Where did this come from? This desire and expectation that I had to marry and have children and the white picket fence? I had this expectation of myself that I would be married by 23-24 years old, have a home, a good job, and my first child no later than age 26. My life was laid out before me and I saw it clearly. I reached my first goal, if you want to call it that, by marrying at age 21. Now, Alex and I were working on my second goal, to have a child by age 26.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve dreamed of becoming a mother. No matter what happened in life, I knew that a child would be a part of it. Early in our relationship, Alex asked, why did I want to be a mother? I stumbled over it at the time because how can you define something that you feel is your basic right? I don’t really know if I have a better answer than it is a desire burned into the very molecules of my being.
For me, the truer reason why I wanted to be a mom is the yearning I felt when I talked to that little girl at the church.
“Is that your baby?” I asked her, referring to the doll she just tucked under her arm.
She ducked behind her mom, shy.
“What’s your baby’s name?”
“Pretty Baby” is what she told me as a small smile crept onto her face.
Soon she’s prattling on with me and then she’s gone. My stomach gets a knot and feels like it does when I need a snack: hungry. I want more.
I want to be a mom when I’m outside doing something I love, like gardening. I wonder what it might be like to show our child the first signs of spring, to discover the world together. Or when we finger paint together and she takes her first steps into imagination and creativity. I long to share those parts of myself that make me—me—with a child, and to see the world anew through the eyes of my child.
Who is this child? How will the mystery unfold as she grows? This is another fascination I have with motherhood. Nature, nurture and life circumstance: how these forces come together and turn my baby into a child and then into a woman. I look forward to watching her bloom.
I imagine the difficult days too. Long nerve-wracking nights when my baby can’t sleep yet I am able to soothe her and meet her needs, or being there to help my child find her way through some of the sticky moments in life: indecision, love lost, and struggles with identity. Even though there will be times when being a mom is going to challenge me in ways I can’t even begin to imagine, knowing that I might be able to make a difference and give love and security to a child is another reason I want to be a mom.
And perhaps the most potent answer to why I want to be a mom is this: for a short time, I was lucky enough to spend time with a child who might be ours. During those days, when I hold her close, mothering will just feel so right.
Little did I know how difficult it would be to conceive that child.