I was standing in the kitchen tonight, taking a break from what turned out to be the end of my first effort at drafting a kimono-style tunic, wondering what’s driving this recent obsession with starting my own blog, and with sewing, and with not being a technical project manager anymore.
What came to mind was this: people say you are never the same person again after you have children, and I think the same is true in reverse. You are never the same person again after you don’t have children.
We started trying to get pregnant when I was 39. We saw our first fertility specialist 6 months later. A fantastic bunch of doctors and scientists (not to mention very good insurance and an incredible family) supported us through a gazillion doctor’s appointments and 4 surgeries and a little over a year later, we were ready for our first attempt at IVF. Our insurance company covered two attempts, and our parents covered the co-pay, and we used our savings to buy a 4 bedroom house to welcome home the result.
Nothing could have prepared me for the experience of trying so hard to get pregnant. I don’t mean the physical part – the invasive nature of all that medicine has to offer in the way of the fertility arts is astounding, but not particularly surprising. It was The Hoping. The looking across the table and being able to picture, so, so clearly the little boy (or girl) who would be joining us there; my head was filled with the family we were making. I knew what this little kid was going to look like, grin like, laugh like, be like. I knew. It filled me with a kind of terror, this sudden, late, overwhelming longing. The heaviness of the empty arms, held out and waiting for our baby.
I got pregnant our first try. I miscarried 9 weeks later. We tried again, but didn’t get pregnant. Suddenly, I was 42.
When we started trying to have a baby we both assumed failure would simply be met with “Oh well. Whatever. We tried.”
We were wrong.
Skip with me over the enormous gap that followed.
Here’s what I’m trying to say:
The ladies in my family taught me how to be a mother. It was part of the curriculum, along with shelling peas, weeding around tomato plants, painting, sketching, and making tiny wire haired terriers and roses out of Mrs. Baird’s bread. They also taught me how to sew.
They taught me how to create a life. They also taught me how to carry on with the life I have.
I suppose the artistic opportunities life affords are more important to me now than they were before because I don’t have children depending on me for financial support… and maybe because… probably mostly because, the energy I’m not able to channel in to creating a person has to go somewhere and is going in to my own life. We always use what we learn, even if we don’t use it the way we expected to.
It’s all good.
That is my very best guess at all this tonight, anyway. Here’s a home movie of me and my brother modeling nightgown, PJs, and robes my aunt Pam made for us for Christmas. Still my favorite nightgown in memory.