I have finished my first book, From Dream to Dream Come True: My Journey to Motherhood. Click here to purchase on Amazon or borrow for free on Kindle Unlimited: From Dream to Dream Come True
The following is the very first chapter. Please enjoy!
Meant to Be
I have always known that I wanted to be a mother. Scratch that. I have always known that I was meant to be a mother. Now that does not mean that I heard my “clock ticking” or got all weepy at the sight of a baby. I did not have to get married and start a family by a certain age. In fact, once married, I did not beg, plead, or cajole my husband into trying to put a baby in my belly. Rather, I just knew that it was meant to be. It was my destiny to be a mother. I knew that it would happen in its own good time. I just had no idea that it would take quite so long or that I would have to go through quite so much to have my dreams realized.
I was motherly even at a young age. I am nearly five years older than my sister, Brienne, and from the day she was born, I inserted myself in the role of second mother. Not that she did not already have a perfectly fine mother (spectacular, actually), I just felt the need to look out for her, take care of her, and dress her in brightly colored, not-quite-matching outfits. I wanted to teach her how to do everything and I always invited her to play with me. Even as a teenager, if it wasn’t “cool” for my little sister to tag along, I would politely excuse myself. I probably tried to shelter her too much from the evils of the world, but I was young. I was just practicing for the day I would become a mother for real.
I am that person you pass in the grocery store and feel the need to tell your deepest, darkest secrets to while picking out produce. I must have one of those faces. I played both Dear Abby and Dr. Ruth to all of my girlfriends over the years. I am patient and a good listener. So motherly, right? I decided to parlay my love of helping other people solve their problems into a degree in Psychology. Only once I earned by degree, I realized that listening to people’s problems all day is depressing, and I am far too happy of a person! After six years of studying for my undergraduate degree, I had no idea what I wanted to do for a career. I was a cocktail waitress in Las Vegas and I knew I could not sling drinks forever. The blisters on my feet were giving birth to baby blisters and one might say that I am mammary challenged and therefore not quite cut out for the skimpy uniforms. Although, it turns out that being a cocktail waitress was my on-the-job training for psychology. The old men in the Race and Sports Book have a lifetime of secrets to tell in between horse races, and the slot players loved to give me a penny on my tray for their thoughts and maybe if I was lucky, a snazzy ball of lint for bringing that drink.
So, one day my coworker told me that she was quitting to become a teacher and I should become a teacher too. Cue lightbulb over my head. Of course I should become a teacher! Duh! On my next break, I went to call my then-boyfriend, now-husband, Jerome, to tell him the great news about my change of plans.
“I have the best news! I am going to become a teacher!” I said ecstatically.
“Ummm . . . didn’t you just spend like seven years in college to become a psychologist?” Jerome asked.
“It was six years and I have realized that becoming a psychologist would be depressing.”
“Since this morning?” Jerome questioned.
“Yes, I realized it just now. That’s why I called you. Duh.”
“I just thought you wanted to apply to graduate school.”
“Oh, I do. Only now I’m going to get my Master’s in Education instead. Yay!”
“Okay . . .” Jerome replied unenthusiastically.
“I will still be helping people, only I will be helping children.”
“Right. Totally. You know that teachers don’t make a lot of money, right?” Jerome asked.
Here is a truth about marriage. Sometimes you are both right. Jerome was right about not making very much money as a teacher. My first year teaching, I made $28,100, before taxes. My friend, Jaymi, and I took turns buying a box of Wheat Thins and that was our shared lunch for the week because that was all we could afford. Sometimes we splurged and shared a Kit-Kat while writing lesson plans and grading papers. But I was right about how great it would feel to help children. I absolutely loved being a teacher. For years, being a teacher was enough. I was a mother figure, in a way, to hundreds of students over the years. Then, my OB-GYN told me that I might want to get a move on in the baby-making department.
From the time I was twelve years old and “Aunt Flow” came to visit for the first time, that monthly visitor liked to settle in and make herself right at home. Aunt Flow liked to stay for two weeks and bring Uncle Migraine and Cousin Cramps along with her. I didn’t really know that I was that different from my female counterparts until I lived in an all girl dorm in college and our Aunt Flows liked to get together and visit at the same time. Only my Aunt was that relative that never got the hint that it was time to go. I never really tried to do anything about it except pop a couple of Midol here and there. I figured that someday, when I held a tiny, perfect baby in my arms, it would all be worth it.
My first year teaching, my Wheat Thin sharing friend, Jaymi, recommended her doctor for my annual checkup. This doctor was unlike any that I had seen before and did not prescribe birth control pills as some sort of magic bullet that would cure all of my ills, despite my protests that they made me feel worse physically and turn me into a stark-raving lunatic who would cry in despair at Saturday Night Live. This doctor actually listened to me and decided to run a battery of tests to try to figure out how to get Aunt Flow to fly the coop a little sooner each month. I donated sixteen vials of blood and months of my life trying every combination of birth control and hormone pills to the cause. Finally, though not completely giving up, my doctor suggested that maybe having a baby might be the answer to all of my problems.
We got a move on the baby-making idea and seven years later, we were still working on it. We only had the idea, but no baby. Throughout this book, I will share the many trials and tribulations my husband and I went through to try to conceive. Despite the years of trying and my unique issues, I never lost hope. I cried and I got angry, but I never gave up. We stopped trying, adopted a puppy, and decided to put our money towards travel or buying a new house instead of fertility treatments. I still felt that I was meant to be a mother, but I thought maybe I was not meant to be a mother to my own child. Maybe we would adopt someday or maybe I would just mother a few hundred more kids as a teacher. I held tight to my dream of motherhood, acknowledging that my dreams being realized might not look exactly how I had envisioned. I set out on a path, with motherhood as my final destination. I just had no idea how long, arduous, and heartrending my journey would be.