Do you remember dreaming as a kid?
I remember my real dreams (as in nightmares). One was of my twirling my finger in a barrel of water that had mini sharks in it.
Another — and the bane of my imagination for many years — was the recurrent dream about an orange crocodile.
He slowly was crawling out of the ocean and onto the beach that I was standing on. Every effort to move was in vain. My legs, frozen in fear, refused my urging to run. Slowly, as if in slow-mo, the beast drew closer and closer. Until it was too late … And I awoke to my heart beating out of my chest.
Even as the dream now sounds kinda ridiculous (really? Neon orange?) — the fear I felt remains a strong, visceral memory.
And then there were the day dreams. Mostly ones revolving around pregnancy.
Many nights, I creeped out of the bunk bed I shared with my sister, to search for the perfect belly bump . . . My popple.
Up my nightgown it went, as I waddled in circles with my hands on my hip.
This obsession with pregnancy thing? Not so new to me.
I can still remember watching the doctor on Star Trek give birth on an elevator on the starship.
Fast forward to today … And I now have my own little girl full of dreams.
Thankfully she doesn’t to suffer from intense nightmares of a neon reptilian as I did.
But she does mention pregnancy quite a bit. When I speak of my love for her, she reminds me every once in awhile that she came from my belly.
I think this is something she is proud of as she is the only child in this family who can boast of such a beginning.
Tonight she tells me (naturally, of course, after reminding me of her origin) that she wants to have more babies than me.
“Mom,” she declares emphatically, “I want more kids than you. I want 10. In my house, I want a sign on the door that says ‘Bring Kids Here.'”
And what can I/should I say to this?
“If you want 10 kids Maddy, then you should have 10 kids.”
Maybe this is the wrong answer.
I, of course, know all too well that childhood dreams don’t always come true. I know that family planning is too often out of our control. And that there are so many more factors than she can imagine as to how many kids she’ll end up with one day.
But the part I especially love about her dream? The part about hanging a sign up on her door that kids are welcome to live with her.
I decide that I will encourage her in her dream. I hope beyond hope that my daughter is spared from suffering through loss or infertility. I hope she has all the kids she wants. I hope that she does not inherit whatever caused my HELLP syndrome or unexplained miscarriages.
And even as I hope for her … It has occurred to me that this infertility/pregnancy loss thing will not be over when my own family is complete.
It’s going to affect me just as much in 2 decades from now, when she is ready to start having her own family.
If she gets pregnant, I feel that I will also be walking around on pins and needles the whole time. If she struggles to get pregnant, I’ll be able to relate that much more.
I guess until tonight, I assumed that my infertility and losses just affected me now. And that in so many years, I’ll be “over” it. And maybe I will be for me. But when it comes down to my daughters … I think all those feelings will be right there, tucked away.
Just in case.