This post came to me via email (before the deadline) and the author wishes to remain unnamed, as this is something that she holds very close to her heart. I asked her if I could publish it without her name because I know that her pain and anguish is something that many other women can relate to--and others, upon reading it, may not take their own fertility for granted.
My epiphany about motherhood came many long years before I ever had the chance to be a mother. I always assumed that my life as an adult would look something like my mother's. I would own a red and yellow striped superwagon to fit in all of my 12 kids. I'd do market runs at 5:30 AM and stay up all night to help with California mission reports and life would be crazy and chaotic and happy and good. But after trying for quite a while to get pregnant, my vision started to blur. Especially after my frightening miscarriage and accompanying complications. I still wanted exactly what I'd always wanted, without any adjustments, but as the years ticked by, I kept knocking off one child-one by one- on my dream list. I was getting older, and I was running out of time to have 12. After about five years, with age 30 looming, I finally had to face the reality that it was possible that we could be childless. Childless. I didn't know what to wish for if I couldn't have children. All of my adult dreams were based on having a family. All that was left with a void. I was angry and frustrated and I felt myself shutting myself down emotionally to cope with the devastating possibility.
Still, I harbored a bit of hope that maybe it might still come to pass. So we waited and prayed and went to the doctor. A lot. And while I was waiting, and praying, and going to the doctor, I was thinking about what kind of mother that I wanted to be. I was thinking about what I wanted to give to my children, those children that were either not going to show up, or were going to show up very late in diminished numbers. So when our first baby came, so pink and pretty and perfect, I knew what I had to be. And it didn't feel like a sacrifice-it felt like a dream come true, a privilege, a saving miracle. When a second child came, it was like a wrapped gift that I could carry around with me always. I wasn't planning or expecting it, so it was all the better. I'm not a perfect mom. I'm cranky and crabby and demanding, at least once every day. But I really love my children. And even though I don't have 12 or a superwagon, I still have a crazy and chaotic and happy and good life. And I still have to make 5:30 market runs and stay up all night to help with reports. And the void is gone, completely filled in by those two sweet little spirits that I'm privileged to call mine. I don't even want 12 anymore; I'm too busy being happy being me. Mother of two.