Weddings and What Comes After

Weddings and What Comes After July 10, 2013

Sometimes I feel like I’m rushing through life stages. Things got a little crunched because it took me a lot longer than I expected to find a life partner. Now I’ve found the perfect man for me. He is so very good to me and we see eye to eye on nearly everything. I used to think when I was younger that I would want some years with my husband to just enjoy each other before we had kids, but these days I don’t feel that way anymore. I long for children in a way that I can’t even describe. My body, mind, and soul are all in unity on this one desire. (However, I make a practice of non-attachment and so I strive to maintain perspective in this pursuit.)

I think being a little older changes a lot of things. Brad and I were in sync much faster because we had years of growing into ourselves. We are doing a lot less experimenting and figuring life out than we would be if we met six or seven years ago. At a certain age it seems like people get married only once they’ve decided they want to have children. For a lot of people, having children is the only reason to get married. I don’t feel that way. I want to get married because it is something that I’ve always dreamed of  having. I’ve wanted a marriage and a wedding to feel sealed into our family of two. Not everyone needs that. I do.

Still, we feel ready to add to our little family. As ready as one can be, anyway, for such a life-changing moment.

Some people believe in staying quiet about plans to try for a baby in case there is trouble or things don’t work out. I am not that kind of person. I don’t care whether questions about my plans to start a family are someone’s business or not. I’m happy to share. I’m glad to tell you that yes, after the wedding I am looking straight at having a baby. I’ve been waiting a hec of a long time, if you ask me!

I was extremely maternal as a young child. My mother marveled at how carefully I cared for my baby dolls. A friend (when I was six) had a doll that would try to crawl, fall, and cry. I wanted one! I borrowed that doll whenever I could. The way it would cry and call out for “mama” really called to my maternal instincts. I found a book about babies on my parents’ bookshelf. It had detailed explanations about what to expect from pregnancy through the first year with lots of pictures. In the fifth grade, at ten years old, I was bringing that book to school. I poured over it. My parents never saw it again because it was always with me! For a long car trip I made a cassette tape of the sound of a baby crying at random intervals to listen to on my walkman so that I could care for my baby doll in a more realistic way. I dreamed up ways that dolls could be made more realistic. I thought they should weigh more, they should spit up, and poop. I wanted the full experience of babies.

As a teenager I had to fight hard against hormones that longed for a baby. I didn’t want to sleep with anyone, mind you. I was terrified of that idea! But I longed for a baby that was all mine when I was 15, 16, 17. I read books like Rila of Ingleside in which Anne of Green Gable’s daughter adopts a war orphan during WWI. I wished a baby would just magically appear for me.

For a while in my twenties this desire cooled down. I grew selfish. I realized that my parents had been amazingly selfless and I felt it wouldn’t be fair to a child for me to be its mother until I was ready to be that way too. I wasn’t sure I would ever be ready. I worried about the changes being pregnant would bring to my body. Would I become unlovable because my feet got bigger? (A concern that vanished once I met a man who loves me no matter what I look like and is not less attracted to me if I gain thirty pounds or don’t shave my legs for weeks).

But then my close friend, who had wanted to be a mother even more than I did, who never wavered in her desire for her children, died childless. It reignited my passion for babies and for the four years since then the desire for a child has burned through every vein of my body every day. I was dating someone, but the time wasn’t right. I tried to push off this desire by knitting baby things and making a detailed spreadsheet of things I needed to accomplish before I had a baby: a certain amount in savings, certain patterns knitted, learn Hindi. I gathered baby books and toys when I saw them. Then I stopped dating the guy. And I realized that I needed to be alone for a while and learn more about myself without the pressure to be the perfect woman, a mold that I kept trying to squeeze into and could never fit.

I wasn’t sure I would ever be in a relationship again. After a while of that, I looked into the Single Motherhood By Choice movement. I wondered and considered whether I could have a child on my own (with plenty of support from a close network of wonderful friends, including my ex!) But I decided that I don’t have what it takes to care for a child alone (I admire those who do!). Once again I pushed back against my intense biological drive.

Another very close friend decided she was ready to start her family with her husband of five years. Being someone who struggles with envy, it was very hard for me when she got married and it is equally hard to see her going through pregnancy, child birth, and having a baby when I want those things too. Which is not to say that I don’t adore her daughter and love hanging out with them. Emotions are complicated and sometimes a little contradictory.

When I marry in a few weeks I will be 31 years old. I have waited many years to have a child and that dream is finally in the realm of possibility. At last. At last. I know that everything happens in its time and that I had some sanskara to work off before I could be ready for this. But I am ready and Brad is ready. Seeing him with the children of our friends and our family warms my heart. He delights in them. We come home and both say to each other, “I want that.”

You will be with us as we navigate these new waters. When there is heartbreak, I will share it with you. I will share my worries, my fears, and my joys. A long-awaited chapter begins!

(This painting is available for sale here

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