(Click to hear how I navigate sharing stories about my family in public spaces and to hear me read this poem)
I wonder what it would be like if I’d never had them.
But I wouldn’t have any way of knowing the difference.
I wouldn’t have done the hard work of growing into a mother.
Having never done that, I would never know the pain I would have passed over.
I would have grown differently, twisted in a different direction by the light of a different sun.
I wasn’t sure I wanted to be a mom.
It seemed like the right thing to do at the time.
I hadn’t yet felt the longing in my heart.
I wasn’t ready.
No one ever is.
I was even less ready than that.
I didn’t know how to stand firmly on my own feet yet.
How to take up the space of my own life.
I was not ready to take responsibility for someone else’s.
When I told my mother I was pregnant she went silent.
Having been a mom for 27 years at that point, she knew what I did not.
But she could not say.
I chose to have him.
It took two years to decide.
I wasn’t ready to be a mom again,
to risk a return of postpartum anxiety.
Then one night,
listening to a friend sing under the stars,
I looked up
and knew I was ready.
I chose him.
Can I now chose her?
Instead of saying
I don’t want to,
I don’t know how to,
I wish it hadn’t happened,
I wish it were different,
I wish she was different,
can I choose it all?
It’s certainly not what I would have chosen.
I didn’t expect the pain of having to grow up alongside her.
But can I choose her now,
just as she is,
not long for a different reality,
but open my heart and choose this one?
Stand up and fight for it.
Double down and commit.
fierce in my acceptance?
What do you say yes too? What do you choose?
How has your identity changed as new relationships come into your life and old ones fade away?
How did you feel about becoming a parent?