As I sat with those first letters in front of me, I did not know how to put into words what this process meant for me. Three potential mothers. I wrote their names and began to draw a line connecting them. I envisioned myself as this line and tried imagine how I might weave a path for these women to enter my life. With each arc a new question formed: What will they ask of me? What can I expect of them? What are the rules and conditions between us? Will I truly be able to expose my vulnerabilities and not just through the comfort of written stories?
I wanted to draw inspiration and guidance from these women, to be taken in by them. In this way, I was very much a child, needy and exposed, desiring to be in the presence of a powerful mother who could tend to me. But could I succumb to the instinctive pull to be cared for by a nurturing mother even though I'd never known it before? I wasn't certain. An exchange of letters was something I could do to manage the mother desire and begin to open myself to more. And so this is where I began to focus my attention.
I moved my pen from one to the other and then the third. As a triangle took shape on the paper, I could not help but see a triquetra, a trinity, the triplicity of past, present, future; mind, body, spirit; mother, maiden, crone; thought, feeling, emotion. There was something meaningful for me in this. Even if what was happening was purely symbolic and might not ultimately yield me a mother, I believed that these three women writing to me at this moment in my life were meant to remind me not to lose faith.
And I had lost faith. All I could see each day when I awoke and every night when I went to sleep were my mistakes. They defined me. Each road not taken swallowed what I had managed to accomplish. I felt like I had ruined my life with my decisions or lack of them. I traced this back to the time (as I always do) of when I learned that I did not carry the defective Huntington's gene and I essentially relinquished my constant need to plan and control on the assumption that I would still end up where I wanted to be.
I didn't. Not personally or professionally. Though I'd had undertaken some successful work, I made many mistakes along the way, errors I believed could have been avoided if I'd had a mother. I was convinced a mother would have counseled me to think beyond the immediate gains of projects to what I required for the future. A mother would have guided me to have children before things became complicated. A mother would have suggested we safeguard ourselves with insurance before Aaron became sick. Though I may be giving a mother too much credit--something my friends always accuse me of--there is no denying that you miss many things without a mother.
And here was my mother opportunity at a time when I was raw and desperate for someone to offer the motherly attention I so needed. As I look back, it's eerie to me how similar my circumstances are today as they were the day I sat there trying to determine how to best approach these potential mothers. Aaron was sick. I had just had a miscarriage and desired to get pregnant again. Now Aaron is once again sick, though this time the situation is more complicated. I recently suffered a miscarriage and I want to become pregnant again and soon. I am one year older than when I was pregnant with Sasha and I cannot wait as I did last time for Aaron's fertility to resume as we have been advised that it likely won't. This time my only chance at pregnancy is through intervention. What has most significantly changed from then to the present is that I am now a mother and though I still desire a mother, I feel somehow less motherless because there is a mother present in my life. I am a mother to my son.
As I sat in front of that piece of paper contemplating my potential mothers, I wondered whether I would have a child and how well Aaron would recover. I considered whether or not there was an etiquette in how to facilitate this motherly exchange. Did I need to advise them that I was writing to other women besides themselves? How much did I have to disclose about what was unfolding from the ad? Should I feel guilty for desiring more and more replies? I kept thinking of that Police song Message in a Bottle and found myself hungry not for just a few responses but for one hundred thousand.
Today as I sit in front of the computer and write this post, I wonder whether or not I will have another child and how well Aaron will recover from this procedure. I consider whether or not I can open myself up to a search for a mother much broader then an ad in the New York Review of Books--one where telling my mother story through this blog becomes my beacon and potential mothers from around the world reach out to me right now and once again remind me not to lose faith. That all will be well.