Wednesday, June 14, 2017

First-Time Mom at 42 (Or Why I've Been Quiet On This Blog For Some Time)

While many people I know approach turning 40 with dread, I looked forward to it with elation. I’d never felt better about myself. The last time I felt that way was when I was 25 or so, living an itinerant life while publishing a multicultural magazine named Tribu. In a stroke of youthful braggadocio, I wrote in one editorial that I had never felt my mind so sharp, so free, so incandescent. Intellectually, spiritually, I was soaring.

With turning 40, it was different. I experienced a delight that came from groundedness, gratitude, and acceptance. I remember spending the weekends with my nieces and nephew, learning how to ride the bike along with them. I remember embracing my boyfriend and our life together, without reservations or expectations.

Sometime past my mid-30s, I was diagnosed with endometriosis. I felt crushed, especially because I had already lost one ovary due to an ovarian cyst when I was in my 20s. I didn’t expect to feel so devastated. I had no plans of having a baby so it shouldn’t have mattered if I kept or lost the other ovary.

I went to another OB-gyne for a second opinion. The diagnosis turned out to be wrong. She gave me some medication, which I supplemented with several sessions of acupuncture, and in two months, I was perfectly fine.

But I was never the same in the years to come. I began to wonder whether I should consider motherhood as part of my future. There were days when I was convinced it should, and there were others when I’d almost retch at the prospect.

I asked my boyfriend about the possibility. We always had this notion that we were made in the mold of Carrie and Mr. Big (of Sex & The City) and that our life was complete with just each other. I was dumbfounded when he said yes, and when later he would change his mind, I felt a mix of regret and relief.

Life went on and our relationship became stronger than ever. We were different in a lot of ways but the same in all the ways that mattered. He gets me completely, and I knew I didn’t want to spend my life with anybody else.

We loved exploring new places together, trying out new experiences. We took my pamangkins on staycations and road trips. We also spent a lot of time with our married friends whose children we treated like our own, as well as with single friends whom we could drag to late-nights out at a moment’s notice. I would hie off to Tagaytay for an all-girl weekend with our fairy godmother Sonya or enrol in cooking, calligraphy and other courses that caught my fancy.

So as I approached the dreaded age of 40, I didn’t feel that something was missing. My heart was full, and the gypsy in me was dancing ecstatically to a life untethered. (To be continued)

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