The Things Inside Me

So. My therapist (and some others) wants me to think of myself as a mother. While I can, intellectually, concede that it might be a good idea…it’s so hard. But I’ve started to try. My first move was to ask Ruth for permission. I think that on some level I was hoping that she’d say “You know, I’m just not comfortable with that”—it would have given me an excuse to stay safe. But in fact she wrote a long and thoughtful email to me affirming my motherhood: If you need to hear a blessing you have it, we think of you that way and have all along, I hope we’ve made that clear, and I regret it if not. My first impulse was to feel guilty about her response: Oh God, I’ve made them feel bad! Not appropriate! And then I slowly eased myself toward her point. They think of me as one of his mothers. Now, young lady, you need to act like it.

The morning after the visit, I took a pregnancy test—I do that regularly these days, so I’ve started getting the really cheap ones in bulk. I’m not pregnant, of course, and my period isn’t even due for another few days—but I keep feeling this desire to test. Part of this, I assume, is because now I know that an unplanned pregnancy really can happen to me (something that I’d never believed before Cricket. Because I’m not the kind of person who has babies). But I think that another part of it is a desire to have my role clarified: to be a mother, full stop. Of course, it will probably be years before I get pregnant, if I can at all—and even then I will be a birthmother.

Please bear with me. I’m sort of figuring things out as I go in this post. Last night in the bath, I was reading a parenting memoir-y book, and I felt pregnant. That’s the term my brain threw up, anyway, and when I stopped to examine it, I realized that what I felt really was a deep and boundless love: the love I felt for Cricket when he was mine. I’m letting it in, and it’s coming back. Not that I haven’t loved him all year, but it’s been much the way I loved the kids I babysat as a teenager—this, though, is mother love.

What do I do with this feeling?