Monday, September 25, 2006

The End of Childbearing

For today's blog, I'd like to reprint an article of mine that just appeared in the Mom Writer's Literary Magazine (www.momwriterslitmag.com). I think it reflects the feelings of a lot of women when they come to the end of their childbearing days...

I just read an e-mail from a new friend. She's adopting a baby girl from China! Seconds later, I opened a note from another friend. A picture of her co-worker's adopted daughter from China was attached. I couldn't take my eyes off that little girl's face.

A woman at church just adopted a girl from Guatemala. A business associate adopted a daughter from India. Enough already! I feel like I'm being haunted.

I always wanted to be a mother. In my youthful dreams, I saw myself holding the hand of a little girl. Imagine my surprise when I was blessed with four sons whom I love dearly.

But I'm over forty now, and for various reasons, I've decided I'm done with childbearing. I know this decision is for the best, but my heart grieves. I loved being pregnant, and the thought that I'll never bear a child again saddens me. But I also love being a parent -- and perhaps I'm not ready to relinquish that dream quite yet. Yes, I am a mother -- but not to a daughter.

So, I have to ask myself, are these adoption announcements some sort of sign? Or are they just a reflection of the pining I feel to hold a baby girl in my arms? Am I subconsciously seeking news of my heart's desire?

I haven't convinced my husband to adopt yet. Where would we put her? He's right. We don't have room in our house, but there's ample room in our hearts. We'd manage somehow.

Thus, I continue to ponder -- and to grow older. Soon, the decision will be taken out of my hands. I'll be forty-two soon. My husband is forty-four. Do we really want to be raising children into our seventies? Parenting youngsters while running around grandkids? Forfeiting years of freedom for ourselves? Maybe not.

And would my teenage boys think their mom is crazy? Or, worse, that I wasn't pleased with them -- that I wanted a girl instead?

Who really wants five kids, anyway?

I do. I think. So, as if all the adoption announcements weren't enough to convince me, I'll continue to look for a sign -- a stronger sign. A voice to tell me that the time is right. That I'm not crazy. That a beautiful little girl is just waiting for her new mommy to make up her mind.

And I long to tell my daughter, "Hey, Mommy's coming!" I'm just taking the long way. And praying I don't get lost.

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