For 15 years (from 20 to 35 - while Dave and I were together), I didn't think I wanted kids. I knew Dave really didn't and I figured that little nagging question mark in the depths of my heart (Should I? Am I missing out?) was just about questioning and doubting, which is what I do about everything.
From the moment he died, though, something shifted within me. My first thought was My only chance to be a mom is gone. I missed it. It's over and will never be and I only want it now that I can't have it!
I began to see babies and toddlers everywhere I went. Little families were suddenly all I saw. Strollers, chubby baby cheeks, nursing moms, a father playing with his little girl on the jungle gym or dangling a tiny baby from a carrier on his chest. I obsessed about having a genetic remnant of Dave. I thought about how I didn't get to have a mom and now I wouldn't get to be a mom. How could I possibly have neither one of those experiences? What the hell was the point if I don't get to be either a mom or a mom's daughter? Why live?
I knew why. I had art, friends, learning, love, singing, living. I knew I didn't need a child to live fully. I didn't feel that need when Dave was alive, so I was only feeling it now because he had died and left me all alone.
It was just causing me to face mortality and my thoughts were all going to the only way to have a little bit of immortality - making a child. Life suddenly seemed so fragile and precious and I wanted to live fully, including creating life.
But there was more than that. I think a part of me shelved my desire to be a mom because I knew that Dave would never change his stance and that I'd never leave Dave.
So, I took comfort in knowing that I'd never felt a strong urge to have kids. Only a moderate amount of wondering. What would it be like? Would I regret not doing it? Can I even make a baby? Do I want to?
I told myself that having a kid was something you only did if you really wanted it. It's too hard and stressful and important to take on if you're not really gung-ho.
But here's the thing. I worry about and question everything. Not once in my life did I make a decision I didn't question and doubt at least a little. I prefer to make my move when I know I'm ready. Here's the catch. I'm never ready. Never. And if I'd waited till I was "ready", I'd never have gotten married, become a teacher, moved to the Pacific Northwest, come to Camp Widow, or gone back to school for art. All things I'm now eternally grateful I did. I'd never have done them if I'd waited for ready.
Now, here I am in a completely alternate universe in which I'm actually seriously contemplating having a child one day. Talking about it. Planning for it. Thinking about it. I'm in a situation where it makes sense. It's scary and I'm not ready. But it makes sense.
I saw a healer during one of my darkest times about a year ago who told me that he almost stopped while he was working on me because he thought I was pregnant. Then, he said, he realized I wasn't pregnant, but I would be soon.
I scoffed and said told him that I most certainly would not be. An IUD and no father figure in the picture said quite clearly that I wouldn't be. Oh, he said, this soul is coming. It's a matter of when.
Outwardly I laughed it off, but inside, something blossomed. Me, pregnant. Carrying life after all I'd been through. I didn't know how it would happen. I hadn't yet met the wonderful man I would meet 4 months later. Who would want to have a baby with me. Me!
And here I am. That healer might be right. Maybe. We'll see.
In the meantime, my poor brain is trying so hard to protect me from more pain. It's telling me about the terrible things that could happen if I get pregnant. It's trying to convince me to not even try. Too many chances for heartbreak and suffering, so let's just skip it all together.
But, the only way to avoid suffering is to never do anything or love anyone. And that's unacceptable to me.
So, I'm actively working on thinking about all the wonderful things that could happen as I enter into this new phase of my second life.
Preparing for the bad things before they happen doesn't work. You can't prepare. But you can ruin your chance to enjoy now. I would like to enjoy now, especially after all I've been through.