Wellness Wednesday: The One Decision I Regret Most

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“I wanted to forget that I’d ever felt that momentary joy preceding the horrifying loss of my one and only pregnancy.”

By Tara Rodden Robinson |Twitter: @tararodden 

When I went to church this past Sunday, I grew a little tense. It was Mother’s Day and I usually avoid any public observances that include motherhood. It’s not that I have a bad relationship with my mom—in fact, quite the opposite. It’s that Mother’s Day reminds me of an inescapable fact: I am not a mom.

Just the other day, I got treated to big dose of all the mom-ness that I am not privy to. I had been invited to a mid-week happy hour–a drinks with the girls evening. I arrived at the bar early so I could sit and sip my wine in peace for a while, just to enjoy the sensation of having nothing to do and nowhere to go.

When my friend arrived, another woman rose from a table across the room to intercept her. I knew this was going to happen—my friend had told me that she’d invited others to join us—and I knew that probably all these other women were going to be complete strangers to me. No big deal: I’m good at meeting new people. What I didn’t know was that all the women at the table had kids in the same Montessori school. Yep, it was a Mommy’s Night Out.

To be honest, my non-mommyness didn’t phase me. At least not at first. The conversation didn’t revolve entirely around kids. We talked about other topics, like one woman’s impending divorce and her soon-to-be-ex-husband’s complete meltdown. And when they learned that I am a productivity coach, the group became positively enraptured, asking me all sorts of questions about time management and such. But then the dreaded moment arrived.

“How old are your kids?”

I paused. Swallowed.

“I don’t have any kids,” I replied.

Cue the crickets.

“Oh!” she said, finally.

I didn’t realize how truly awkward that moment was until a few days later when I received—no lie—a handwritten letter of apology from the person who’d invited me.

Damn.

Looking Back

It’s not that I never wanted children. I was just very ambivalent for a long time. Plus I was waiting for the right time: the time when we had a stable income and health insurance. When we finally got around to trying, I was 38 years old. It took me three years to get pregnant. And in my eighth week, I miscarried.

It felt as if my heart had been ripped from my body. I spent weeks doubled over with grief. And when I wasn’t howling in pain, I was in my office, working as usual, trying to pretend that nothing had happened. I didn’t (and still don’t) understand the shame that came with the sadness. Why should I be ashamed of myself? I hadn’t done anything wrong. And yet for the longest time, I wanted to forget that I’d ever felt that momentary joy preceding the horrifying loss of my one and only pregnancy.

My aunt, one of my mom’s younger sisters, tried to comfort me. The little book she sent told me, “never doubt that you are a mother.” Of course, I know this is bull****. Mommies have actual children. For me, no child equalled not a mommy.

Do I sound bitter? I don’t mean to. There are many things about my life that I love. I have a lot of happiness, joy, abundance. There is only this one thing that is missing.

In Hindsight

I wish I could go back and talk to my still-ovulating younger self.

I’d tell her that there is never a right time to have a baby. I’d kick her butt and tell her to stop second-guessing her heart’s desire. And I would tell her to throw out her birth control pills and get herself pregnant.

When I look at my younger friends, the ones wrestling with the same ambivalence about being a mom, juggling the same timing issues and looking for that just-right moment, I want to take them by their shoulders and shake them until their teeth rattle. I want to yell, “When you’re fifty and menopausal and highly accomplished, the only thing that will matter to you is your family. Please, for goodness sake, have one!” If they didn’t call the cops first, would they get the message?

I wonder how my cocky twenty-something self would have reacted to such a visit.

I hope with all my heart I would have listened to me.

______________________________

Dear SheLoves readers, take a few moments to consider these questions:

  • If I got a visit from my twenty years older self, what would she most want me to know?
  • The heart’s desire I am second-guessing right now is …

______________________________

About Tara:

Tara Rodden Robinson is an author, coach, and educator. Known as The Productivity Maven, she blogs at tararobinson and tweets @tararodden. She lives in Corvallis, Oregon, with her husband and their two dogs. She is working on mastering complex yoga poses and searching for the perfect gluten-free bread recipe. When she’s not writing, coaching, or teaching, she’s out in the wilderness hiking and watching birds.

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