When I see that word I think of resolutions – promises we make to ourselves – like around New Years. Fortunately this post is not about those kind of resolutions (the ones I’d have to report having failed miserably at) but instead is about the other kind. For this I’m thankful because the resolution we’re tackling today inspires more reflection and is decidedly more productively pondered. Today’s type of resolution is about things being resolved – situations, emotions, uncertainties. I love resolution of this kind.
I had a hard time finding a good post to link to. I wanted to talk about my unrelenting fears about never becoming a mother. I wanted to talk about the crippling anxiety inspired by the chance I might lose my second pregnancy. I wanted to talk about how I worried I would never build my family, any family. The problem was I couldn’t find a specific post about those things. I combed and combed but I couldn’t find a post that articulated how those emotions affecting me. There were bits and pieces of it here and there but nothing that really described the way I was feeling, at least not when I was experiencing it.
But there were some that look back on it, on resolution after the fact, after it had happened. I think the post that best describes my resolution is this one. It is a long post so instead of asking you to read it in its entirety (which you’re welcome to do) I’m going to include pieces of it here.
Maybe I didn’t write about it before because I didn’t realize, or hadn’t put yet into words how I felt. Maybe I wasn’t ready to admit the gravity of the situation until it had been resolved, until I knew that that which I most feared was only that, a fear. All I know is that after it had happened I felt the resolution of some intense fear and it moved me to the very core of my being.
What happened was this. When my daughter was born I felt an amazing peace. Not just the peace that I expect most mothers feel, but something much deeper. Something at the very core of my being. I felt a weight being lifted, a weight that I had unknowingly been shouldering for most of my life. While motherhood is difficult and anxiety inducing, I noticed that a deeper anxiety had dissipated and I suddenly felt light, buoyant even.
For many reasons I feared I wouldn’t have be able to have children. At the same time being a mother was the most important thing to me in the world. When people asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up I always answered unequivocally, a mother. I eventually chose my profession based on its compatibly with motherhood. In reality, I wanted to be a mother even more than I wanted a romantic relationship. I wanted motherhood above all else. But I had genuine fears that it wouldn’t happen and I spent my whole life worrying it might not be. It colored my every moment.
From as far back as I can remember I envied complete families. I lamented the fact that some people could have their children easily while others struggled. I’ve never looked innocently at mothers walking with their babies, at women rubbing their blossoming bellies. My entire adult life I’ve walked around in the shoes of the possibly infertile. My whole adult life I’ve gingerly prepared myself to wear that label, to make it my own.
When my daughter was born healthy an entire lifetime of trepidation and uncertainty dissipated. I experienced the resolution of constant and all encompassing fear. It was an incredible, if not surreal, feeling.
In the hours after my daughter was born I was sure it was a dream. I kept waiting to wake up. I was SURE that she couldn’t possibly be here with us. I couldn’t fathom that she had arrived. I asked almost every person I encountered whether it were real or imagined. They laughed enthusiastically, what a cute thing for a new mother to say, but I was being quite serious. For many days after my daughter birth I waited anxiously… to wake up.
Of course tragedy could befall me and I could lose my daughter. I know her safe arrival here does not guarantee we will be together for the span of two long parallel lives. Of course I still fear something happening to my daughter but it no longer drives something inside me. It’s no longer a defining part of who I am.
For some reason having my daughter was enough validation of my assumed identity as a mother. Even if something were to happen to her, that part of me has been fulfilled.
… But some things can never be stolen from me. I am a mother now, no matter how many birthdays my daughter celebrates. No one can take my pregnancy away from me, nor my daughter’s birth. No one can take away these first five months we’ve spent together. No one can take away every moment I’ve already reveled in the miracle that is my baby girl.
And knowing that, knowing that those experiences are safe, takes strength away from my fear. It lightens my load. It lifts a great weight from my soul and fills me with happiness and love and peace and light. It fills me with hope for a future, a contented, fulfilled future – a future that isn’t dictated by my being, or not being, infertile. A future that is unknown to me, despite my mother’s story. A future that I’m eager to live, not scared to confront.
I wrote that post almost a year ago. How do I feel now? I’ve learned a lot since that resolution. I’ve learned that becoming a mother did heal some deep wounds of fear and loss and having those wounds healed made my life infinitely better. I’ve also learned that being healed does not mean I am always happy. I learned that my daughter is not a cure all. I’ve learned that my relationship is very important to me and that the idea of losing it is just as scary as the idea of not being a mother once was. I’ve learned that the day to day hardships and financial struggles can make what should be a perfect life very dismal indeed. I’ve learned that while having Isa filled some holes, the ones left by the family I hope to have are deep and ache to be satiated. I’ve learned that I the resolution of my wanting to become a mother eventually led to a shift in how I felt towards others, but that the memories of how I used to feel will remain – phantoms of a more difficult and uncertain time. I’ve learned that motherhood is wonderful but it’s also incredibly hard. I’ve learned that even when wishes come true, what follows it’s always a fairy tale.
Most importantly I’ve learned that resolution will come, in some way or another, even if it’s currently hidden from view. Hopefully the assurance that I can count on future resolution, even resolution that doesn’t look like I hope it will, can make me less scared of the ever present uncertainty. Hopefully.