“So when are you two going to have a baby?” It’s a question we hear on a regular basis. I’m not offended by it (I think), for I often ask myself the same thing. And I also know that what I have right now is really all I need and want. However, I have oscillated between the “when” and “if” recently because the desire has started to grow. Much more than when my son was first born 5 years ago and with all that surrounded the aftermath, there was no decision to be considered then. Impulsively during my transition into single motherhood and out of the infant stage, I rid my home of anything baby—clothes, gear, bottles— all donated with the intention of someone else fulfilling a happy and loving life full of beautiful memories with their newborns. I wasn’t ready to be reminded of what I had just gone through: all of baby’s firsts without having a partner.
Nowadays is a different story though. I look back on that time and can still feel that familiar hurt and isolation (it’s just a little less effective now), but I’m not even sure if I want that to totally disappear anyway. I’m open to sharing what I learned and how it’s a daily decision to forgive myself and keep living. That time was a mere chapter in the book that I continue to write each day. And now that my life keeps moving on, people are curious. We are social beings by nature.“So when are you two going to have a baby?” It’s that question that inspired this post.
I’m on my own journey. One in which my loving husband now joins me. A journey that was paved by a failed marriage and a healthy, loved child with bright eyes and wild hair. A child whose day can be made by splashing in puddles, asking questions, slurping “manscetti,”rough-housing, and reading books at bedtime. A child who receives a hug when hurting and direction when hurting others. A child who is his own person who knows what it is like to be loved by a village that’s not perfect. The journey we’re on began in confusion, heartbreak, and shame, but it found a u-turn that continues to give way to self-forgiveness, compassion, freedom, and vulnerability. My “broken” family is surviving. Compromise, support, and co-parenting fuel this possibility. And that’s not to say it isn’t difficult, because it is at times for many in our village. But it also is what it is. And it’s the life I had many choices in choosing. So I’m okay. And our family is okay. We have love and we have awareness. A sturdy foundation for our modern family.
To bring another child into this world requires some emotional logistics for a step-family by nature. I’m figuring it all out. And what I can’t figure out, I’m okay with not knowing; it just takes some sitting back. Not preparing too hard for what’s to come, but preparing just enough. Some navigation through many unanswered questions about changing what we do have. Some taking chances and plenty of looking-back.
One day there may be another child in this family of ours. But for right now, I love what I have. Because what I have now is more than I hoped and prayed for some time ago. From here on out, I will choose to be happy with what I have and what I don’t have.