This morning I finished Baby Love: Choosing Motherhood After a Lifetime of Ambivalence by Rebecca Walker.
This book has been maligned as narcissistic and insensitive to adoptive parents. I can't speak about adoption but can imagine that some of her comments could be hurtful. Because I don't have any first-hand experience with adoption I was focused on what ambivalence really meant in Walker's life and was hoping to learn that motherhood made her a confident, decisive person.
Walker's ambivalence and mine were really coming from different places, and the outward affects they had on our lives are very different, but I think the internal, the feelings, are the same. Walker was born to a biracial family deeply involved in the feminist movement. Her parents later divorced and she alternated living on both coasts to spend time with each parent. She is a traveler and a writer, she's biracial and bisexual. As for me, I was born in a small city to white middle class parents who are still married and still live less than 5 miles from where they grew up. I went straight from high school to college to career to marriage and family. I now live 5 miles from where I grew up.
So what do we have in common? Ambivalence. Self-doubt. Fear of making the wrong decision. A sense of responsibility to honor others by making the same decisions they did. Guilt when we choose something else. It is normal and healthy to weigh both side of a decision, but unhealthy to constantly doubt and question every move.
In the end, motherhood did not really make Walker (or myself or anyone else I know) supremely confident, but it did give her one thing that she would never ever question - her love for her son.
What I took away from Baby Love is that honoring my desire to be a mother was the right decision. 100%. And that if I can make that life-changing, irreversible decision and make it right, then I can and will trust myself to make choices in my life.