on life reimagined, as not-a-mama

It’s funny to me how sometimes, your least proud moments become the moments you’d give anything to get back. To dive deep into them, soak up all the beauty you didn’t see at the time, breathe deep, taste long, savor.

I was wrapped in Italian sheets, four feet away from a window overlooking one of the most beautiful places I’d ever seen, lying in a hotel bed in Venice with a beautiful friend who is more sister than friend. As picturesque as that moment sounds in words and after the fact, the beauty was entirely lost on me.  I remember the feeling thinking my heart was going to explode. Counting down from three many, many times over in an attempt to get myself to say the words out loud.

I think I might be pregnant.

Finally, I spilled them, along more tears and shame than I could wrap fist or heart around. That moment held so much shame for me for so long, because it meant admitting that I’d gotten caught up in something pretty damn high on the heirarchal list of sins that I’d grown up on. I wasn’t married. I wasn’t even engaged. I was dating a man for whom I’d fallen hard and fast, all blue eyes and straight teeth and big thoughts and wild promises.

That man was everything. He still is, while we lie on our sides in bed at night, skin to skin and holding hands, wedding rings clinking against one another. He’s always been something magical, always had something magical that no one else had.

And so at 23, after years of being the girl who could shut down the progression of physical intimacy without batting an eye, I gave the first of everything I had to that beautiful man.

I have had the shame that comes so naturally to a people pleaser when she makes a questionable decision. For a long time, I had shame, but I have never had regrets. Not once.

And so there I was, shaking and afraid, telling my best girl that I thought I might be pregnant. And I hated that moment. I actively, truthfully hated that moment. 

And today, I feel no hesitation in telling you that I would give most anything to get that moment back.

Because in that moment, I believed it could be that simple. That we could have sex and I could simply get pregnant, stay pregnant, have a child, start a family. It didn’t look like hope at the time, but looking back on it, there was hope abundant in that statement–I think I might be pregnant–and I didn’t even know it. I never thought to look for the hope, because all I could see was the shame.

Today, I feel no hesitation in telling you that I would give most anything to have that gut feeling that I was going to give my forever love a child. Even if it would have been out of the prescribed order. Because it’s been three years tomorrow. Three years since we stopped trying not to have a kid. Two years since we started trying to have a kid. And somewhere along the way, I have stopped having that feeling, the one I had in Venice, like I might be a mama some quickly-approaching day. Like I might finally give birth to the possibilities I feared years ago, when I was young and short sighted.

I can’t tell you the last time I had that feeling, that combination of sheer terror and boundless potential. 

And I am caught in an impossible tension, because I am a lover of adventure. I am a lover of new dreams and life reimagined. But to reimagine this dream requires the grieving of another. Grieving that doesn’t stop. Grieving that is triggered every single month, like clock work. Grieving that doesn’t allow for days off of work. Grieving that doesn’t call for casseroles and flowers and drop-in visits from friends just to check in. Grief that feels almost inappropriate in its very existence, because no one really knows how to talk about it, including those of us grieving. 

But I know it’s a conversation that needs to be started, because Josh and I aren’t the only ones. We’re not the only ones vascillating between the hope that it might happen and the reality that the life we’ve dreamed about may not be ours. Between the thrill of the unknown and the fear of it.

Because we know. I know. I get that our life doesn’t begin and end with the existence of a child who is biologically ours, or the lack thereof. Sometimes it’s really hard to keep a grasp on that, particularly in a culture where it’s easy to feel like being part of a traditional family unit is a mandatory part of being a Christ follower. It is a hard and daily choice to lean into my identity, not as mother, not as wife, not as daughter, not as sister, not as friend, not as teacher, musican, writer…but as His.

And I guess that’s kind of where we all are, really. Regardless of what it looks like, we’re all just learning the same hard and lovely thing.

“My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ love and righteousness.
I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus name.
On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand.
All other ground is sinking sand.”

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2 thoughts on “on life reimagined, as not-a-mama

  1. Jennifer Waldrep says:

    YES. Yes. Yes. Yes. and Yes.

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