This Time the Ambivalence Is My Own
Note to Reader: As a licensed psychologist, I strictly adhere to the ethics of confidentiality; therefore, I do not use/make reference to any patient/client information in the pieces I write. The only data I use to explore these psychological issues is my own. The Roadblocks to Intimacy & Trust Series will include several pieces related to the effects of early relationships on the development of trust and intimacy.
Though I had happily taken care of my younger brother during our early years as if he were my own child (ironically like my mother had but for drastically different reasons) and I had lots of babysitting jobs and several delicious nieces and nephews, I was not prepared to be a mother. Perhaps because of my mother’s obviously ambivalent feelings about her children—adoring us on the one hand and resentful and competitive with us on the other, I was never drawn to motherhood. I did not think I would love a child. I certainly did not want to give up my life and everything I had so worked for to care for a child or children. My experience was that men tended to leave all childcare to women, and they were the ones who got to be ambitious and the trailblazers professionally. Women in my generation (raised in the 1950s and 60s) set aside their own ambitions and wrapped their lives around that of their husbands and children. I wanted too much from life to be satisfied with such a secondary position in my own life. When I was much younger and considered a career in medicine, I never wanted to be a nurse; I saw her as the one who did the dirty messy jobs and was subject to the doctor; I wanted to make the decisions and be in charge. [Read more…]