To my future children…You are nothing more than a glimmer now. A blink, perhaps. An idea that may or may not ever come to fruition. But I can picture you. I can see myself holding you, loving you. I don’t know that you will ever actually come to be, but I can imagine life if you did.
I have many notions on the thought of me having you in the future. First and foremost, there’s the obvious statement of my age. I am almost thirty. I am running out of time. I want things now that I didn’t want before. I want to finish a graduate degree. I want to move, to travel. I want to experience things I missed out on during that hunk of my twenties that is buried and gone. But I want you too. Can I have both? Is it okay for me to want something else first? Do I have time? I don’t know if I can have a relationship, a family, and have these other things. These are questions that can’t be answered.
Having you means having a relationship. Do I want a relationship? This is a question that is too complicated to answer in its entirety. Do I need a relationship? Absolutely not. I want kids, but I don’t necessarily want a relationship. I want to be my own person. But it takes two to tango, so to speak. So to have you, I’d have to be okay in a relationship. I’d have to find a relationship. And these things, like everything else, take time.
To be pregnant again would be, for lack of a better word, weird. Instead of counting the days until you arrived, I would be counting the days until I could get you out of me safely. This would make the entire experience completely different. Every missed kick, every not felt movement, every mental twinge would be a catastrophe. I wouldn’t want to plan for you. I wouldn’t want to name you. I would struggle to get baby things. Instead of looking at the ultrasound to see if you were a boy or a girl, I would look to see if your heart was still beating. I would struggle to put one foot in front of the other until the day that I could hold you, alive. I would constantly wait for something to go wrong. Because things do go wrong, and it happens without warning. And the ever present question: what if something did go wrong? Again? I would have trouble believing that you would ever actually come; I would have trouble believing that you would be okay.
There wouldn’t be another baby shower. There wouldn’t be another “first baby.” Do-overs are not something that really exist. I will never have another shot at my first child. You will always be second.
We would both miss out on so much.
Would I want you to fill the hole of what was lost, or would I want you for you? Logically, I know that nothing can ever fill that hole. You would be entirely separate. Would I have trouble making that distinction? I have no way to answer that question. I’d like to think I would love you on your own. I already love you, and you don’t exist. But really, honestly, there’s no way to know.
For a long time after Carter died, I wanted nothing else but to become a mother. I still want that. But I want other things too. And, as always happens when I am brutally confronted with the fact that he is no longer here, I find myself having to reevaluate my choices. I can not have everything; no one can. My quality world, my ideal self, involves having you. I’d like to think I would be a good mother to you. I would give you everything. You should know that. But there’s the issue of time. There is never enough of it.
I’d like to think I would have been a good mother to Carter. But I didn’t get much chance there. I didn’t get any choice at all. But I would have given him everything. You should know that too.
I want a family. But perhaps I need to accept that that will never come to be. Maybe there are some things we don’t get another shot at.
So, to my future children. I’m sorry that I can’t be more for you. I’m sorry that I can’t guarantee you a chance. I’m sorry that you might always exist as nothing more than an idea in the back of my heart.
To my future children, and to Carter…I love you, always.