It’s 11pm and I’ve just been in to settle my sick three year old. I’m tired, my husband’s tired, and we know it’s going to be a long night. Right now, do I regret having children? Not for one second.
Having just read Piper Hoffman’s blog post about why she chooses to remain child-free, I’m left feeling more than a little sad. Whilst as a feminist I believe every woman has the right to choose to raise a family or not, I’m so grateful to be raising my Jewish family, sleepless nights and all.
My grandfather was a Holocaust survivor. My husband’s grandfather is a Holocaust survivor who has proudly produced over 100 religiously observant Jewish descendants, but for me the decision to have children has nothing to do with sticking it to Hitler.
Each of my three children is a unique little soul, and a wonderful little personality all of their own. Yes, they are shaped by my genes and my husband’s genes, and they will be influenced by our choice of community and schools, but what we’ve created is three little people, in their own right. I’m not a baby person. I’m pretty horrible when sleep deprived, and I prefer it when they can walk and say funny things, but I understand that having babies is a necessary step to bringing my wonderful children into this world. I was blessed to give birth to them, and I look forward to watching them grow into adults, and leave their own mark on the world around them.
Yes, I look forward to travelling alone on an airplane, without screaming, puking, and the constant stress that comes along with every long journey with small children. I look forward to quiet, romantic meals with my husband, uninterrupted by phone calls by babysitters, but I’m prepared to wait for those days. You see, I also look forward to loud family meals with my children. I look forward to sitting with them as adults, and learning from them, taking pride in them, and maybe one day getting to do the same with their children.
Having children has made me a better person. It’s made me more sensitive, more caring to others, and opened up a side of me that I previously didn’t know was there. It has done the same for my husband, and whilst I love him for the person he was before we got married, I love him more as the devoted father of my children.
So showing the Nazis they didn’t win is great, but it has nothing to do with my reasons for wanting to raise my family. I’m focusing on bringing up my children with my Jewish values, whilst crossing my fingers that it will all work out. I may not be doing everything perfectly, but I’m giving it my best shot.
So yes, I’m tired. But I’m so grateful for that little girl who kept me up at night, and I’m grateful for her siblings. For all the sleepless nights they may give me, I’m so proud of having the opportunity to be the mother to these three wonderful little people.