Growing up, I had many ideas about motherhood: what I believed was important, goals I hoped to achieve, things I wanted to do for my kids. I wanted to be like my mom, first of all, and think of fun and educational activities that would keep my children engaged and prepare them for life as adults. As I got older, I started thinking about what I’d feed my kids and how I’d keep them exercising, and that’s at least partially why I get so upset with myself for being out of shape. Because it was also important to me to practice what I preached, and not expect anything from my children that I didn’t expect from myself.
I wanted to have a large home with a swimming pool and a game room, and I wanted to host my children’s friends often. I wanted to make healthy and delicious snacks for all the neighborhood kids and provide them a safe and fun place to play after school.
Travel was also very important to me. I wanted my kids to see more than just the town where they were growing up. But I didn’t want to be constantly moving and taking them away from their friends; I just wanted to broaden their perspectives. When they got to be in high school and college, I wanted to send them to study abroad, and take in exchange students.
I wanted to foster in them a love of community and a desire to serve. I planned to take them to retirement homes and hospitals and other places where they could volunteer and meet people and brighten someone’s day.
I also wanted to teach all of them to know their way around the kitchen and how to do their own chores, and to enforce it–and in recent years that plan included implementing some FlyLady methods.
I wanted to take them places where they could learn: Shaker Village, astronomical observatories, big cities, small towns, historical cities, museums, beaches, forests…anywhere that practical learning could take place.
My goal was to make sure that my kids grew up safe and happy with the knowledge of how to enjoy life, and with a strong curiosity and love of learning.
Another one of my notions about motherhood was that I wanted to absolutely make sure I had my kids before I was 30. I wanted to be a young, “cool” mom. I wanted to be able to keep up with them, sure, but I also wanted to be able to relate to them. Not so I could be their friend instead of their parent, but so I could understand what to say. Somehow, I always thought that 29–the age my mother was when she had me–was too old to be beginning, that by then I should already have my kids.
These ideals have lasted this long because “before I’m 30” was always so distant…but as I continued into my 20s, I started to see that things weren’t quite going to work out the way I’d planned. Sure, I knew somewhere inside that things wouldn’t be perfect. I might not be able to provide all the trips and recreational activities and educational tools and such that I hoped to–money, space, compromise, those and more factors could easily alter the end product. And I knew after three rounds of chemotherapy that it was possible my ovaries and eggs were completely shot. But somehow I still imagined that I would find a way to have my cake and eat it too.
So now here I am, 29, no kids, no plans to adopt or even to ask a doctor if there isn’t some sort of aggressive treatment we might try. Up until now it’s always been treatment to bring my body to a sense of normalcy. The goal wasn’t pregnancy; pregnancy was a marginally possible side effect. Given my FSH levels at last check, I am a little afraid of making pregnancy the goal, but Sean and I also haven’t committed to having children. We haven’t planned for it at all. Up until now, the idea has been that if it happens, it happens.
But I’m 29. I don’t know if I can just bounce around anymore waiting to see if something will happen.
I don’t know that I want to start trying to adopt immediately or anything like that. I just feel that it’s time to take a larger measure of control over my potential parenthood. Even if that just means deciding to wait. At least then the waiting will have been a decision and not simply the natural outcome of doing nothing.