One of the first things most people tell you when you tell them you are considering a baby is this: You can't give it back. And it's true. Making the decision to have a baby is one of the only permanent decisions you will ever make. So what happens when you honestly don't like your child or love them as you should?
Most of us parents can't even imagine that. But one mom told Redbook (and then MSNBC) that she never liked her daughter. For most of us, the idea is unimaginable. I love my children so much at times, it can feel hard to breathe. And yet, I have heard parents who are being very, very honest ask that question:
What if you have your baby and then find out you weren't cut out for motherhood? What do you do then?
It's a great question and one with no answer. In the case of the Redbook article, she did adore one child, but had trouble loving the other one, so it really was only one child. It has to be possible, right? Some personalities just don't jive. You can pick friends, but you can't pick family, and as someone who has multiple family members I loathe, I know this better than anyone.
But lying aunts, insane uncles, stalker and racist cousins are easy to cut off, especially when they live far away, but a child? Not so much. So what do you do?
The mom in Redbook sought help. She felt something was wrong with her daughter and, as it turned out, there was. She had a hormone deficiency that required shots. Once she had those shots, she was a different child. Their stories have a happy ending, but many don't. Look at Casey Anthony or Susan Smith. There are consequences to not liking or loving your child.
The fact is, you bring a child into the world, you have to find a way to love him or her. You don't have to have the same personality and you don't even have to always like them (especially in those teen years), but you do have to love them. Even in the hard times when they're driving you nuts (which is normal, by the way), you still have to love them at heart.
Turns out "they" were right. You can't give a kid back and the onus is on the adult to get help if they need it and find a way to make that love happen if it doesn't happen naturally. Every child deserves a parent who loves them. And while I feel for any parent whose natural instincts don't force that, it's still no excuse. You have to love your babies. Period.
Do you ever wonder about loving your babies?
Image via mdanys/Flickr