On my nearly two year-old vision board, there’s a cutout of a black woman gleefully lifting her baby in the air. The photo is surrounded by more magazine cutouts of dogs, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle arm in arm, a young lady with bright eyes and flawless skin, and a woman resting on the beach. The words “blooming writer,” “cozy spaces,” “invest,” and “happiness” are thoughtfully glued to make a collage.
In my vision, these are the elements of a well-lived life. But the most yearning of these aspirations is motherhood.
It’s a little scary to admit out loud. Potential suitors will read this and think I am a family-focused fiend plotting to rob them of their freedom.
My university classmates with Hollywood and investment banking dreams will balk that I—an Ivy League educated woman of the 21st century—would not have “higher” ambitions for herself. I should be dreaming of wealth, influence and fame. And I do, but to a limited extent.
Yes, I want to continue traveling the world. I want to be able to afford a flat in a neighborhood that brings me joy and take vacations liberally. I dream of my written words one day inspiring thousands. Millions, even. But I don’t imagine that day will come close to the joy of childbearing.
Why do I want to be a mom so much? I just do. Not everyone wants children, and that is perfectly alright, but for me, becoming a mother is the most instinctive calling I know.
I’m curious how my genes will manifest themselves in another person. Will my baby, too, have a mole on her upper lip like both me and my mom? Will they be also be an emotional thinker?
I want to be witness to another human discovering the world—oceans, and rain and the fascinating sounds of animals. I want to live through their wonder.
I want to feel the pride of my child living out their dreams. I think this feeling might be more expansive than any dreams I will accomplish as an individual.
I want to extend my values of kindness, curiosity and open-mindedness to my child, so they will spread this further into the world.
I want to go through the journey of pregnancy. My body is hopefully capable of producing life. I want to feel what a baby’s kick in my belly feels like. I don’t take this miracle for granted.
I’m curious what my parents will be like as grandparents, my sister and brothers as aunt and uncles. I think they will be amazing.
Motherhood is one of my favorite fantasies.
But I know the reality isn’t all so fantastic.
A couple years ago, I fell sick and broke my apartment lease to move back home with my mom. Defeated, I was like a newborn babe. She made sure I ate, set me baths, rubbed my body with epsom salt, and lit candles to ease my anguish. Her confidence in my healing was profound. “Child, you shall not die.”
Taken together—the joys and the woes—she says we, her children, are her biggest blessings. And perhaps that is my truest reason for wanting to be a mother: to be on the giving end of deep, deep love.