I remember talking once with an acquaintance who asked about how my adoption journey was going, and we got to talking about motherhood in general. She is a mother of four and working toward her degree. I told her that my dream was always to be a stay-at-home mom; it was the only job I ever wanted. She shared with me that, in the early years of her motherhood, she was a stay-at-home mom and felt as if she’d lost herself in the process. In that scenario, she said, the focus is so much on the children that the mother’s identity is swallowed whole by the experience. She told me she needed to work outside of being a mother, and I so admired her for acknowledging her desires and taking charge of her own future.
I understand what she meant, and I know that a lot of women have that experience. In many ways, I struggle to have a complete sense of myself without being a mother, because that’s the only identity I’ve ever wanted to embody–the full fruition of my sense of self. Because of this, I have always felt incomplete, and that feeling has been even more acute since the fall-through. I’ve never come that close, so very close, to having that dream become a reality, and I’ve been struggling to hope that it wasn’t my only chance.
This additional time has also given me a chance to focus more on my time with myself and developing the other aspects of who I am so that I will be a whole person for my child. The forced self-reflection of the wait has been both harrowing and oddly rewarding. I’ve been trying to reconnect with other facets of myself, such as writing and creating (I’ve crocheted a number of blankets and toys in the past months!), and just attempting to enjoy the kinds of things that would likely need to be put on hold if (when) my baby arrives, such as playing video games and sleeping in on days I can. I’ve done more reading recently than I had in a long while. I’m enjoying all the snuggles from my animals.
If I’m honest, though, I also do these things to distract myself from the fact that I will be forty years old in nine days. My goal was to be a mother before I turned thirty, to have two children by that time, to be a mother young enough to one day meet and enjoy her grandchildren. When that age came and went with no hope of realizing those goals, the goalposts–and the things I even hoped for–were then pushed back, again and again, as power over making happen the things I wanted continued to slip through my fingers. The most recent goalpost had been set to becoming a mother before I turned forty and not having to celebrate another childless Christmas (although these are, of course, more wishes than goals, since I have no control over when these things would happen). When the call came in May that I’d been chosen, it finally seemed as if those wishes had landed somewhere benevolent in the universe. If everything worked out as planned, I would be a mother before I turned forty! I would have a baby before Christmas!
Christmas came and went, and, in nine days, so will my birthday. I’m not expecting a miracle stork-drop in that time, so those goalposts will need to be shifted yet again. I don’t yet know where I’m going to place them–or if they even have a place at all.