My husband and I tried for eight years before our first live birth. We are now planning (and praying) for our third healthy little love.
On the night that my doctor told me I was pregnant I called him a liar. I dismissed every nurse afterwards the way only a woman whose womb eaten her children could do. I turned my back. I ignored it. I pretended that what was really happening was a cruel joke by God to prove he was still in control.
My body liked to get pregnant. It just didn’t believe in full terms. In turn, I learned to dismiss the yearning I had for children. It became a nuisance, a mosquito buzzing in my ear as I passed the baby section, pregnant women, babies. I wrote poems about it. I raged about it in round tables with other women. I forgot I was not alone.
I waited for the first ultrasound, only to find there was no heartbeat. The tech tried to convince me it was just too early. Except wanting women know too much about the timelines between conception and heartbeats and births. I was not convinced. It would take five more weeks before a second ultrasound revealed a tiny little gummy bear and a strong beating heart.
I have added to that first miracle a second living, breathing dream. My hopes and prayers that this third is just as healthy,happy, and whole is still a knot in my throat. I will never forget those years of waiting. I will never go through pregnancy with the ease of a woman who “knew” she would have children. So be it.
After all of this, the clincher. I am a working mom. So many of us have this particular claim. I work mostly from home. Sometimes, this is because I can and other times it is because I have no other choice. I am a working mom, author. The hours are long, and unpredictable as one would expect. I work double duty as a stay-at-home mom during the day and then at night – all night I work.
I am exhausted all the time. #momlife
However, that isn’t the part that kills me. When my darlings were born I promised myself a handful of new mom promises. Of them, I would be there whenever they wanted me. It wouldn’t matter if they needed me, the wanting would be enough. I would never ever let them reach for me and not come.
Some of you mamas are already nodding your head. You know exactly where this is going and you would be right. I’ve broken that promise. I’ve never let them need me, but some of those wants to have gone unmet. My beloveds hate it when I say, mama has to work. The eldest inevitably asks me why. It is the same answer every night and yet, it feels insufficient.
On those nights when things are particularly rough and nothing their father does will suffice, I find myself weighing my decision to be an author. What am I giving them that is so important it requires I take from their time with me? There are at least seven layers to that answer, but two stay with me all the time.
One. I am teaching them the value of owning ones time by making a living through ones passion.
Two. Sometimes, you just have to feed your own soul.
I am a good mother. I say this, because it is both true and I need to hear it. My children are inquisitive, and funny. They are sure of themselves and have healthy boundaries. We eat cake for breakfast some days. We watch television together. We read the same book at least twenty times a week. They are smart enough to challenge anyone who tries to feed them inaccurate information, yet humble enough to ask questions about what they don’t know.
They are all these things with me working.
I am thankful for my lover, my husband. The father he is reveals itself in the joy they have when they know he is home. He is a man of little needs with an emotionally high maintenance wife. When I need to feed my soul, he makes the sacrifice. We are in this together.
Being an author, working-mom does not come with the guarantees of some working positions. There are more risks to take. One of the risk I take is that my children will see the time away and find it fruitless. So I work hard, I study hard, and I learn everything I can about this business. When they are old enough to read my books, I want the light bulb to go off in their heads. I want them to know that mama wrote to feed them and herself. One day they will have living dreams and a passion too. They will know how to crack open and give both all they got.
To those of you fighting similar battles, do not give in to the guilt. You are working because this is what it takes to feed your children. You are working, so they do not starve and so they learn that love is layered. Love is as present in hours spent away as it is in hours spent with.
My beloveds don’t doubt that I love them. I don’t doubt that they love me. So I make sure that when I am creating I give it all I have. The hours away have to be worth the time I sacrifice away from them. When I get it right, I know then that they are.