On the brink of being half-way through this 40 day period of blogging, today I revisited the original intentions I had in this Open House writing project: Opening up more with the people in my life; Pushing myself to move beyond my shy and reserved nature; Creating a challenging opportunity for myself in order to stimulate creativity.
So, in light of keeping these intentions alive in the second half of the project, I am choosing to write today about a topic that is a little sensitive, a topic that holds a lot of weight for me. I was thinking about this while I was working away in the studio today, stimulated by my unfortunate circumstance of listening to the news on NPR.
There is plenty of heavy and intense events going on in the world right now. If I get oversaturated by the news, my thoughts tend to get fearful of the future, and of how uncertain that future is. I worry that there will be continued escalations of conflicts, wars over the earth's resources, budget cuts (i.e. decreased access to health care, good education, social services, free speech, and worker's rights), natural disasters, climate change, over population, etc, etc. AH, sometimes I think that I really shouldn't listen to the news, and rather stay happily blind in my little northwest bubble. Living in fear is not something I want for myself, nor anyone. It doesn't help improve the state of the world.
BUT, when I do get carried away with these thoughts, I am often lead to reconsider having children. Yes, my protective mothering instincts are already strong, before conception. The mama bear in me wonders if I should wait a couple more years to think about having a child, to wait to see if I can be more sure that his or her life will be more clear and easy. I know that this is something we can never know. We can never know what the future of our own lives nor those of our children will hold. There will always be risks, always uncertainties. We can not infinitly and completely protect our children from harm. Yet, I wonder if this is a world I want to bring a child into at all.
(BTW, in no way am I suggesting that I judge others for having children. No. On the contrary, as you will see below, I totally understand the need and desire to procreate. While I don't feel that this earth needs more over-population concerns, I do feel that humanity needs more good-hearted, well-intentioned people to lead the way out of the current mess. The children are the future. They are hope.)
If you have known me for a long time, you will understand how hard and strange it is for me to be questioning bringing a child into the world. I have been obsessed with the idea of being a mother for my entire life, playing "House" since I was old enough to carry around a doll. I have been babysitting since I was 12. I have had children in my life in some capacity ever since: As a childcare provider/nanny, art instructor, day camp counselor, overnight camp counselor, youth group leader, midwife, post-partum doula, orphanage volunteer, auntie, friend.
I have surrounded myself with children, pregnancy, and birth for most of my life as a way to feel closer to my own child-bearing years, and as a means of living vicariously through that of others. Now, with every passing month, as I get closer to menopause and further from my own menarche, I have to acknowledge and accept that I may not even be able to get pregnant if I wanted to. I would be overjoyed to adopt. But, I have always had this biological urge to have a baby of my own. Being pregnant, giving birth, nursing, and nurturing are all part of the scope of womanhood that I want to experience. I want to experience the fullness of my own womanhood.
Now that I finally have a partner to share all of life's joys and fears with...only now do I start to wrestle between wanting to start a new life, and questioning the rightness of the timing of this, from a global perspective. I am sure that if I took a week's break from listening to the news that you would be able to guess who would win this wrestling match. At least in this current round.
In my life, choices of the heart often win over those of the mind. But in this case, I feel stuck in the middle. I do not know what will come, for myself nor for the rest of the world. I accept and surrender and trust and hope.