27 October 2015

perspective....

Today was a day of many visits at the store - friends and customers alike stopping in to extend their support.  It felt nice to receive their hugs and cards of condolence & to reaffirm that this is definitely what carries you through a time like this.  As difficult as it is sometimes to accept help or to lean on others, sometimes just knowing that it's possible is comforting.  

One of my visits today was from a customer turned friend who simply said she was driving by and saw my open sign and decided to pop in.  Currently she is undergoing preparations for their second and final round of IVF so we talked a lot about that - it is definitely one of those areas where empathy comes from experience.  She is significantly younger than I so I am at a totally different position than she is but we talked about peace after loss and becoming at peace with letting go of the dream we all have in our heads of how our lives should go.  


She has gotten to the point where she is starting to accept that her life may not include motherhood.  It's not an easy idea to make peace with as a woman - we spend most of our lives imagining when we will be a mom.  But life sometimes has different plans for us beyond what we have conjured up in our minds.  As much as I wanted to have a child with Tim, there came a point in our IVF process where I knew I had given it my all and was willing to accept that this dream may not come to fruition.  And as I told her, it isn't that I have completely let go of the feeling that I want to be a mother but that my perspective has changed, as has my definition of motherhood.  I think I've accepted that what I have always defined as "family" may be completely different now.  I realize that as I date in my late 30's that I very well may find a partner who comes with children and I'm good with that.   Being a step-mother would be enough for me.  I don't necessarily need to (nor do I know if I could be able to) physically have children of my own. 

Over the past few years, especially post divorce, I've thought a lot about what defines a family.  Could I have a child or adopt a child without a partner? Could I redefine my idea of what constitutes a family with the realization that I may not find someone to share my life with? Could I co-parent with someone who has children from a previous relationship? Perhaps I'm going to be a kick-ass step-mother or a really awesome Zia? Can I simply redefine what being a "mother" means to me?

So I recanted these thoughts to her as I know she is trying to make peace with this being their final attempt and that is not an easy feat. As with so much in life, the hardest part is often grieving the dream, the way we saw our life to go.  The image we had in our head for so long vs the reality that is our life. You come to a point, especially now at this age, where I look at my life and realize that I enjoy it.  I like being able to go to yoga at anytime of the day or pop on my bike for a 2hour ride without worrying about babysitters.  Would I trade the ability to make popcorn for dinner or travel on a moment's notice for the chance to find a partner and "family" (however we define it) most certainly yes.  But from my perspective, life changes in an instant and even the best laid plans go awry.  All we can do it continue to search for what we feel will complete us and be present along the journey to roll with the inevitable changes.  Keep dreaming with feet on the ground and sometimes take a step back our of our present lives to appreciate when things have not gone our way and the lessons we have learned from those experiences.  And as life changes around us, we strive to not grieve what we perceive as a loss but to gain new perspective on the possibilities around us always. 

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