June 15, 2018

Families Belong Together

I am a mother.

Typically, I don't lead with that statement because I am also a lot of other things. And in our society, women are sometimes pigeonholed and their identity as a mother is used to place them in a very narrowly defined category. For that reason, I usually like to let people know that I am a lawyer. A feminist. A wife. A friend. And yes, also a mother.

But this week, the "mother" part of me has been distraught. The lawyer part of me has had to go into the office and do "lawyerly" things. The feminist part of me has continued to call out sexist behavior and support the women in my life. The wife part of me arranged for a date night with my sweet husband. The friend part of me set up dinners and reunion weekends.

But the mother part of me? 
Well, she raged this week.
She wept this week.
Photo Credit: theRealNewsNetwork
She raged and wept at the cruelty that is occurring on the southern border of this once-great nation. She put herself in the shoes of those mothers. She imagined her own child. Her sweet, precious, innocent child -- full of wonder and potential. She imagined that child being ripped from her arms. She imagined that moment -- her child screaming and her arms bare. She imagined that child put in a cage. She imagined that child crying for her warmth. For her comfort. She imagined that child being scared without its mother there to provide reassurance. She imagined that child alone and afraid. She imagined scary strangers with weapons and harsh faces, instructing that child to eat or bathe. She imagined it all and the thought broke her. It broke her.

But these thoughts that tortured the "mother" in me this week, well... they didn't happen to me.
They have and are however, happening to other mothers. And that doesn't break me. It shatters me. 

Last night, I put my child in her bed. I placed warm blankets over her. I kissed her cheeks and her tiny nose. I sang her our favorite lullaby. I told her that I loved her and that she made me happy.

I wonder what that mother did last night. I wonder how she managed without her child in her arms. I wonder how that precious child fared last night. I wonder if it cried itself to sleep.
Why has that mother been destined to a different fate than I?

Is it because she is brown?
Is it because she is poor?
Is it because she is out of options?
Is it because she didn't have the fortune of being born in this country?
Is it because her native lands aren't safe for her and her child?
Is it because she did the only thing she could to help her child live a better life? 
To to live at all?

You see, to me -- those are reasons to help this mother and her children. Those are reasons to embrace her. Those are reasons to give her comfort and shelter. Those are reasons to show her love and mercy. Those are reasons to care.

But our country's leaders see those reasons as cause to persecute her. Reasons to treat her a subhuman. Reasons to punish her. Reasons to belittle her. Reasons to actively do her harm.

Honestly, I don't care about your political identification today. I don't care how you voted in 2016. I don't care if you identify as pro-life or pro-choice. I don't care what church or religious persuasion (if any) you find solace in. I don't. Not even a little.

I do however, care if you cannot find love and mercy in your heart for this woman. For these women. For these children. For these families. If you cannot? Well, I think there is a very special place in hell for you.

And if you do find love and mercy in your heart, I care that you act on it.
Call your Senators. Call your Representative.
Post about it online. Raise hell.
Demand that our government find love and mercy as well. Demand it. Demand it over and over again until this madness ends.

Silence is complicity.
Do you want to be complicit in this human rights violation?

The mother in me continues to rage and weep. But she also is taking action.
Please, for the love of God and His people, join her.

#FamiliesBelongTogether

June 07, 2018

Our Stalemate

My marriage is happy. My daughter is amazing.
I love my job. I have a great network of friends. 

I say these things - not to brag - but to convince myself that I'll somehow be okay.
That I will be happy and whole.
Still, I have doubts. 

You see, I desperately want another child. 

We are not infertile. We are both healthy. We are not financially incapable.

I sometimes tell myself that if any of those things were true, it would make this time in my life easier in a morbid sort of way. It would somehow absolve me of the illusion of choice and while it would, of course, come with its own trauma and sadness, at least I'd have a path to travel that I knew I could not change. 
Instead, I now travel a path that has a tiny sliver of hope but alas, not enough to change its ultimate destination. It is a path people don't openly discuss. A path people do not warn you about. A path there aren't "help" articles about or online communities you can turn to and vent your frustrations, sadness, and fears. A path that, when shared with outsiders, there is much sympathy for but very little "true" understanding of. On this path, there are plenty of things to say and yet, so much more that is simply left unsaid. My path is this: My husband and I disagree as to whether we should have another child. 

He is adamant he does not want another. I desperately do. 

I have always wanted a big family. Adam has not. We did discuss the issue before we got married and came to, well, an agreement on numbers and general timing. But the realities of fatherhood changed Adam's opinions and now, we are at a stalemate. Normally we are in lock-step traversing this world together, but this is one area we cannot seem to reconcile. 

And this particular irreconcilable difference influences the contours of the world around me. 

I no longer feel intense joy when friends and acquaintances become pregnant or give birth. Instead, I feel bitterness. A deep, dark bitterness that is ugly and unkind. This bitterness also takes hold at seemingly random moments -- like when friends casually discuss their own family planning or when I see siblings arguing over who gets to sit in the shopping cart at a store. It even rears its head when someone mentions their own adult siblings or tells stories from their childhood. It cuts deep and I feel myself retreat back into a kind of despair.  One where I avoid uttering my biggest fear aloud; that this stalemate will not have a happy resolution for me. 

Of course, Adam's feelings on the topic matter. They matter as much as mine. And they are strong. Just as strong as mine. He has his reasons and his logic. Those must also be honored. And it wouldn't be fair to bring a child into this world if it isn't wholly wanted by both of us. Another child simply wouldn't be. He doesn't long for it. He doesn't want it. 

But I do. Every fiber of my being wants it.

My heart isn't done. It isn't done with pregnancies or childbirth. It isn't done with mothering a newborn or watching first steps. And my heart longs. It longs to watch my daughter nurture a younger sibling. It longs to see how different or similar a sibling would be to her. It longs to watch them grow up together - getting on each other's nerves, having each other's backs, and ultimately being each other's family. 

But each day, I grow closer to the dark realization that my heart isn't likely to get what it wants. At least, not fully. It, of course, can still have the happy marriage, the amazing daughter, the awesome job and the wonderful friends. Those things aren't going anywhere and I try to find solace in that fact.

But it is a very real possibility that I shall never again feel the kick of life growing inside of me. That my arms will never hold another infant that belongs to me. That Holland will never know the deep love and loathing you can have for a brother or sister. That my life, as happy and as wonderful as it is, will never truly be whole in a way that it could have been had the stalemate just ended differently.

"Our parting was a like a stalemate...
Neither of us won.
Yet both of us lost.

And worse still... that unshakable feeling that nothing was ever really finished."

-Ranata Suzuki 

I want to be happy.
I want to be whole.
I will be happy.
I will be whole.
But this path I travel... is one, I fear, will never truly be finished.
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