There has been a lot of letting go in my life recently. Letting go of the way I think things should be. Letting go of expectations. Letting go of what I believe I want in place of what lies underneath.
I wanted more than one child. My daughter is the brightest light in my life and I am over the moon to be her mother. I just never thought of myself as the mother of one. When Ben died I told Steve I never wanted to get pregnant again. Then as the grief softened and the memories lost their edge, the word maybe began a slow creep into my reality. Maybe now that I’m off gluten…maybe now that my body is healing and I meditate daily…maybe this time everything would be fine. And maybe it wouldn’t. Every month as I wait for my flow to begin, I flash back to being pregnant and the horror of it all. It seems selfish to risk my life when I have so much to live for. It is a shift in my story, in my thinking about myself, to come to terms with having an only child, particularly one who talks about being a sister almost daily.
Early on, the idea of adopting a baby was appealing. Perhaps it might become so again, but if people think having a child is expensive, adopting one makes it even more so. Now that I am far enough away from the infant stage to feel a slight freedom, and to be getting a decent night’s sleep, I am not sure I need to go back. I am coming to a place of acceptance with all of this, though I haven’t arrived. My heart whispers that if we do want more children in our home, becoming foster parents might be the answer. Or it might not. I am letting go of knowing what it’s supposed to look like. There are moments of immense pain around these thoughts but more and more often, there are moments of grace.
As I look at the world around me – at families with two children, or four, or ten – I wonder at all of our journeys. There is no free ride for any of us. There is simply life. When I see a pregnant woman at the grocery store with three little ones already at her feet, or I watch someone carrying a newborn with a toddler in tow and jealousy begins to rear its head, I think of a story I once heard. I don’t remember the details but in it, everyone with a problem was invited to write it down and put it in a hat. Once all the problems had been discarded, people were to pick another from the hat, but no one wanted anyone else’s problems, they just didn’t want their own.
And so I remember when life feels hard and others’ look easy – I don’t want their problems. I wouldn’t trade my experience with Benjamin, the full scale healing that grief has brought, or the excitement of the path I am now walking. I wouldn’t give up the amazing people who have come into my life because he died and I chose to really live. The letting go is not always easy…and then sometimes it is.