Had I done things differently, I would’ve celebrated Mother’s Day with a two-month old this year.
I’ve always said I don’t want children. Looking back on this now, I think the reason I was so convinced motherhood wasn’t for me was because I thought I wasn’t able to get pregnant. In truth, it always baffled me how, having been sexually active for more than a decade (and admittedly not always being HASMAT safe while doing so), I hadn’t ever gotten knocked up.
The same way you tell yourself that you don’t really want that prestigious, high-paying job you‘ve just interviewed for (because you don’t want to deal with the disappointment of not landing it), I decided kids weren’t something I wanted, because I didn’t want to spend my adult life longing for something I’d never have.
I can be very convincing. I could convince myself that kale tastes like candy if I tried hard enough. And I effectively convinced myself that I didn’t want children.
That’s why, when I discovered I was pregnant in late July of 2014, I panicked. And that’s also why, in September of 2014, I made the choice, at the very last possible moment, to have an abortion.
I told no one of the pregnancy, took no one with me to the procedure, and even now, I can count the number of people I’ve decided to share this with on two hands.
I try not to think about that day. Just the same way I try not to think about the laundry on the floor in my closet right now, the overdue bills I haven’t paid, or that time I got caught stealing tampons in grade eight. I try not to think about it because, even though I said to myself that it wasn’t a big deal at the time, it was, and frankly, it’s still uncomfortable to revisit.
It’s not necessarily shame, or guilt, or remorse that I feel when it does cross my mind. All I know to call it is discomfort. And so, for the better part of this year, I chose not to address it. I figured if I didn’t tell anyone, it would be like it never happened, and if it never happened, there was no reason to feel uncomfortable.
I’ve successfully trotted along for the last year living in blissful denial until now.
With so many girlfriends who have babies, or have wee ones on the way, I’ve found myself suddenly playing the “what if” game.
What if I hadn’t gone through with the procedure? I’d have a kid right now. There would be a baby – sitting in a baby thingy, making baby noises – directly next to me while I type this. I’d be typing about something else of course, but that’s what my life would look like in this moment had I not done what I did. And I have some feelings around that, aside from discomfort, that I can’t quite name.
In the last few months, I’ve had six (SIX!) dreams about a baby I’ve never met. I stare at other people’s children when I’m in public. I even (and I can’t believe I’m saying this) perused the card aisle at Shopper’s Drug Mart to see which Mother’s Day card I’d like to receive if I was to be receiving a Mother’s Day card this year.
Because torturing myself is one of my favourite pastimes (next to badminton and decoupage), I was Googling “biological clock” late one night this weekend, and I came across a study by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine that said women in their twenties to early thirties are the most likely to conceive.
I’m 28. I was 27 when “it” happened. Next year I’ll be 29. And my catastrophic mind tells me that after that, I’ll be in a nursing home.
It’s funny how things change. Today, I’m worried I’m going to be too old to have a child when I want one. Not that long ago, I thought I was entirely too young to be a mother. Seriously, up until a short time ago, if ever I pictured myself pregnant, I also pictured a bunch of crewmembers from MTV’s Teen Mom following me around a grocery store.
Although I know that there’s no right age to have a child, I like to take comfort in the fact that there’s such a thing as the right time. Do I think that time is now? Honestly, no. I still have so much to see, and to do, and I imagine it would be terribly difficult to have sex with Shemar Moore, or climb Kilimanjaro, while wearing a Baby Bjorn. But does it excite me that I’m more open to the idea today? To not have to lie to myself anymore? To put something honest about my hopes for the future out there, without worrying about what it looks like to others, or what it feels like to myself, if it never happens? Most definitely.
I had an abortion. I want kids one day. And kale tastes like a front lawn.
(God, that felt good.)