Motherhood Will Swallow You Alive
By: Danielle Carin Dunn
I watched motherhood swallow women up like fish with a minnow.
Self-care a buzzword, there was no rest for the weary.
The demand too great, the rewards reaped in between kissing boo-boos and the whispers of baby coos didn’t appeal to me.
Death to your former, resurrected in the human form of divinity personified.
Giver of life.
I wanted no parts of it. I knew the truth.
I had my first and only child in 2017. I was 37 years old and had been married for almost 7 years. I didn’t think I would ever be a mom. When my husband and I decided to “try” to get pregnant I was not concerned. We had been together for 13 years and the closest we came to being parents was a miscarriage our first year of marriage.
Within 6 months of trying, I was pregnant.
I braced myself and thanks to my anxiety I “over-prepared” for the new role I was getting ready to take on. I had a doula, read all the parenting articles on breastfeeding, babywearing, and sleep training. But what really prepared me was my role as a full-time auntie, big cousin, babysitter and “Ms. Danielle” to the plethora of children that I had nurtured for almost 20 years.
I watched mothers with “supportive” partners, “woke” husbands and “ain’t shit” dudes, carry the weight of child rearing. I saw them rearrange schedules, leave work early, stay at work late, get fired from jobs, stay-at-home full time, make baby food, potty train, schedule play dates, and doctors appointments, help with homework, wash and fold clothes, breastfeed, cloth diaper and on...and on...and on…
I always knew I’d carry the load... so I didn’t want children
I wanted no parts of it.
As a young woman, I decided I didn’t want children as not to subject myself to the imbalance that existed within heteronormative relationships.
My plan was to continue as an assistant coach in child rearing. I was going to focus my energy on supporting the multitude of black women in my life by being a consistent presence. I was going to keep my membership as the emergency contact, weekend respite, break-giver, financial backer and kiddie secret keeper.
I had that job until I was 37 years old. This new gig has completely changed my life. My daughter is the light of my life.
But the young me was right.
Danielle Carin Dunn is CEO of Chikara Communications, LLC., which provides content creation services to small businesses, entrepreneurs and non-profit organizations. She is publisher and author of the IvyLocs book series. The first installment, IvyLocs, Episode 1: Tee-Tee’s Wedding was released in April 2016.
Recognized nationally for her work, Dunn was selected for the 2018 Congressional Black Caucus Author Pavilion. Her writings and opinions have been featured in the Detroit News and the National Black Women’s Roundtable on the State of Black Women in Michigan report.
A dedicated community servant, Dunn is the recipient of a Spirit of Detroit Award for “Dedicated Community Service” and a Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition for “Outstanding Community Service.”
You can find her kickin’ truth to the youth at www.ivylocs.com.