With or Without You

I was never one of those people who knew I wanted to have kids.  Maybe that is because doctors told me in my early 20’s that I would never be able to, so I needed to make peace with that possibility – but there was also this part of me that was never sure.  I didn’t have this unequivocal “I must create a spawn or I will not be a whole person” perspective.

When I was a teenager of course I didn’t want to get preggers- especially because there was no “16 and Pregnant” on MTV – and subsequent way to get famous from it.  Being a teen mom just wasn’t as glamorous in the 90’s as it is today.

And then my friend Bitty died when I was 20, and it changed everything. I think that was the catalyst for my uncertainty to procreate.

The only way I knew how to deal with the mourning was to find some meaning in the loss.  That is not easy to do when someone dies so young.  There is no logic to it.  No rational that can ease the pain.  But I needed something that would paint the dark consequence of death a different shade of black.  I couldn’t let her passing be random.  It had to be significant.

So I made a promise to Bitty.  That I would love her forever, and never stop keeping her in my heart.  And that she could live whatever life she wanted to through me.  It was like I offered my existence to be a conduit for her to still experience the world.  We could share my body, like we did everything else when she was alive.

I held onto my love for Bitty with an irrational fervor, because to let go seemed too lonely to bear.  But then all these things would happen, these coincidences, mysteries, moments, where I genuinely felt we were still connected.  Still communicating.  To explain them would be like trying to relay a dream, but they felt so real to me.  I started to believe in the eternal nature of the soul.  That we are all connected by love, and that love is the very fabric of the universe.  The space between that holds everything together.

I became more interested than ever in the esoteric, spiritual, and metaphysical realms.  And part of me wanted to pursue that path fully- to commit my life to one of deep existential reflection.  To do things like live in an ashram, or go on month long silent retreats, and be free of all earthly attachments.  I just didn’t see how a child fit into that plan.

But as the universe would have it, I could get pregnant, and did have a child.

And I was right in many ways.  Having a kid has made it so I will never travel the road I thought I would.  Because how can I leave her behind?

That is the thing about making a baby.  They they are always on your mind.  There are days where I am counting the minutes for my freedom from the The Munch, but then after the initial thrill of being an individual wears off – I miss her.  As much as I sometimes want to get away, I also can’t wait to get right back to her. There is no escaping how much you care about your child, how much they are a piece of you, how you can never again feel complete without them.  They are always with you, lurking in the depths of your being, like the herpes virus.

But now The Munch IS my spiritual practice… and I am pretty sure she has taught me more about life than my mind alone every could have.

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