“Mum, how did having children change your life?”
After a profound numbness – dazzled as I was as to the complexities involved in responding to such a question – lasting a couple of hours, I managed to cast my mind back…
One idea playing in my mind in those early days of motherhood, was a sense that I’d given my life away to the child – and I wanted it back. And this verse came to me:
“You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honour God with your bodies.”
I Corinthians 6 vs 19-20
I had lived for years as a Christian, thinking that I had given my life up, for God to use it as he saw fit. It was only when I had a baby that I realized just how much of my life I had held back for me – I had been kidding myself. I was thoroughly selfish.
I can remember lying in semi-darkness, recovering from the delivery, thinking, “I didn’t necessarily need to have done that,” and seeing Robert Frost’s ‘road not taken’ shooting away into a parallel life that I didn’t have.
That was when I realized that my life hadn’t changed; this was my life, and the infinite amount of other lives down other roads not taken would never be lived – by me or anyone else.
So, how did things change? I was forced to shunt myself sideways into the backstage of life’s theatre, realizing that only one version of the play is live. And this is it:
“What good amid these, O me, O life?
That you are here – that life exists, and identity;
That the powerful play goes on, and you will contribute a verse.”
(Walt Whitman, from “Leaves of Grass”)