So a few weeks ago I was watching a Friends episode, maybe you know it, it was the one where Monica and Chandler go talk to a pregnant woman who they might potentially adopt from. There is a moment when Chandler is talking to the woman alone and he says, “I love my wife more than anything in this world. And I… It kills me that I can’t give her a baby… I really want a kid. And when that day finally comes, I’ll learn how to be a good dad. But my wife…she’s already there. She’s a mother…without a baby.”
This is of course not the same circumstances as myself but these words struck me hard. Let me explain.
There are very few things in my life that I knew I was meant to be, that I knew without a doubt that I would be good at, being a mother is that thing for me. I’ve always been naturally maternal & I’m not saying being a mother is easy by any means, but for me, I knew I would thrive at it.
When I lost my husband, lost my “title” as wife, I lost a lot of other things as well. I lost the chance for us to ever have a child together. This is one of the hardest things to work through and grieve, not having a living symbol of our love. I can’t express the heartache that brings me. The absolute torture it causes me. We had discussed it many times & we both wanted that so badly. I have to allow myself to grieve the loss of that as well, on top of my grief for my husband and so many other aspects of this journey.
People like to say things like “You will find love again and have a family.” and “You still have time.” They simply don’t get it. There are three big issues I have with people saying things like that.
1. I don’t like to think about that honestly. My husband isn’t just something that can be replaced. Acting as though finding everlasting love is just a given is ridiculous. It’s unkind to say things such as that to a grieving widow.
2. I will never have a child with my late husband and nothing can make that OK. If I become a mother one day down the road it will never erase the pain I have of not having one with him. Never. It’s not just about me carrying a child, it’s about me carrying HIS child.
3. You have no idea what my future holds. Neither do I. Am I guaranteed to have a child? No, I’m not. Please don’t tell me that “of course you will”, it’s insensitive and maddening. I didn’t think I was going to be 32 when my husband passed away but life has a tendency of not being exactly what you expected.
I lost my best friend but there are still two amazing people in this world that I love so very much & that love me back. So I didn’t lose it all. I AM so blessed with two stepchildren and I can’t begin to say how grateful I am that they are in my life. My longing and grief over never having a child with my husband does not in any way take away from the love I have for them. They are truly part of my heart and they are living parts of him as well. I have no idea what the future holds for me. I have no idea if I’ll ever carry a child. But I do know I was meant to be their stepmom. It is a privilege that I take very seriously and I’m thankful for the opportunity to continue that role in their lives. I will never take that for granted. They are my joy.
So here I am, a 33 year old woman just trying to navigate through it all. I don’t know where this crazy life will lead me next or what new obstacles I may have to face but I do know I’m thankful for the time I had with my husband. Our life together didn’t turn out like we had hoped but he brought so much love into my life and I’ll carry that with me forever.