Gustov Klimt: The Tree of Life
This morning I shed some major tears over my battle with infertility. I cried because tomorrow I will be a 35-year-old, childless woman. I cried because I also realized, for the first time, that I’m scared to have a baby. I have so many fears surrounding having a child, that I’ve kept hidden from myself. But it’s all surfacing now. And I’m wondering how much of my own fears have blocked my body from doing what is most natural.
Because I’ve always wanted children so badly, I’ve always had a fear of not being able to have children. I have fears about not actually being the mother I intend to be. I have fears about being an old mom, and especially about Mark being an old father (he’s 16 years older than me). I have fears about giving birth to an unwell child. I have fears about not being able to provide for my child the way I want to. And the truth is, since I’ve been married, life circumstances have not been all that favorable to bring a child into. Do I have a subconscious block from getting pregnant and keeping a growing fetus in my womb?
If this is true, then I want to throw a tantrum right now. Well, the truth is, I already threw a tantrum this morning. Many, many, many mothers have children intentionally, and unintentionally, wanting the child they carry, and not wanting the child they carry. So why should I be any different? Why would my thoughts contribute one way or the other, when so many other mother’s thoughts were irrelevant? Yet somehow still, I am open that my fears are a contributing factor in my struggle. Am I that powerful?
I don’t want to throw tantrums. I don’t want to think life unfair. I want to surrender to life and it’s curve balls. Or at least, what I perceive to be curve balls, only because I had other plans that life did not have for me. I know I sound like a I’m open to being tossed around by circumstances. Maybe I am. Maybe I finally am. Maybe I’ve held on too tightly to the idea that I am the one and only designer of my life. Boho Girl recommended this book some time ago, and this morning I read this passage from “Hand Wash Cold: Care Instructions for an Ordinary Life“, and it kind of shifted something inside me:
“[Life] is the last word. Life interrupts us when we are at our most self-assured. Life diverts us when we are hell-bent on going elsewhere. Life arrives in a precise and yet unplanned sequence to deliver exactly what we need in order to realize our greatest potential (I know this!). The delivery is not often what we would choose, and almost never how we intend to satisfy ourselves, because our potential is well beyond our limited, ego-bound choices and self-serving intentions.”
Since I was an adolescent, I started believing that I was the Captain of my Ship, Master of my Destiny. Now, I am only sure that I am Captain of my response to life, Master of my emotions and clarity. I think this is good. I think this is right. Life does have a way of throwing curve balls. Life corrects our course when we go off track of what we intended to accomplish before we were born. It supports us, whether we recognize that support or not.
Here is another passage from “Hand Wash Cold” that speaks deeply to me now:
“You might think, for instance, that the life you have is not at all the life you had in mind and so it doesn’t constitute your real life at all. Your real life is the life you pine for, the life you’re planning or the life you’ve already lost, the life fulfilled by the person, place, [etc], of your dreams. This is the life we are most devoted to: the life we don’t have.”
The life we don’t have… ouch. It’s true. I’ve been devoted to the life I don’t have. The life I pine for every day. The life with my husband and two kids, self-sustained, living on a rural farm, homeschooling, learning, and crafting my days away. Instead, I’m a childless woman, living with my husband in my parents home after economic devastation to our business, and in the early, struggling phase of a new business. That is my life. I’ve lost the 4000 square foot home, the Cadillac Escalade, the Utopian neighborhood.
My life can’t begin again some other day – the day I have my children and my farm. My life is here, now. And so is yours. We’ve got to accept it and live in it. We’ve got to find our home in it.
Jill O'Flannery | Cherry Blossoms
*Update: This post was syndicated at BlogHer on February 13th, 2011!