What’s Not for Public Consumption?

I decided to get into some peopley things, but nothing too extreme like going to a day party with bottomless drinks and undanceable music. I thought it best to keep it low-key, kick my feet up with a cold brew herbal tea, and respond to some messages I had been putting off. There were about ten message threads that I had to engage.

I attributed my tardy responses to adapting and balancing new relationship dynamics, so I didn’t have much apologizing to do. It was no shortage of questions about new mommyhood and plans to follow my recent engagement.

A certain correspondence with one of my homegirls reminded me why I am withdrawn and reserved with my personal life. She said, “You seem to be doing a lot better than I thought you would be.”

I paused and allowed silence to fill the space as the appropriate response, while my mind wandered to the list of places ol girl could have found the audacity. Before I could ask her to explain she continued, “It’s just… you said before that you didn’t want to have children, so I didn’t expect to hear that were having a baby. And now you seem to enjoy motherhood, what changed? You should do a video explaining your change of heart because I know I’m not the only one who thinks this!!”

*Me, continuing to blank stare*

The only appropriate response I could think of was a Prince gif and a typed response “That won’t be necessary”. I pinged the convo back her way by asking a superficial question to change the subject.

I did not have the time, capacity, or desire to answer her question in depth. It didn’t feel genuine. It was astounding because she had the legit expectation that I’d give a long drawn-out response in an attempt to rationalize my life choices to her. Now before you think, “Lighten up, she was just making conversation”—which I’m certain she was– I did not want to engage in such a sensitive topic.

She wasn’t privy to the many ways I was healing, and I knew she couldn’t relate to them, let alone know how to respect them. Plus, it was the first time in about a decade since our last interaction; you think I’m going to run down the intent behind my drastic lifestyle changes? I wasn’t too eager to fill in the essay portion of the ‘let’s catch up’ pop quiz she sprung on me.

But then I thought about the way she verbalized what many others could be thinking. Before going public with my relationship, someone else asked me if my baby was made in love, which I thought was just as intrusive as it was insulting. Because … what difference does that make? I wanted to reply so badly, “Did your mother and father conceive you in love?” Her question just felt gossipy.

Out of all the years of people announcing their pregnancies, not once did I ask someone about the origin of the baby’s conception. I wondered what made these people so comfortable to try to play me, but then again, both transparency and audacity are at an all-time high in the year of our lord.

About a month after my daughter was born, someone said “Your hesitancy in sharing my pregnancy could be perceived as embarrassment, or shame because “There was no pregnancy content”. I didn’t talk much about it nor parade my pregnant belly around, but shame was not the root of my intent. I just wasn’t moved to try and convince people I was happy because I was genuinely present in the experience.

There was no time [or desire] to say “HEY!! Look at me, I changed my mind, and a child is set to spring forth from my loins!!!” Other people’s thoughts were not important to me, and I did not care to justify my peace to those who do not contribute to it.

I could, however, justify journaling throughout my pregnancy and writing letters to my daughter. It’s more important to me that my child stands fortified in the truth of my intent. She’s the only person who deserves to know the origin of the definitive statements of my 20s. And to be fair, she should not have to sift through public opinion forums to access that part of me.

She doesn’t have to share that with the world. And the fact that people feel so entitled to know the inner workings of a person’s mind and journey is strange. People share because they want to, it is not obligatory.

Am I to be so enslaved by “everything is content” that I deprive my child of the intimate experience of reading my handwritten letters containing information nobody else can access? This concept of sharing your truth to liberate others potentially robs your loved ones of intimate details of getting to know you. Y’all be blowing up the spot in the name of transparency.

Say, you want to argue the point by telling me that sharing “my truth” on socials could help someone else in the now. So… should my desire to help others feel seen take precedence over my child’s mental and emotional well-being? Pardon me for thinking so little of humanity, but the first chance people get to assert their limited knowledge of me, they will take the bait. I can only imagine: “Your mom didn’t even want to have children”, or “Your mom didn’t want to have you” And what exactly would my child do with that? It’s not a reach. People will stop at nothing to assert their opinions to reduce your confidence.

Prime example: I told my sister I was pregnant, and her first response was “I thought you didn’t want to have children, so this is surprising to hear”. I sat on the phone blankly staring in shock, hurt, and disgust because that’s the last thing I would have expected. But it truly opened my eyes and reminded me of hueman nature.

I wanted to respond by saying how my aversion for murder outweighed my fear of motherhood, but I chose a nontoxic route. From that point on, I knew I had to move differently because I wanted to maintain my glow. I had to protect my heart and my baby’s emotional well-being. That encounter could have sent me spiraling if I didn’t know how to self-soothe.

I knew what I had to do, in the name of reassuring my child that she was made in love, birthed in love, and nurtured in love. What leg would I have to stand on in sharing these messages of individuality, mental fortitude, self-respect, and awareness if I didn’t make the effort to lead by example?

My responsibility is to show my offspring how I’ve surrendered to evolution, loved myself through these cycles, and inevitably made room in my heart. I am not obligated to sell that for the low-bidding gossiping common folk.

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