I am not a mother. After 63 months, hundreds of pregnancy tests, a five-digit sum for a ten-syllable label, and two counts of attempted adoption, I’m pretty positive.
My husband’s seed is essentially flawless, and I’ve seen live footage of the inside of my uterine soil. Personally I think it looks lovely. Soft, squishy pink walls with minimal endometrial fluff, floating around like perfect little baby pillows. And the overly chipper doctor performing the exam agreed.
And I can’t complain
Well I do complain, but I shouldn’t. I seek to celebrate infertility eating sushi in hot tubs with soft cheeses whenever possible. I can go out to dinner on a whim and travel internationally without finding a sitter. I have to admit, it is a little glamorous.
But I still ache with emptiness when I allow myself to recognize the absence. I have heavily acronymed diplomas, drive a two door car, wear dry clean only items at least three times a week. But I would swap it all for one little muffin.
Some days I point out little children to my husband. I ask him how far down in Mexico he thinks we could get before their parents realized they were gone. I usually favor the odds of large families with a gene pool similar to our own. My husband typically opts for toddlers, just bordering on verbal skills. But I don’t really want those kids, even the remarkably cute, well behaved ones. Because I want my kids. I don’t want any of your kids. I want my kids.
They don’t need hazel eyes, or a propensity for turn of the century literature. They don’t even need to fancy candied ginger. I just want to know that when I hold them, they were given to me.
In the Old Testament Jacob’s wife Rachel declared, “Give me children, or else I die.” Her sister Leah was in a procreating frenzy and every other verse, handmaids Bilhah and Zilpah are pregnant, but it seemed Rachel’s womb was fixed shut. Then in verse 22 of Genesis 30, when you least expect it, there’s the one line I cling to: “And God remembered Rachel.”
God remembers me too. And someday, I know I’ll hold a child that looks to me for all-inclusive support. But for now, I don’t know if the world needs more children or more mothers.
There are hungry father-in-laws, and despondent sisters, there are friends suffering from too little clean laundry, and husbands who need foot rubs, regardless of whether they are minors, they need mothers. Even mothers need mothers.
And for now, that’s what I look for, opportunities to mother. You don’t need to possess someone to love them. Loving is not synonymous with possessing; and possessing is not necessarily loving. But loving and nurturing is mothering. I believe that makes me a mother, regardless of whether I’m capable of creating double lines on a pregnancy test.
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