Life just got in the way.
It’s random events that set me off…
Walking past a schoolyard at pick-up time, noticing the little hands entwined in the safety of a mother’s grip. A friend sending me a text cancelling lunch as her five-year-old is home sick from childcare. My own mother wistfully telling me that she wishes she could put all my dreams in a box and give them to me. Although somewhat unrelated, they all represent something I don’t understand: a mother’s love.
They beg the question – what does it feel like? What is it like to feel your child’s hand in your palm, to nurse a sick baby, or to love someone so much that your dreams revolve around them. I can’t answer those questions. I don’t know what it feels like because I’ve never experienced motherhood.
This wasn’t the plan. I’d always intended to have children. Two to be exact. One at 25, and the second at 28. Over the years that 25 became 35 and the 28 turned into 38, but the plan was always in tact. But then, as is the case for so many of us, life stepped in the way of my plans.
At first I found myself in a succession of unsuccessful relationships, and then in the middle of my peak dating years (just when my selection of men was improving) I got struck down by an illness. For the next seven years, dating and motherhood became secondary to mere survival. They became things ‘other people did’ – they didn’t even warrant space in my life.
Initially when I got better I thought I was over that phase; over motherhood. But its slowly been creeping its way back into my thoughts and life. Do we as women ever get over the desire to have children, even when we may have accepted its improbability? I see it in the eyes of talented and beautiful women I’ve questioned about whether they have a child, or wanted one if they didn’t. There is a look in their eyes, perhaps only recognisable by another childless woman. Their eyes may glaze over, a tear could form, or they may seem empty for a moment.