Maybe Mum

For all the Maybe Mums out there wondering whether motherhood is for them

Baby boom in the neighborhood – Column Maybe Mum Patricia de Ryck

Baby boom in the neighborhood – Column Maybe Mum Patricia de Ryck

Being a Maybe Mum in a new residential area isn’t easy. In the first few months of living here, it seems like the stork is delivering every baby in our neighborhood. There’s talk of a real baby boom. Large signs are everywhere in the yards, and invitations to visit the newborn repeatedly land on the doormat.

Happy parents…

Of course, you go along. I genuinely wish each of my neighbors well. In some cases, the arrival of the little one has been long-awaited, sometimes preceded by the tragic event of a miscarriage. I understand perfectly well how happy these parents are with their baby. But what do you say when they ask, ‘And how about your desire for children?’

I nod understandingly

Many thoughts rush through my mind. I’d prefer to say that I don’t understand everyone’s strong desire to reproduce. That I really have no idea why having a crying little creature would enrich my life. And that I truly don’t understand why such a terrible childbirth experience would be worth it. Of course, I’ve just listened quietly and I nod understandingly to all the details.

Panic in my eyes

In the end, it becomes a non-committal ‘that’s something for later.’ As youngsters – who have only been together for two years at that point – we can still get away with it. There’s a comment about our house being big enough at least. And so the conversation quickly turns to how nice it is to live here. I get away with it… although it’s becoming harder now, four years later and almost twenty babies later. Yet they remain silent… it probably has something to do with my fumbling and panicked look in my eyes when I have one of those little ones on my lap again.

My English is not very good, so I’m translating this with the help of Google Translate and ChatGPT.