She was a mommy once


I didn’t expect it to pull me up so short, to catch suddenly in my throat like a barbed wire made of words when the knowing washed over in a salty wave.

It really is over.

I won’t ever again feel my body working through the birthing of new life, never draw a tiny body in close to nurse, never nestle a newborn next to me in our big brown canopy bed. Those days are gone.

I knew all this, but for some reason today it became real.

For nearly fifteen years I’ve prayed for peace with leaving maternity behind, and for the most part I’ve felt that peace soul-deep. But there’s something deep down that wonders what-if, that part of me that was born to mother, wired to nurture wide-eyed wonder many times. And I did, many times. But sometimes in the stillness at night it keeps me awake, the wondering who might have been sleeping in one of our spare bedrooms had our yes not turned to no more.

Because this house is very quiet most days.

My friend wrote hope to mamas who sigh with sadness in these days of feeling deep purpose fading into the past. And I know she is right–we can’t tie a philosophy of how many children to have on a deeply spiritual code that everyone must follow. God allows us far too much breathing space for that.

But in some of these moments I just have to whisper it soft, if only for God to hear. I wanted more children.

And I’m not quite sure what to do with that, except to pour all that wistfulness into being the best Mimi in the world to my beautiful grandchildren. And I do, and always will.

So I gather myself up again, mama that I am and mommy I will always be if only in my own heart, and rest in deepest gratitude for those babies who aren’t so little any more, who don’t need me very often, who will always be my greatest accomplishments in this life.