reality that all people feel this way all the time regardless whether you’re a parent or not, or does parenthood just act as some sort of welcome distraction from our usual self-obsession? Or maybe, being a mum (at least) is supposed to be some sort of comfort in itself?
But of course there’s nothing biologically significant of having a baby; believe it or not, it’s all we are made for. See now there’s where I feel a sense of confliction. If we are made to have babies, then why live after reproduction? Why not semelparous – like some salmon?
I guess that it is because humans, like other large mammals, are k-selective which means that we are generally larger, live longer and produce a small amount of offspring which often require extensive parental care until they mature. So I guess I just answered my own question. Or did I?
It doesn’t explain why I am not eating my slice of the immortality pie! So, perhaps only if you believe that having children in some way provides you with a little slice of immorality, can you reap this comfort and it is my own vanity that prevents me from accepting a duck as a duck.