Monday, September 1, 2014

A Matter of When

For 15 years (from 20 to 35 - while Dave and I were together), I didn't think I wanted kids. I knew Dave really didn't and I figured that little nagging question mark in the depths of my heart (Should I? Am I missing out?) was just about questioning and doubting, which is what I do about everything.

From the moment he died, though, something shifted within me. My first thought was My only chance to be a mom is gone. I missed it. It's over and will never be and I only want it now that I can't have it! 

I began to see babies and toddlers everywhere I went. Little families were suddenly all I saw. Strollers, chubby baby cheeks, nursing moms, a father playing with his little girl on the jungle gym or dangling a tiny baby from a carrier on his chest. I obsessed about having a genetic remnant of Dave. I thought about how I didn't get to have a mom and now I wouldn't get to be a mom. How could I possibly have neither one of those experiences? What the hell was the point if I don't get to be either a mom or a mom's daughter? Why live? 

I knew why. I had art, friends, learning, love, singing, living. I knew I didn't need a child to live fully. I didn't feel that need when Dave was alive, so I was only feeling it now because he had died and left me all alone.

 It was just causing me to face mortality and my thoughts were all going to the only way to have a little bit of immortality - making a child. Life suddenly seemed so fragile and precious and I wanted to live fully, including creating life.

But there was more than that. I think a part of me shelved my desire to be a mom because I knew that Dave would never change his stance and that I'd never leave Dave. 

So, I took comfort in knowing that I'd never felt a strong urge to have kids. Only a moderate amount of wondering. What would it be like? Would I regret not doing it? Can I even make a baby? Do I want to? 

I told myself that having a kid was something you only did if you really wanted it. It's too hard and stressful and important to take on if you're not really gung-ho. 

But here's the thing. I worry about and question everything. Not once in my life did I make a decision I didn't question and doubt at least a little. I prefer to make my move when I know I'm ready. Here's the catch. I'm never ready. Never. And if I'd waited till I was "ready", I'd never have gotten married, become a teacher, moved to the Pacific Northwest, come to Camp Widow, or gone back to school for art. All things I'm now eternally grateful I did. I'd never have done them if I'd waited for ready. 

Now, here I am in a completely alternate universe in which I'm actually seriously contemplating having a child one day. Talking about it. Planning for it. Thinking about it. I'm in a situation where it makes sense. It's scary and I'm not ready. But it makes sense. 

I saw a healer during one of my darkest times about a year ago who told me that he almost stopped while he was working on me because he thought I was pregnant. Then, he said, he realized I wasn't pregnant, but I would be soon. 

I scoffed and said told him that I most certainly would not be. An IUD and no father figure in the picture said quite clearly that I wouldn't be. Oh, he said, this soul is coming. It's a matter of when. 
Outwardly I laughed it off, but inside, something blossomed. Me, pregnant. Carrying life after all I'd been through. I didn't know how it would happen. I hadn't yet met the wonderful man I would meet 4 months later. Who would want to have a baby with me. Me!

And here I am. That healer might be right. Maybe. We'll see.

In the meantime, my poor brain is trying so hard to protect me from more pain. It's telling me about the terrible things that could happen if I get pregnant. It's trying to convince me to not even try. Too many chances for heartbreak and suffering, so let's just skip it all together. 

But, the only way to avoid suffering is to never do anything or love anyone. And that's unacceptable to me. 

So, I'm actively working on thinking about all the wonderful things that could happen as I enter into this new phase of my second life. 

Preparing for the bad things before they happen doesn't work. You can't prepare. But you can ruin your chance to enjoy now. I would like to enjoy now, especially after all I've been through. 


  1. Cassie, this really resonated with me. Dan and I had plans for a family and I was so excited to be a mother to his children. I'd just turned 33 when he died and now, at 34, I've been trying to convince myself I don't want children, they are too exhausting, messy, expensive, time-consuming, demanding, etc - and that I'm 'ok' with being an auntie and living a simple, quiet life. A healer also told me I'll have a daughter one day and I'm not sure how I feel about it, I've almost convinced myself I don't want to be a mother (particularly because of the potential for great pain). I'd rather work towards being ready to be a wife again. Yet, I definitely feel unresolved on the issue. Like you, I worry and question and am not sure how I'll feel if the opportunity ever presents itself one day. Good luck and thanks for sharing, I really enjoy your writing.

  2. Where are all y'all finding these healers? Seriously, I *think* I'd like to go to one, if I could trust them.
    I'll keep my fingers crossed (metaphorically of course, it's hard to type if I do so literally) that the desires of your heart are granted.

  3. Seems to be a common thread, "enjoy the now". Yep, you got that right, you can't prepare for the bad things, but now that we all have been through the worst of the worst, you'd think it would be easier to embrace what we know and carry it forward with us. Unable to have children, we adopted, best thing I ever did. Opened my world, and my kids', to include so many more loving people, their birth families are a part of their lives to this day. Long live love. Best of luck to you, Cassie.

  4. Hello, we had one son.. I would have liked to hv more..son was married 3 months when his dad died..the following yr I got my first grandaughter. The most beautiful baby girl ever..smitten.. My widow fogggggg was so bad had she not been born don't knw what would hv happened to me?????? She saved my Life...God knew...that little baby was mine... My grandaughter, I did not want her to grow up thinking , my grandma went crazy after grandpa died... Did not want that..she has to grow up and face challenges and trials too so I wanted for her what I knew my ancestors did for me.. Not give up..oh she is my joyyyy.. My happyyy.. I give my life for her, I've lived mine.. It's a Love a can't describe. Just wonderful. Now I have number two.. Oh my!!!! Double Love... It's your only reward for Getn old....