"Fearfulness is a mind habit." - Sylvia Boorstein
I took turkey bacon slices out of the cast-iron skillet, set them on the paper towel to drain, and said, "I want to have a kid." Husband asked, "What brought that on?" I replied, "I just think we'd be good parents. I think it would be fun."
And by fun I don't mean a party all the time. I mean challenging, rewarding, scary, hard, exhilarating. I mean pushing myself to see what I'm made of and really getting to know myself and my partner and all that messy life stuff.
Natalie Goldberg says that when something scary comes up in your writing, go for it. "Otherwise you'll spend all your time writing around whatever makes you nervous." So when I get down to what really matters, the stuff that freaks me out, pretty high on the list is mothering. Me becoming a mother. I've been wrestling with when to try and have a kid for at least a year now, and I keep putting it off. There are surface excuses - I want to lose weight, I want to gain self-confidence, I want to have more money - but it really all boils down to fear. What am I afraid of? Let's see:
Sleeplessness. Selflessness. A changed relationship with Husband. What if we have no money? What if I lose my job? What if I'm no good at mothering? What if she cries all the time and I resent her? What if I get fat? What if I have no time for me? So many questions, so many ways my mind can spin in loops.
But. I inch forward. I want, in my heart, to have a child. Someone who is part me and part my husband and something totally new all at once. Some sweet spark of God/divinity in her. I want to sing to her, read to her, teach her how to bake cookies and plant tulips and recognize the birds and the trees. Push her to try new things. Advise her that it's okay if you're not always comfortable or happy. At 32 I am finally figuring out that we won't die if we're afraid or uncomfortable! It's how we grow and get to know ourselves.
I think it's okay to acknowledge ambivalence about mothering. It's okay to be scared. These days I'm trying to operate under the premise that if it's something that would be good for me, for someone I know, or for the world in general, and I feel mostly capable, then just be scared and do it anyway. I'm totally freaked out about taking the leap. But excited too. So we inch closer, towards the biggest mystery/challenge/excitement we may ever be privileged enough to experience.