This is a long post, so please bear with me. It is somewhat personal exploration. Maybe those who read it might find some answers for themselves if they have similar dilemmas.
Almost two weeks ago I broke up with a man I still love. We split up because I have many things I do not understand about myself, and I don’t feel I can be supportive of him when I don’t have my physical and mental illnesses under control, and don’t have a good grasp of who I am.
One of the questions that has begun to float around in my head is: do I want to be a wife, and mother? Aside from the difficulties I have with menstruation, depression, anxiety, and overall physical health, are these roles I want to fulfill? They say every woman has the instincts to be a caretaker. I guess that’s true, I love and care for my only fur child, my cat Lucia. But do I want to marry someone, be committed to them, and then bear their children? I’m not sure.
So I thought maybe it was time to step back and examine ideals. I realized that I am not connected to the big traditional archetypes of maiden, mother, crone. My reproductive abilities are severely limited, though not completely non-existent. I am called to be a warrior, a cauldron-keeper, a daughter of the fourth phase of the moon as I now understand it. But when attending PSG, I was sitting near a campsite where the young women going through the maidens’ rite of passage met, and was washed over by regret that I couldn’t have that. There couldn’t be a defining ceremony of young womanhood, of choice and responsibility, and a family that embraced my choice to have such a ceremony. Even if that could happen, I’m too old. I’ve never felt like a maiden, and at twenty-four I am closing in on what are normally the years of motherhood. In fact one of the reasons I ended the relationship I was in was that I wished that at eighteen, nineteen, twenty years old, I could have had time to explore the world, make mistakes, and know both freedom and the ways of the world in other than the harshest, most unforgiving light. I wish I could have been a normal teenager, with a part-time job, first dates, curfews, nights in and nights out. I never got that. I had to transition from the middle child, to effectively being the eldest in my early teens. I wish I could have known time for self-exploration where I didn’t feel caged. I didn’t recognize the cage back then, because what went on at home seemed normal. Now I do, and it can be painful at times.
I like the image of a big family, headed up by me and a man I grow old with, two or three children and their spouses, and lots of grandchildren, all carrying on my legacy of witchcraft, of caring for the earth and each other. That is an image I genuinely love. There are many intervening years between now and then, and it is what should fill those years that I question. Twenty or so years of preparing meals and school lunches, fighting my own chronic illnesses, working forty-hour weeks while pregnant, sleeplessness nights full of screaming infants. That is what comes to mind when I think the next couple of decades. A lot of feeling tired, spread too thin, physical pain. Is that something I want? There is a certain amount of enjoyment in the idea of a daughter with my looks, hopefully minus the hypothyroid and impossible shoe size, plus a little more luck in the height department.
I cannot pretend to idealize the idea of motherhood, though it sounds doable. I don’t like the idea of being the “work-a-mommy.” And I want some independent income. I run into issues of needing complete solitude when I’m around one or more people for an extended period of time, which was another problem in my previous relationship. I either craved attention or being completely by myself, and in my little apartment there were many times I felt unable to relax simply because I could hear him in the other room. No idea where that issue comes from. I lived in dorms for five years, for gods’ sake. And how does a loose poly-amorous relationship blend with the far-future fantasy of grandchildren, a life partner, and a family book of shadows? I’m not sure.