I was in the 4th grade when I remember someone asking me what I wanted to be when I grew up. My answer came without hesitation, “a mom.” My Sunday school teacher giggled and said, “Well first you need to have a husband for that.” I was baffled at this concept. Why? I didn’t want a husband. I only wanted the babies and the house with the white picket fence. I already decided I was going to be a math teacher so I’d be home with my babies when they were home from school. In 4th grade I had it all figured out.
Life doesn’t always deal us the hand we imagined. I found out early I was unable to have children of my own due to a hormone imbalance that, at that time, didn’t seem to have much hope of being corrected. At age 40 I had finally gotten my body and hormones in balance and began ovulating for the first time in my life. I started seeking a donor immediately so I didn’t waste my small window of opportunity. I found a good match. Had one failed attempt. Then again life happened. My partner’s mother was diagnosed with lung cancer and she was preoccupied with caring for and worrying over her mother, understandably. I planned to give her time to get through that so we could try again. Then her mother didn’t make it out of the hospital. Again, I decided, I could wait. I felt the thing I needed to do was be there for her and not be selfish. Also, the idea of pursuing motherhood without her emotional support was just not something I could fathom. A year went by and we were more distant than ever, her mother’s death still taking it’s toll on her in almost every aspect of her life. I had to make a decision. So I decided to try again. I found another donor. Then the time came, the days were right and all the hormones were lined up and I just couldn’t go through with it. I canceled my appointment, sat in my room and cried until I finally fell to sleep. I would’ve been a mom with possibly no partner or one that was not emotionally present and I didn’t believe I could do it. So I had a choice to make and I made the hardest choice of my life. I chose to give up.
Their names had already been chosen. If I had a girl she would have been Leonora Noel, “Nora” for short. If I had a son he would be Oliver Nelson Maxwell. I spent several weeks grieving these children I would never have, while at the same time trying to appear fairly put together to the outside world. I didn’t want anyone to see how much I already loved these babies that were never even conceived. I’d see a baby giggling on a TV commercial and tear up. Friend’s and family were having babies and grand-babies and I could only smile and congratulate them and try so very hard not to hate them for my misfortune. That was the hardest part. It wasn’t that I wasn’t happy for the gorgeous babies they had been given to love, but I also hated them for my unhappiness. It didn’t have to make sense, as emotions rarely do. Even telling this story now I feel just how selfish and self-involved those feelings are, but they remain and I just have to learn to trust that it will be ok and it will get easier.
The stress of having made this choice to give up plagued my sleeping and waking hours so much that I was having fitful sleep, worse than usual and grinding my teeth down to nothing. These things just made other things worse. My mind still all over the place, inability to focus on anything for more than a moment, increasingly tired, headaches, constantly on the edge of tears, what felt like hormones with multiple personality disorder, physical pain from anxiety, nightmares worse than usual and having ground my teeth down so badly I managed to get the first cavities I’ve ever had in my life and broken a tooth. Then here’s the kicker: my gynecologist informs me I’ve entered into perimenopause. (Basically the early stages of menopause before the shit hits the fan.)
No matter whether I had made the choice to give up or not, mother nature had already made it for me. I’d been mentally beating myself for a month or more about being too cowardly to continue trying only to find out the choice was moot. I didn’t know whether to cry or laugh at the absurdity of it. I cried, of course, because that’s just what I do.
Since receiving this information I’ve been searching my brain and my heart for something to focus on. Looking for something fulfilling to throw myself into as much as I’d thrown myself into wanting, wishing and trying to have a baby. I find a lot of satisfaction and feeling of accomplishment in being a good and supportive partner. I love having dinner made and laundry done and making sure every need I can meet is met. However at this time this is not an option for me. Then there’s my other love. The one that’s always there and never leaves. The one that I can ignore for weeks or months and still it seems to welcome me with open arms when I turn my attention back to it. My books. My love of literature of all kinds and my love to write. I’ve had novels, short stories and poems rolling around in my brain since childhood. Some made it to paper or even floppy disk, if that doesn’t show my age I don’t know what does, but many copies have been lost throughout the years. In my head though they are still there, mostly improved in fact.
I started this blog not knowing for sure what I would write about. I figured I would share my random musings on whatever subject was I was tossing around at the time. I’d share a couple of the short writings I have managed to get saved again, on flash drive this time. (Welcome to the 21st century!) I would be open and honest about hard to talk about subjects and things people often avoid mentioning. I’m not afraid of controversy. To each their own opinion, right?
Now, however, I will also use this blog as a way to renew my passion for words. I’ll write about what I’m reading, what I’m writing and what I think about writing. This will be a place to discuss my fears about being not good enough and my pats on the back from some of my friends in the writing world. I’ll talk about authors and books I love and passages that just really hit home.
Keep following to see what might come out of my brain next. You just never know with me.
Thanks for reading!