The gift of having a child isn't so great that it trumps everything else in life.
In one corner, we have women who choose or stumble into motherhood, exalted onto ever-busy, never-sleeping, coffee-fueled, messy-bun adorned pedestals.
In the other, we have selfish women who are burdening the world with their offspring and basically just looking for Instagram inspiration.
While I'm fully aware of both ends of the spectrum, I would say that overall, motherhood is valued in our culture. Maybe not valued in any practical way that could, say, affect maternity leave or childcare policies, but in a way that sees motherhood as always worth it.
Children are no longer seen as inevitable parts of life or helpful farmhands to have around but are longed-for, sought-after, precious commodities that we must sacrifice everything for.
And if motherhood is the dream, like it was for me, a woman who is fairly young, had no apparent problems getting pregnant, and had experienced the conflicting joy of unplanned pregnancy, it can be hard to decide how many children we should have.
If children are everything and motherhood is always ultimately worth it, could there ever be a wrong reason to have a child?
It may be no surprise to you that I'm currently experiencing this struggle myself. I find myself inundated with the message that children are the end-all reason for living and for me personally, having children really is my life's most important work.
So how do I put an end to that?
I posed the question recently to my husband and asked him, "Do you think there is ever a selfish reason to have a child?"
He paused for a minute before answering, "Yes. Absolutely. The gift of having a child isn't so great that it trumps everything else in life."
Of course, deep down, I know he's right. Perhaps it's a duh question, as obvious as our horror over the 65-year-old grandmother currently pregnant with quadruplets, but allow me to assure you it really is a complicated question.
Right now, it just might be selfish to have another baby in my life.
It might be selfish because my husband deserves time to figure out his own passions and dreams of becoming a woodworker.
It might be selfish because my children deserve a mother who is healthy and needs to work on her own diet and weight loss goals before she can handle another baby.
It might be selfish because I would quit yet another job I wasn't loving because of the baby excuse. (And yes, I've done that.)
It might be selfish because it makes me feel more important to fill my days with the busyness of children.
Point black, yes, Virginia, there can be such a thing as having children for selfish reasons.
Maybe the very act of having those children will knock some of the selfishness back out of you but the fact of the matter is, no one has children in a bubble.
Many different people — from spouses, to partners, to family and friends are affected — and it really is OK to admit that maybe your hands and your heart are full.
The scary truth is, for women like me, women who have long lived in the world of pregnancy and babies, there is life outside of having children.
Children are such a gift and joy in life, but they don't have to be the only gift.
Also, if someone could please break the news to my husband that his wife may not be pregnant or breastfeeding for the first time in seven years, he may need a paper bag or something to recover from the shock. Thanks in advance.