My youngest daughter took her time coming. She had me doubting myself in every walk of life I was sure I could believe in. She made me wait. And that is not something I do well.
I had all but decided that my dream of being a mother and a writer would mean being the mama to one very challenging five year old and teaching English to early teenage kids who were challenging in their own right. I barely found myself on a page anymore, and had come to the belief from someone out there that to live a life as a writer you had to just suck up and teach children, even if that was not exactly what you had dreamed of. I had made peace with the simple fact that having a dream of artistic writing would actually mean teaching those artistic dreams to many people who in all likelihood didn’t really care about it in the way that I did. (In most cases, I told myself, they would not be the kind of person who would wake in the middle of the night to madly scribble down poetry as to not forget it…before they had to get up to go to work brewing coffee and rolling out croissant dough at five a.m.)(Although, there is, of course, the argument that of all the students a teacher might have, there is a handful whose lives you touch in an incredible way. I suppose you can always have that hope that you reach someone in that way.)
I didn’t want to teach school. At all. And what I truly wished for was to not only have more babies of my own, but have the ability to live my life on the page, writing in the way I wanted to and being able to make enough to pay the bills and support my family through this means. That was my hope. But in that hope, I suppose you must actually spend the time ON the page, instead of just talking about it. I told my lover in college that all I wanted in this life was to write and have babies. He looked at me with his eyes open wide and realized he did not know me at all.
I came to grips with the fact that I must live my life in a way I hadn’t hoped to, simply to pay the bills, and then flat out rejected the notion that I had okayed this scenario. I couldn’t do it. It was so far from my truth I couldn’t leave it be.
One day I saw a dear friend of mine with the sweetest, roundest baby belly hidden under her well loved and farmed in Carhartt sweatshirt, when I hadn’t even known she was expecting. I was completely prepared to feel the unadulterated envy and self hatred. And suddenly, out of nowhere, I was able to feel real joy for her, and that shocked me. I was so taken back by this happiness because I had been trying for over two years to have another child, to no avail. And seemingly, every single person I knew was capable of this simple biological act except for me. And FINALLY I was able to look someone I adored in the eye and truly feel happiness for her, without the secret rage bubbling up inside me. I understood I had settled with the fact that I might never have more children. And thus, I had better pursue my dream of words.
And then, a month later, I found myself with a baby in my belly and a brand new belief in the universe. It had delivered. And I could barely contain my shock.
Not only that, but I realized that if it had delivered that much, more might be possible. And so, I will wait, and continue to try. And not hope too much. Make peace with the unexpected. Hope without expecting. And be the best mama I know how.