Life / Love / Thoughts

The Laid out Life. Part II

When I was about sixteen or seventeen, I wrote down the things that I wanted to do with my life. I wrote three careers and the pros and cons as I saw them. They were: an international aid worker, an owner of a coffeehouse, and a missionary. 

I looked at the themes, the reasons why I wanted to do those jobs. I analyzed them, wrote everything thing and kept it. I knew I wanted to travel. That’s why the missionary and international aid, but I also knew how I wanted to do it. I wanted to intimately know other places. The coffeehouse was the other side of my personality, the practical one. I wanted to make a safe haven. There was a coffeehouse in my town that displayed artist’s work, showed local bands, was a teen hangout and viewed as a safe place, and had next to nothing to do with coffee (a good thing because I never good stand the stuff). Part of me needed a plan that would give me the purpose I needed with out demanding me to move around. I knew I wanted kids. 

As women, I think we are expected to make our life decisions based around children. Men are perhaps encouraged, but definitely not expected. I understood this and knew that if I wanted kids, the travel would be limited. I thought that I would love it. That being a mother would be all consuming and very life changing. That all my priorities would completely rearrange. And they did, if not in the way I expected. 

Let me say first that I love my son more than life itself. He is a joy to me everyday, and I love to watch him grow. But the rest of me is feeling so stuck. Before we got pregnant, I was feeling that way. We tried for a long time, a couple of years actually, and then I started to reevaluate my life. I started looking into grad school and thinking that life wouldn’t be so bad without kids. I saw this whole range is possibilities again and just took the first steps to embarking on new adventures. I applied for and was informally offered a teaching position in South Korea. I took three weeks off to consider my life and all of the options. When I got home, I felt content and settled and decided that homestasis is not so bad. I immediately got pregnant. All this time, I thought, I haven’t felt settled, haven’t been sure and I could have just had kids if I’d had the right mindset. And I was overjoyed. Then, as many of you know, I lost that baby. But what I didn’t share is that I was not excited for my next pregnancy. 

I’m sure many women who’ve miscarried can agree that the next pregnancy is more terrifying than exciting. You just can’t bring yourself to hope again sometimes. And somewhere along the way, I never let go of that and let myself be truly excited. It was all so surreal, beyond surreal. It felt like I was living someone else’s life. After I had Gavin, that feeling passed for a time. We kept super busy, and I loved every single moment of it. But now, settling into the day to day again, I don’t feel excited. It feels like I’ve miscarried my first life, and I’m just not sure that I want another. All I really know is that, this life isn’t, wasn’t, won’t be mine. I’m not taking ownership of it. I don’t enjoy it. It bores me. I can only imagine the cringing happening… But it’s the truth. 

I think I decided what my life should be, and made it so, before I knew what it would be. Does that make sense? I’ve never dealt with the reality of choosing a life based on merit instead of joy. I’m not sure I want it. And I know that’s incredibly selfish, but once in a while I ask myself, what would I want Gavin to do in his life, and how do I show him? Would he more appreciate that I sacrificed what I wanted for him, or would he better learn that life can make you happy by me doing what makes me happy? 

    The Laid Out Life

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4 thoughts on “The Laid out Life. Part II

  1. Hi there sacred struggler. [Being new-ish to your blog I was not aware of your difficult journey to parenthood. Thankyou for filling a newbie like me in. Sometimes I think being a woman can be a bit brutal – emotionally and physically – with all that can happen with respect to pregnancy. I have not been though a miscarriage (I’m sorry that you had that experience) and our first two children came about very easily although, so far, we’ve been waiting nearly two years for our next one. This unexpected gap has opened up big questions for me and its weird not knowing if my motherhood journey is over already, Should I emotionally wait “in limbo” for a few more years, or should I “move on” to other things?].

    Just wondering exactly what you mean by “I think I decided what my life should be, and made it so, before I knew what it would be.” – how have you decided what you life should be?…. “I’ve never dealt with the reality of choosing a life based on merit instead of joy.” – what are you thinking of when you say merit?
    “Would he more appreciate that I sacrificed what I wanted for him, or would he better learn that life can make you happy by me doing what makes me happy? ” – Do you mean that there things that would make you happy that are incompatible/hard to reconcile with parenthood?

    Sorry, so many questions there.

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    • So sorry to hear about this delay for you. It’s a long road sometimes, and I know sometimes you get your hopes up for nothing. That’s very difficult. Not being able to conceive comes with so many thoughts and puts out entire lives on hold essentially.
      For me, I began to think quite selfishly. I could get my masters and run away to some distant land to see exotic things. My husband and I discussed it and he was not okay with it. He is very much a settled down person. We wouldn’t be us, if I lived my life in a constant state of travel. He feels as though he didn’t sign up for that when he married me. Therefore, I chose how my life should be (settled down in one spot with kids) before I knew how I would really feel about it. I have not yet dealt with the fact that I have chosen this life simply because I want my kids to be happy and safe, not me. When I evaluated my life, I realized that I chose my husband primarily because he would be a wonderful father. (Merit vs joy)
      This this thought process: “What if I didn’t/ couldn’t have children???? My whole life has been set up for kids happiness and safety not mine!! Why in the world would I not set up my life to make me happy? Hm, I think I shall.”
      I don’t think traveling is conducive to raising kids. I know it’s not to my marriage. And yet, that is what makes me happy. That is what I want to do.

      Wow, hurts a lot more to write that all out… I generally prefer to just leave it as my mind needs to say it. That was kind of brutal. I suppose I must answers these questions though, it’s the point of the blog. Haha. You get what you ask for in this life.

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  2. I’m sorry to have prompted hurt by my questions!! You certainly didn’t have to answer (Perhaps I should have said something like, “..if you don’t mind me asking..”) – absolutely feel free to disregard any future questions – don’t want things to be brutal!

    Good on you for making your marriage and your little boy such a priority 🙂 (although I’m kind of hoping that there is at least a little joy, as well as merit, in your choice of husband?..) Sacrifices are hard. You’ve possible already thought about this…but are there some “compromise” options? (I personally think extended travel is EXCELLENT for both children and marriage relationships – if you can find the right sort of travel that you all enjoy. Constant travel may not be good, but that doesn’t necessarily mean no travel at all, does it? http://theartofsimpletravel.net/easier-travel-with-kids/

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    • Oh, it’s fine. If I don’t want to answer I won’t. Never feel like you have to tiptoe! It’s the point of my blog to face things. Sometimes honesty is painful that’s all. I shall check out the link.

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