There are so many different emotions I have gone through in the past seven years since I started down the path of trying to have children. One of the hardest things is dealing with my expectations. Disappointment, really, is simply not having your expectations met, right? You expect something, it doesn’t happen, and then you are disappointed. I have been greatly disappointed, over and over again, for seven years. Six pregnancies full of expectations and hopes and dreams that all ended in disappointment. For a girl who always wanted to grow up and be a mom, this has been pretty devastating.
I really didn’t have many other dreams as a kid. I never wanted to be a teacher, a doctor, or the first female president. Besides my brief stint as a sports writer in college (which was cool), I’ve never had a clear focus on any career path that was just exactly what I wanted to spend my life doing. Marriage and motherhood were what I really wanted.
Part of that desire is a direct result of my childhood. As a little girl I almost always felt unsettled, afraid, and insecure. My mom was fantastic and did the very best she could, but she couldn’t change who my father was. I don’t regret the fact that they got divorced. Things didn’t get a whole lot easier as a result of that, but at least we were out of any immediate danger. As a teenager I became very skeptical about finding a good man to marry. I honestly doubted that any actually existed. I didn’t know any, really. My dad was never satisfied with one woman. He was emotionally and physically abusive toward my mom, especially when he was drunk (which was most of the time). I prepared myself to go to college and get an education in order to have something to fall back on if I ended up with the wrong man. That sounds horrible, I know, but I’m being completely honest. There were, of course, other reasons to go to college but those were real feelings I had at the time.
Dad hasn’t changed a whole lot today even though he’s almost 70 years old. We have a relationship that is decent but not what I’d call great. We get along mainly because we don’t spend much time together. Despite his bad qualities, I do love my dad. I don’t always like him but I can appreciate his good qualities. I think he loves me too, I just think he doesn’t have a clue how to show it.
When I did find my wonderful husband I realized that there was hope for me to have that “perfect” family I’d always dreamed about. So I didn’t get to have that when I was a kid, but by golly I could make it happen for my own kids. I couldn’t wait to start fresh with our own traditions, holiday celebrations, family vacations, and annual family portraits – all the things I never had but always wanted. Maybe I could even fill that void for myself in the process. I was so excited about seeing my husband interact with our kids and watching what a father was supposed to look like.
Then, my expectations weren’t met. I faced disappointment. Pregnancy after pregnancy ended in failure.
My dreams haven’t gone away. I tell myself they’ve just been put on hold. I have no idea why I have to wait but I’m trusting in the process. Those childhood memories are painful but I know it was all part of a bigger picture. All that stuff gave me clear direction. I certainly knew what I wanted and didn’t want in a marriage. I have uniquely strong relationships with my mom and my sister that I would never ever change. I’ve grown up enough to see that some good came out of the bad experiences, and I can count on that happening again. But it’s not easy right now. It hurts. It is so hard to wait, especially when it seems everyone around you is moving ahead and going forward with their lives while you’re stuck.
There is an upside to all of this. I’ve had a total (so far) of 12 amazing years with a wonderful man who loves me and loves the Lord. We dated for 2 years and have been married for 10. We have had a whole lot of time to spend together and make incredible memories. I know that finding a husband was a pretty great expectation I had, and I have not been disappointed.