If only it were that easy.
Being raised in the Southern United States, specifically Arkansas, the long standing joke is that we are all hillbillies and women are kept barefoot and pregnant. In reality, we are actually a modern society with running water and indoor toilets. However, as a woman, from a young age our focus is trained on marriage and motherhood, specifically in that order.
As I have described in previous blogs, nothing about my life has followed the norm. Blame it on a wild streak, a sense of adventure, or more likely, plain old low self-esteem, take your pick. Out of wedlock, heck out of any steady relationship, I gave birth to three beautiful children. They are my greatest accomplishments. Yet, there is nothing prideful in having three children by two different men in a society that frowns upon such things.
Watching all of my childhood girl friends get married and settle in to domestic life, I can admit now that I had moments of jealousy. Looking back, I can see that I never held out for love because I didn’t believe that I deserved such treatment. I settled. And then settled again. My twenties passed me by in a haze of less than stellar single-motherhood.
I regret that I shortchanged my children due to my poor decisions. Their earliest years, while surrounded in love, were spent without a father. Perhaps that fuels my longing for another child so that I have the chance to do it “right”. Because, regardless of where we live, don’t all women strive for the white picket fence? Isn’t that ingrained in us from the moment we are born?
After the death of my second child, Elijah, I knew that I would give birth again. My family felt complete once my third son, Caleb, was born. Yet, for reasons that I can’t explain, I continuously believed that I would have at least one more child. Something deep in my psyche told me that I needed to experience this with a husband.
Fast forward to today. After wading through years of toxic relationships, in 2007, I met the man who made my tumultuous past worthwhile. We have plans to marry and now that we are both pushing 40, we believe that our relationship thrives due to our maturity.
Between us, we have four boys; my two, who are 15 and 9 and his two, who are 19 and 16. My beloved is confident that we have enough children. Not only does he not want to have more, but he is physically unable to conceive.
My brain knows that he is the man that shares my future.
My heart is another matter. I love him so very much but I have a hard time accepting that there will be no more babies in my future. I will never experience a pregnancy with a partner to run out and grab ice cream for me. There will be no delivery room memories of him holding my hand and encouraging me to keep going.
The fairy tale of my youth is over. All I can hope for now is a houseful of grandchildren.
Somehow, I have to find peace with this decision. On one hand, is the man that I love and who takes care of me and my boys. On the other is my waning fertility. These two realities fill me with a joyful sorrow that I can barely begin to understand.
Is it acceptable to continue to long for a dream that will never become reality?
This is an original post to World Moms Blog by Margie Bryant of Arkansas, USA. She can be found on Twitter @TheHunnyB.
Photo credit to http://www.flickr.com/photos/joelleim/5061450482/. This photo has a creative commons attribution license.