Motherhood is a beautiful gift, but a beautiful gift that does not always come easily to everyone. Motherhood is not an equal opportunity employer. There are times that I look at the mothers who are doing a terrible job, the ones who have no right to be recipients of that gift. You know the mothers who have countless children, all of them underfed, dirty, with little hope for the future. You wonder why. Why can these women who should not even have a hamster been given such a miraculous gift, when they obviously do not respect this calling. Then there are the women who would make wonderful mothers, the ones who want nothing more than to be a mother, and these women are cruelly denied. Motherhood is not an equal opportunity employer.
I know women who have struggled with infertility. They have spent thousands of dollars on infertility treatments only to have their heart broken again and again. They watch their girlfriends pushing that coveted stroller, while they have to pretend to be happy for them. I cannot imagine how difficult and painful that must be. Actually I can imagine because I had a tiny glimpse of that.
Christopher and I had just gotten back together. We decided to make Gabe a big brother. Fertility was never really a problem for us. As soon as we decided that I should be pregnant I was pregnant. We were over the moon delighted. We were back together, and were beginning our new life. Everything was wonderful until the spotting started. Miscarriages happened to other people, it could not happen to me I foolishly thought. I miscarried at two and a half months. I was devastated. I would torture myself and walk into the baby section of the stores. I would see other women with baby strollers and would burst into tears. The worst was when we were at a function and one of our friends was pregnant. She was due at the same time that I was supposed to be. She was so delighted. This was her first baby. She was glowing. She had that beautiful baby bump, but all I could see was what I wanted. She had my dream. I was so angry. That was supposed to me! I was supposed to be showing! How dare she be at this event pregnant! ( I did not say that I was rational. Grief is not always rational). I spent most of that night in the bathroom crying. My pain ended when I became pregnant with Grace, but I never forgot that pain. I then felt immense guilt when the reverse happened to me. A very close friend and I were pregnant at the same time. It was when I was pregnant with Grace. We were due at the same time. I could see us playing with our babies together, and then she lost that baby. I felt so guilty whenever I would see her, and I was so big with baby. I remembered how that felt. I saw the tears in her eyes the first time that she laid eyes on my Gracie, I knew that she could not see my gift, but the gift that she had been denied. I hope that time has helped to heal her wounds.
A little while back I shared an article that was written by an old schoolmate of mine.
At the time that I wrote that blog, and she wrote that article she was infertile. Two days ago she became a mother. Her baby is beautiful. A few days ago my sister's childhood best friend also became a mother for the first time. These are women who have been denied this beautiful gift of motherhood for a long time, watching friends with their children. They are in for a wonderful experience. They will treasure every single thing that baby does because they will know it for the gift that it is.
I was 38 when I had Elly. I had known multiple miscarriages, I had known loosing a child. I had known despair. Because I had known such despair, I was able to see Elly for the amazing gift that she was. Everything she did was a miracle to me. I was not new to motherhood, but I saw if differently. When I had Gabe I was 23, a month away from 24. I loved that baby boy. I was young. I saw motherhood as a right not as a gift. Don't get me wrong, I was as good of a mother as I could be for a first time mother, but I saw the world differently, with innocent eyes. At 38 I saw Elly as the miracle that she was truly was. I knew that she should not exist, and yet she was our gift.
To these new mothers, who are embarking upon the adventure-hood of motherhood older, but maybe wiser I say congratulations. You are in for the most wonderful and difficult adventure of your lives. Your lives will never be the same, they will be better. Your beautiful unlined faces that look so much younger than your years are about to become wrinkled (just like the rest of us). You will get wrinkles from laughter, and you will get wrinkles from worry. If you are doing your job right, you will worry about everything. Is she getting enough to eat? Should she be talking yet? Why doesn't she have friends? Should I be worried about that fever? Am I overprotecting her? Oh my friends you will worry. You will worry and you will laugh and smile like you have never felt joy before. You are in for the greatest adventure of your life.