I was maybe 38 or 39. I think I’d just ended a “relationship” with another one of my 3-month-boyfriends.
My therapist and I had been together since I was 30. She knew how much I wanted to be a mom someday. She knew that if I wasn’t in a relationship, at a certain point, I might do it on my own.
“Maybe now we should talk about you having a baby,” she said, gently.
“What?” I cried. “NO! No! I’m not ready!” I was planning on talking about how annoyed I was at this woman I knew. I was going to tell a funny story. I loved making my therapist laugh.
“Not ready to have a baby?” she asked
“Not ready to talk about it!” I said.
“Why not?” She asked.
“Because…” I was sobbing. “I’m going to meet someone!”
I knew that the likelihood of me really meeting someone now was not good. There was something in me that just didn’t seem to be able to fall in love with anyone (notice how I’m NOT blaming the guys I date.) I wasn’t even sure that I’d know love if it came to me or if I really even wanted it.
I was terrified of really doing something different. I’d lived a pretty conventional life, with the exception of being an artistic/creative type. Would I be criticized? Would I be mocked? Why was I so worried about what other people thought?
I was terrified that I wouldn’t be able to do it; for one, I was NOT a morning person.
My therapist nodded.
“I have time! And if I have a baby on my own…. then, my life is over. That’s it for me. I’m done!”
“What does that mean?” My therapist asked.
“Well,” I remember being so overwhelmed with emotions, “I just feel like I’ll be 40 and alone and isolated and the baby will go to sleep and I’ll just sit home alone and be lonely and my life will be over.”
Fear of the unknown is a powerful thing.
It is so much easier to live the way you know… even if you aren’t as happy as you could be. Even if you want more.
“I know I’ll love the baby,” I said, “But I don’t know if I’m ready to give up everything. I don’t know if I can do this.”
What was I really giving up? Um… there wasn’t that much going on in my life. Over the last few years, I’d somehow made all this room for a child to fit right into my world. I was ready, even though I didn’t know it.
Not becomming a parent the normal way was freaking me out.
“There isn’t a normal way anymore,” she told me. “And having a partner doesn’t always mean it’s earier to be a parent.”
“I’m not ready to talk about it.” I said. “And besides, I’ll probably meet someone.”
It took another year or so before I was ready to talk about it. And it was terrifying. I had no idea if I’d get what I wanted, things never seemed to work out for me, I thought…. and yet, I had faith. I believed. Thanks to my therapist and Dan and a few others who I knew would support me, I found the courage to figuratively shut my eyes and jump in blindly.
I wanted my baby.
If I had known this little guy was waiting for me… I wouldn’t have had a speck of fear or a second of hesitation.
Wow, I am so happy to have found your blog, and love your positive messages about choosing single motherhood. Your pre-pregnancy panic sounds like the emotional rollercoaster I also went through at 38/39- that age resistance thing, reality of being single fighting with the fantasy of meeting a man – a husband to be! – when I hadn’t managed it in the previous 20 years of my dating life. I am now also a solo mom. In my case, I got pregnant by accident at age 41 in a short relationship with Mr Wrong, and while he broke up with me and said I shouldn’t keep “it”, I knew I was being given an amazing chance to be a mother. Even though it wasn’t in the fantasy-love-marriage scenario I’d always thought it would be, I wouldn’t change being a mom for anything!
Thank you, Meg! That means so much to me and I love your story. It’s so amazing the way we feel that life is supposed to be a certain way and then we find so much joy from the unexpected. So many of my friends’ 15+year marriages are ending now… it’s so interesting.
You are inspiring me to blog… I’ve been on a little break 🙂