And, mostly, I am.
There is just a short, sweet phrase that has been following me around lately which is worming its way underneath my normally thick skin.
These are the words spoken to me by several people in my life as of late. My sister, sister-in-law, not to mention several friends and acquaintances from church are all deciding to procreate at the same time. One of my bridesmaids might even be pregnant at my wedding.
I know what everyone wants me to say. I should write about how we're all relatively young and babies suck your life away. I should write about how my first priority is my career and being successful in my chosen field (whatever that ends up being). I should write about how the female obsession over biological clocks and giving birth annoys the snot out of my liberated, feminist self.
Yet, I can't bring myself to lie.
Something deep inside my soul aches when I hear those simple words. Whenever I hold a baby, play with a friend's little ones, work with kids in my practicum experiences, or (let's be honest) pass a baby on the way to the metro, my eyes well up with the tears of longing.
I used to think I didn't want children. If you had told me I'd be so desperate to have a child ten (even five) years ago, I would have told you to get your head examined.
So what has changed?
Perhaps part of it is I'm no longer 19. I know that as we grow older, our desires and priorities shift quite a bit. It is a part of this natural process called "growing up" I keep hearing so much about.
Another aspect is that I'm far healthier (both physically and emotionally) than I've ever been (though perhaps this illustrates I still have a bit to work through before I can be cleared for parenthood). All in all, I like myself enough to believe I will be a good mother. I've managed to find (and keep) a man who will be a wonderful father which is important to me. I've worked hard to strengthen strained family relationships so that my children will have access to extended family. I've slept in my trenches and dug myself out…all in all, I've earned it.
But there is something else at the root of the emptiness that keeps finding me in spite of my rapid running.
Just after turning 21, I found myself pregnant and completely broken.
I made the choice I wish every day I could reverse.
I know God has forgiven me, and I have come so far in extending that grace to myself for taking the life of a child that had no choice. I am learning how to take this experience and help others through post abortion trauma.
But I still miss my baby. I know having another wouldn't "make up" for the life that was lost. I understand that it would be a different baby at a time in my life where I am ready to be a mother. I know that even if I had made a different choice, I still wouldn't have that child with me. He or she would be in the capable hands of parents who could give them a life I couldn't have at that time. I know I'd still be feeling this sadness and sense that my heart is missing a piece. But, I can't pretend that my desire to make things right and to prove to myself that I am a good mother (even though I wasn't the first go round) doesn't contribute to my current dilemma. It is all very muddy and full of gray empty spaces that my words are unable to fill.
For now, all I can do is smile and congratulate those in my life who have this joy I so desperately covet. I will trudge through as I always do, head held high in the midst of the storm, trying fervently not to give the infant next to me on the train a second look.
Michicant by Bon Iver from Bon Iver (Rating: 0)