To understand that my daughter will likely never become a mother guts me. So I try not to think about it. But it’s hard to ignore the facts when your kid is patting your neighbour’s pregnant belly saying, “Dares a baby in dare? Awwwww. I can’t wait to see your baby. I’m going to have a baby too.” For weeks since my daughter found out this new baby was on the way, she’s been walking around with her rubber Dora ball tucked up inside her shirt, rubbing her tummy saying, “I’m going to be a mummy! I just pretending, but when I’m big I’ll have a baby, right Mummy?”
Knowing how amazing it is to be a mother, the thought of her never getting the privilege? Well, I just can’t even. I squash those thoughts as soon as they enter my head.
But the thoughts are harder to silence when you’re faced with them head on. As my daughter Avery waddled around the kitchen, back arched, smiling wide, telling her big brother that her baby is a girl named Little Avery, my son asked me under his breath, “Mum, CAN she have a baby? Like, do you think she will?”
He waited expectantly (pardon the pun) for an answer. I gave him one — the answer our geneticist gave us. But first let me just say, I never even asked the doctor for this information. Avery was not yet two years-old at the time and the thought never crossed my mind. At that point we were still focusing on keeping her alive. In those early days tube feedings and providing ample nourishment consumed us. When the geneticist added a casual, “And if one day is she cognitively able to consider motherhood, we’ll have to address it because obviously with her chromosome deletion she won’t be able to conceive using her eggs.”
Hearing that, especially delivered in such a casual —after thought— no big deal kind of way, stung.
I explained to my son that one day if Avery falls in love, gets married and wants to start a family, she would have to get some help. Since her chromosome disorder is present throughout her DNA, she would likely pass it along. But maybe in a decade or so when she's in her child rearing years there will be something that can be done scientifically to prevent that.
“I get that,” he said. “The genetic part. But will she be able to be a mom? Will she be smart enough?”
And gutted once again.
But I’ve wondered the same thing. Avery has far exceeded what everyone predicted she’d be able to do. Who are we to say what she will and will not be capable of one day? We just don’t know for sure.
But what I do know is that she’s the nicest, warmest, kindest person. This kid is all heart — she loves hugs, and helping, and animals and people, especially baby ones. If she did become a mother one day, her child would be the most loved.
So when Avery tells me she’s going to be a mummy like me, I smile and silently tell the nagging doubting disappointed baby wah wah worries inside my head to shut up.
If my girl can’t become a mother in the traditional sense, maybe it will happen for her in another way? She might be mama to fur babies.
Or she might find happiness working in a daycare nurturing all kinds of kids.
Or maybe she’ll fill the role of best aunt there ever was.
Or perhaps she'll adopt.
There are many ways to experience motherhood. I'm just so incredibly grateful that I get to experience it as her mom.
As Thanksgiving approaches you'll likely read a "What I'm thankful for" post or ten. This is NOT that post.
I'm generally a grateful person because it feels great to be grateful. But I'm also a forty-five year old sleep deprived person experiencing a weird hormonal shift involving category five mood swings. My family had learned to take cover from the storm of tears and wild laughter and fists smashing onto the kitchen counter when it's discovered that somebody ate the last slice of banana bread. I'm not kidding—that fury hit yesterday.
If you knew me in my daily life you'd say I'm exaggerating because I'm a kitten for the most part. But lord love a shedevil, there's stuff happening in my body that has transformed this consistently sunny person into a cranky old man shouting at kids to get off his lawn. If this is a glimpse into what actual full blown menopause is going to be like well, just dunk me into one of those cryogenic hibernation tanks they use in deep space and wake me up when the change is complete.
However, this post isn't about me and my hormone hurricane. It's about finding the worst in everything and reviling in the bitterness while eating potato chips by the fist full while silently smiting all the happy things. So ya, not your usual Thanksgiving post.
But it's healthy to vent right? Plus, this storm will pass and soon I'll be stuffing a turkey (instead of telling people to get stuffed), laying out the place settings and feeling grateful for the friends and family gathered around our Thanksgiving table. But until then, here are some good things that also churn up quite a "hormonocane" storm surge depending on which way the wind (wind=hormone level) is blowing.
Thankful for feedback on things I've written because it's nice to be heard. #singletear
Not thankful for negative comments made by bitter trolls. Trolls hurt my feelers.
Thankful for Facebook because it keeps me connected with faraway friends and family.
Not thankful for the stalker-like tendencies Faceboook elicits in me and the time suck vortex I get sucked into daily.
Thankful for pets because they are fuzzy balls of unconditional love.
Not thankful for dogs who snack from the cat’s litterbox and nocturnal cats who lie on your face after playing your bedroom blinds like a harp at 4:30 am.
Thankful for oily skin because so far I'm relatively wrinkle free.
Not thankful that you can see your refection in my forehead and for the mega pimple currently threatening to erupt on my chin like hormonal clockwork.
Thankful for booze.
Not thankful for #boozebelly.
Thankful for hashstags because they make it easier for me to get to the point.
Not thankful for hashtags because #InstaAnnoying
Thankful for autocorrect because I can’t spell my way out of a paper bag.
Not thankful for awkward texts sent in haste. For the record, I did not get anal apples. I got caramel apples. Only caramel.
Thankful for selfies because I finally get to be in a photo.
Not thankful for selfies because I finally get to be in a photo (see points above re: mega pimple and booze belly)
Thankful for traffic circles because they slow cars in our neighbourhood so it's safer for kids walking to school.
Not thankful for traffic circles because of idiots too busy chatting on their cell phones to actually pay attention to how traffic circles work. There's a system people! Figure it out. And for god's sake, put your phone in the trunk.
Thankful for salty snacks because...delicious.
Not thankful for salty snacks because some days—you know the ones—they summon me like salty sirens from hell. I am weak. And now dehydrated, bloated and up 4.5 pounds.
Thankful for this roof over my head because home is where the heart is.
Not thankful for this roof over my head because after eleven years, toilets need replacing, walls are begging for a fresh coat of paint, and about 1000 other worn out bits need a refresher.
Thankful for Netflix because The Walking Dead.
Not thankful for Netflix because I’m now consumed by images of flesh eating monsters scratching at my window.
Thankful for all the "stuff"—the clothes, the gadgets, the toys, all of it because it's nice to be able to play barista at home with a new milk frother.
Not thankful for all the stuff because my basement is like an episode of Hoarders. I can’t stand the clutter. I fear I might snap and just donate the lot of it and start fresh.
Thankful for the people in my life.
I have nothing negative to say here because I know how lucky I am to have them. And I'm especially thankful in advance for their choice not to send me and my wonky hormones off on an iceflow...