This week I had a lovely day with Vinnie's godmother, five months pregnant and ridiculously glow-y. And while she was more into talking about what happened my miserable relationship and what she thought of the ex's new girlfriend, all I wanted to talk about was babies. Babies. Babies. Babies. I actually love babies. Kids too. And being pregnant and childbirth and breastfeeding and being a mom and all that stuff that comes with it.
Before I sound all 'crazy baby lady' and scare off every future love interest with my ovulation-lust I'll explain a little.
I was 15 when my littlest brother was born and I got my first taste of 'The Babies'. My mom joked it would be effective birth control for me. But while I wasn't about to re-create my own version of 'Sixteen and Pregnant' I knew babies were for me. By 17 I was in a relationship with a divorced man and his two kids, in fact when we split I was more upset about missing the kids than him. Before then I had always assumed I would adopt a child (yes, I was the oddest 10 year old you could have met!) and I wanted to be an intellectual. Now I just wanted to get married, have a hundred babies, live on a farm and walk barefoot the rest of my life. Of course, I'm not saying intelligence and academia are mutually exclusive with motherhood - on the contrary I did my degree and most of my learning since having Vin, but now my lifeplan was kiddos, with the intellectual pursuits more of a spare-time hobby.
I then forgot about babies pretty much until I got pregnant with Vinnie - at which point I lost myself in amongst all the babies and birthpools and breast pads.
I truly found myself in motherhood and all the things that being a mom has brought to my life - even the things I would have thought were totally unrelated, I respond to and act differently as a mom. In motherhood I walk differently on the earth.
So back to my friend and her glow and her bump. I am struck by a mad case of friend-envy (frenvy?) I am insanely happy for her, of course, but her having a baby just reminds me that I am not.
Of course, I am grateful every day for my son, the relationship we have, the love he brings to my life. I am astoundingly fortunate to have known pregnancy and birth and motherhood. I may still meet someone and have more children or step-children or adopted children. Of course, the break-up of my relationship may not be the end of any future parenting journeys.
But seeing my friend and her lovely husband, so happy, in love, in that moment, it reminds me of when we were in that moment. So happy imagining our future. When we were picking names and scrutinising fuzzy scan pictures to get a glimpse of how our child was going to look when we first met him. I miss that moment.
I had always taken it for granted that we would have more babies. That Vinnie would grow up with brothers and sisters just like both of us did. We would get married and buy a house and there was always going to be more babies. When people asked me about more babies I would change my mind daily between 'yes, more babies right now please' and 'our relationship with Vin is so special, we can wait a little while' but I always assumed the plan was more babies.
As she was leaving my friend mentioned how she had imagined us both being pregnant at the same time, our kids growing up together. She put into words exactly what I had been feeling. All those plans I had made. The holidays we weren't going to take. The house we will never buy. The kiddos we'll never have. I didn't just have to get over our past, but I need to let go of the future I had imagined. And that, has been my hardest journey so far.
Photo via Road Fun