How often did you think about what you wanted in a family someday? I don’t know why, but I thought of it often. In fact, I can remember starting to think about it at a young age. Playing barbies, riding my bike, making up dance routines to the latest and greatest boy band songs, these favorite pastimes of my younger self took a backseat when I started daydreaming of what my family unit would be like someday. I can remember just loving that daydream. Perhaps I watched too much Full House because I sure loved thinking about the different dynamics that make up a family and what I wanted mine to be like. My day dream usually had John Stamos as my husband so I’m sure Full House probably did have something to do with it.
I loved imagining having children of my own. How many I would have, how many girls verse boys, what they would look like, what their names would be. I always came to the conclusion that I wanted four: two girls and two boys. My reasoning was so that every child gets to experience what it’s like to have a sister and a brother. I still love that rational and think it makes perfect sense! Coming from an adoptee who grew up with a non biologically related older brother, I always wanted more siblings. I just did. I think it had to do with the fact that on my dad’s side I have 36 cousins and most of those cousins come from larger families. I always saw the comradery, love, and special bond the families with many children had and man, I wanted a piece of that pie. John Stamos and I were going to have all the babies.
But alas, here I am 32 years old and no, I did not marry John Stamos. Come to think of it I did marry someone who resembles him, just no mullet so I think my partner situation worked better than planned on that note. My hubby and I actually started talking about what we wanted in the future pretty early in our relationship. I knew I scored the best guy ever when he loved talking about having children of our own someday as much as I did. And… he wanted four just like I did. Felt like I hit the future baby daddy jackpot! So we did what couples do, dated for years, got married and started having children. We were married a little over a year when we welcomed our first little love. Then came our second. Then came cancer.
One of the silliest parts about my past self’s thought process when it came to actually becoming what I always wanted to be, a mom, is that I remember when I was breastfeeding while pregnant, I would think about wanting “my body back.” I remember that feeling so well. My body had been through a lot and I wanted a break. I was pregnant with my first, gave birth, started breastfeeding, breastfed while pregnant for the first trimester of my second pregnancy. Then while being pregnant with our second I would think about how excited I was to give birth, breastfeed, then get a break from it all until we decided to conceive again. Because holy moly, there was no way I was going to breastfeed while pregnant again and I just wanted to have my body to myself. I wanted to eat and drink what I wanted, do whatever exercise I wanted, just let my body heal and recover. Boy, did I ever have that all backwards though. What I would give to just have those very normal feelings again. Have those be the only things I worry about. Not have chemo, not have quarterly scans, not have any of the parts of life with cancer in it. And perhaps, have another little cherub added to our family.
No doctor has told me we can’t have more children someday, I have asked and they haven’t said no, but they also haven’t said yes. Being on chemotherapy can cause women to become infertile. I won’t go into too much specifics here but just know, I still get a menstrual cycle so it seems I could get pregnant. Miguel and I talk about it and weigh the pros and cons. Honestly, it’s probably one of the hardest parts for us. I know this is so clique but we really wanted a little boy. A little mini Miguel. A little baby boy who probably would end up being the center of our daughters universe. Man, would that baby boy be loved.
The optimist in me says it could be done, maybe you can’t have the four you dreamed of but maybe three or maybe, you adopt. But the realist in me says no to all of the above, I just don’t think it makes sense. When I weigh the pros and cons I just get stuck on the biggest con in my eyes, that it wouldn’t be fair to Evie and Bernie. That our two girls, our daughters, they are enough. In fact, they are more than enough. The little energy I have that comes with parenting with cancer needs to be saved for the two we have. They deserve that. They have been through so much. I know when a cancer diagnosis hits a family people often think of the patient and spouse and the toll its taking on them. But when there’s young children in the mix, learning and growing while a parent is so sick, it just adds a whole other element of suffering. Our girls, they deserve all the attention we can give them, they need that. As much as it pains me, I am learning to grieve our baby number three.
I am learning to come to terms with the reality of our situation. The reality of being happy with what I have. The reality of going through chemo again, what that means and what makes the most sense for our family. When my mind starts playing the game of latching on to what it can’t have, I’ll feel that feeling, that sadness and be with it. I’ll tell myself that it will be okay. That that baby boy would have been so loved. I can even feel my heart and mind try to picture what his sweet little face would have looked like. But it’s okay. I feel happiness for what I have. I feel content with my girls and husband. I feel grateful for the time I have been fortunate to have with them.
So as I sit here with my first pony tail in my hair I have had in a very, very long time. I will think of that baby boy and smile. Smile for the beautiful dream of what could have been, smile for the love I feel for a baby that will never be and realize that my love for this baby simply shows how much I love the girls I have. The immeasurable love I have for my children and love of bringing life to this world is simply a sign of how much I love being a mama. How much of my fight has simply been for the fact that I love hearing the most perfect little girls in the world, call me mama.