Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Dreams That Die

When I was pregnant with my son, it was a very, very difficult time in my life. And I have no doubt that it was the very presence of his developing being in my body that kept me alive. Without that, I would have had zero motivation/reason in my mind to continue living. Things were really, really bad. I was alone, broken-hearted, betrayed, scared.

I wrote a poem for Zachary once he was born that summed up how I felt about what his existence had meant in my life:

For My Sweet Zachary

You came into my life as such a surprise,
At a time when my hope was all but gone.
The universe knew this.
It gave you to me as its gift.

To tell me to keep on....
To have hope...
To keep my heart open...
To remain loving, caring, committed...
No matter what the world throws my way.

I was terrified.
Afraid I would not be good enough,
For you,
To you,
With you.

This tiny life inside of me
Continued to grow each day.
And I remained amazed that my body
Could and would sustain such a miracle.
I was profoundly touched
That the universe believed I deserved such honor
To be chosen as your mother.

You arrived eight days early.
And I was giddy with excitement
As I labored to bring your life
Into this world,
To begin your journey
As an independent human being.

And when first I held you,
I'd never seen anything so beautiful
In all of my life.
And I cried that you were mine.
That the waiting was over
And you were here.

For me to love,
To hold,
To nurture,
To protect,
To teach,
To learn to let go.

We have so many years
Of this journey ahead of us.
And already
I've learned so much.
I've learned what really matters.
You are here,
You are safe,
You are healthy,
You are beautiful and happy.

And I've learned
That for now,
Loving you
Is all that I really need to do
To be enough.

I love you Zachary Ryan,
Now and always.

– Love, Mommy
June 11, 2001

It's probably time that I share this poem with him. It's been on another website of mine for years. Much of my older poetry is on there. I wrote poetry a lot when I was younger, it helped me work through many of my feelings growing up. I have continued to write on and off over the years, but this is really the last decent poem I've written...that I felt passionately enough about to write something that felt so true to my heart.

I have not always wanted children. Before I was married, I swore I would not have children because I was so afraid I would mess them up. By the time I got married, I'd done enough work on myself to think that maybe, just maybe, I could be a decent enough parent not to screw up a kid as much as I was. With my ex-husband, there was a tubal pregnancy, and subsequent fertility issues for me. We tried to conceive after the tubal pregnancy, but had no luck.

Zachary's father and I had been trying to start a family for 8 months...charting morning temperature every day of the month, checking cervical mucus, etc. All to no avail...until of course things were an absolute mess and it was pretty clear the relationship would be ending. I went back on birth control pills and got pregnant that first month back on them. Imagine my surprise...I was terrified, I had no intention of ever being a single parent. I have always believed that children need two involved parents.

My pregnancy was difficult on me. Alone, scared, stressed by finding out about the "woman" that he'd gotten together with. There was no partner with whom to share the joy or excitement or fear of my pregnancy. The nights that the baby's movements inside of me kept me up, there was no one to wake and share that with. It's still a really painful memory to me, all of those months.

For such a long time, I held out hope that I would have more children with a loving partner. In the last year or so though, my aging body has been something I've had to reckon with in my mind with regards to this dream. I very sadly reconciled myself to the fact that I would probably never have more babies. I started to believe though, within the past few months, briefly, that I might actually have this dream become a reality. It pains me to have to let it go again...I thought I was done with my heart breaking over the loss of this dream. Apparently, I'm not.

I look at the beautiful little boy I have, and I am so incredibly lucky to have him. He is my miracle. He wants siblings...he talks so much about how he wants it to be more than just he and I. And I understand that feeling for him. I really do. I want that too. At this moment though, I think that I'm probably destined to spend my life without a partner...without more children...and I want to go back to being okay with that instead of feeling heartbroken about it. I'm not quite sure how to get there again. Maybe it's just something that will take time.

My weight is now stable...my health is good. I'd be in a good place to have more children...well, except for being 40 (and I was reminded at my physical that my eggs are old, *sigh*). I'm a fit 40...more fit than I ever have been, mentally and physically. And yet my dreams feel like they are being left to die. It hurts...it really does. I feel angry about it too.

I struggle with why it is so hard for me to let go of connections to other people. It seems as though others are able to move on so much more easily when a connection has ended...almost as if people, relationships, are disposable. For me, all I can think is "how can anyone have that strong of a connection to another person and then simply walk away and let it go?" I can't do that...it seems to take so much time for the feelings to dissipate. I have people that I was so close to many years ago, and our friendships/relationships have ended, and STILL it plagues me...why we can't still be close. I think I'm a good friend. I certainly try to be. But the fact that a relationship with me can be so easily walked away from leaves me with self-doubt as to my worth as a friend and what I have to offer. What is wrong with me? Why can't I just turn the feelings off and walk away like others can?

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