In the Moment, at the Moment
...it's an urge so strong that I’m thinking about changing my middle name: Jennifer IWantABaby Coleman.
I'm deep in the moment, at the moment: I want to make a baby. It's so rational it’s begun to feel irrational, it's hormonal, it's emotional. It’s exciting, yes, and also worth getting regularly shit-faced for due to the fear that arises when I realize that the baby cravings that started as a whisper and turned into a want are now a tentative plan, growing more certain by the day. It’s very likely that 2011 is the year I kick coffee and alcohol and buy my first onesie.
I’ve promised myself, and my husband, that I won’t stop taking the pill until we’re truly ready, but that previously foreign thought (hello, baby hormones, it’s strange to meet you!) has crossed my mind, at least twice (make that a strong double with a chaser). It's an urge so overwhelming that I’m thinking about changing my middle name: Jennifer IWantABaby Coleman.
When I met my Jon, ten years ago in New York City at the ripe old age of 22, I told him that because I lost my mom to breast cancer, I felt that nothing would fill the hole in my heart until I had a baby of my own, preferably by the age of 26 (sounds so young now, but I’m Southern, thus it made perfect sense at the time). He, being Northern, and 24, didn’t run, but he did eye me funny.
Not long after Jon and I fell in love, my dad was diagnosed with metastatic Melanoma, which is code for, prognosis: bleak. Again, Jon didn’t run. But I took off like a gazelle, away from the idea of having a family. Living with the dark shadow that I would soon suffer another loss changed my mind. What if my child was killed in a car accident (or one of the million other dreadful scenarios that often played in my mind)? I decided losing my parents so young were the biggest losses I could swallow, and plotted a new, childless life for myself. Jon didn’t run then either: he had always been on the fence about kids.
I roll my eyes with disbelief when people say, “everything happens for a reason.” (Can you give me one rationally sound reason that my mom died when I was 15?) However, I have no choice but to believe in miracles: my dad beat his prognosis with an experimental chemo regimen, and is alive and in good health. In his case, when I say “miracle,” a word that makes me weary, I’m quoting more than a handful of well-respected dermatologists and oncologists from all over the U.S.
My dad’s miracle didn’t change my mind about kids though. The original, sad change of heart was too deeply ingrained.
Until I’d been married to Jon, who I often call, “baby,” a few years and fell even more madly in love.
Until I found that watching him play with and hold our new kitten gave me a rush of confused but happy emotions. “This is our family,” I began to say, awkwardly at first, and then with pride as our kitten turned into a cat and his bond with Jon tightened.
Until a new friend told me over drinks that she and her fiancé don’t want kids. I went home and told Jon, with some surprise, how sad and lonely hearing that made me feel.
Until “This is our family” began to sound a smidge empty, then emptier still.
And, until I tested negative for the breast cancer gene in summer 2010…I knew the weight of not knowing was heavy, but the joy and lightness my results shined on my future were life-changing. In a quick moment, during my sob-laden results phone call, a wee bit of my heart hole filled with hope. Soon after, a trickle of feminine hormones overtook me, then evolved into a leaky, hormone-ridden hose that sprays me constantly. Now I get soaked by my hormones with every breath I take!
As I became more vocal about my urges, I knew yet again that Jon wouldn’t run: he’s started calling himself, “daddy,” and me, “mommy,” to our dear cat, which is answer enough to his feelings on becoming father to a human child.
In this very moment, I’m appreciating drinking a strong cup of coffee that’s not shy on bourbon, while also feeling my heart swell with the moments that I hope are soon to come.
Oh, Jon baby, here we go!