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?