Once upon a time, there was a girl. She wanted to have children – two, in fact. A son first, a daughter second. She wanted to be a writer, too, but everyone told her that was impossible – too much competition, no way to make a living. So she gave up on her dreams to be a writer, even though she was really quite good, and focused on becoming a mother for her children.
Time passed. The girl became a woman. The woman found that she wasn’t attracted to men, but didn’t know what to do about it. Her aunt told her that she would be severely punished in this life and the next if she didn’t straighten out – literally. She found herself in a relationship with a man who was more gentle, more feminine than most, and she chose to stay with him. Her heart didn’t sing for him, but what did she know of love?
Time passed. The woman, one day, discovered that she was pregnant – her dream was coming true. She knew, as she lay her hand on her belly for the first time, sensing life within her, that he would be her son.
And so it came to pass. The baby was born on the first snowy day in January, and the woman became a mother. She delighted in his every move, his every breath. He would blink and she would gasp at the miracle. His bright blue eyes gave her life – he put song back into her heart.
Time passed. The baby became a toddler, the toddler became a child. The mother delighted in him and he in her. And two months before his fifth birthday, the mother found that she was once again pregnant. Mere hours after conception, she lay her hand on her belly and knew that life was beginning within her again – and knew that this was her daughter.
But weeks later, the mother began to worry. Something wasn’t quite right. Something felt off. She couldn’t place it, but she couldn’t shake it. She asked the doctor, but he assured her all was as it was supposed to be. She continued to worry, but with no reasons to be found, she did her best to let it go.
And then, one night, she began to bleed.
She called the doctor, frantic, but he told her there was nothing to be done. Either the baby would make it – or it was already too late.
It was already too late.
No mother should have to see her empty womb where a baby once thrived. No mother should outlive her children.
But life is not fair, and this mother outlived her daughter. Her sweet baby girl, wanted so badly, and lost before she even had a chance.
The mother’s heart was broken. She had given up on her dream of writing to live out her dreams of motherhood, and now she had lost her daughter. She spiraled down and down and down, losing herself for many years, and becoming deeply anchored in this story.
Once upon a time, there was a mother. She was miserable. She had a wife, but did not love her. She had a son, but she had lost her daughter and that had muddled her connection to the boy. She worked at a terrible job for a terribly small wage. Her soul was sick, her light was dark. The only thing that kept her going was her son – and the hope that she would, one day, have a daughter.
She clung to her children. Her son, her little daughter lost, and the hope of a future daughter – they kept her alive.
She did not love herself. She loved only her children.
The mother struggled with life. She moved through it, going through the motions without engaging. She silently seethed with hatred and self-loathing.
Time passed. One day, she found a group of witches. She remembered that, long ago, she had been a witch. She hadn’t felt that call in years – not since she’d lost her daughter – but something in the group sparked something deep in herself.
She joined the group. She began to do magick again. She remembered what it was to be alive, and she longed for it. But she clung to the hope of a daughter, and that hope became an anchor, weighing her down.
Time passed. The mother met a particularly lovely, special witch – and with this one, found a deep connection in her heart. Something changed. She began to sing. She fell in love – and the witch fell in love with her.
But the witch wanted no children.
The mother’s son was loved by the witch, because he was no longer a baby and he entranced her with his dazzling charm and conversations of science and math. But the witch could not bear the cries of infants, and was herself not a mother – nor had she any longing for being a mother.
The mother could not bear to lose the witch. They grew quite close, they discovered their love for each other, they nourished their connection – and their love nourished the mother’s hurting soul. The mother decided to sacrifice her hope for a daughter and wed the witch, and so it was.
But in her heart, she was still in Story A. She was a mother, and she hoped for a daughter. It was all she hoped for – it haunted her day and night. Her wife couldn’t bear the thought of having more children – their son was all she wanted. But the mother couldn’t bear the thought of life without a daughter.
Even as she knew this was impossible, she longed for it. She refused to accept otherwise.
Time passed. The mother found a way to give her body and heart what it most desired while giving the witch the peace she so desired: she would bear the children of others. They would be her children, in a way, but she would not raise them. She would give them life, and in doing so, somehow make up for losing her own daughter.
But it was not to be. The womb of the mother was no longer fit for life, and she lost even this.
And she lost her light once more. And she became all the more anchored in a story that was no longer hers.
Once upon a time, there was a writer.
She had led a difficult life. There were all these people, you see, who told her to give up her dreams of being a writer. Her mother showed her through example that all there is to life is marrying and having children – that was what she thought she had to live for.
She forgot that she loved to write. She forgot herself, because she believed that she was not worthy of love unless she was a mother.
So, though it darkened her light, for many years this is what she did. She gave up her dreams and married one she did not love, and had a son whom she loved with all her heart. Her son kept her light alive. She did what she believed made her a good mother – she gave up her life for her son.
Time passed. She became pregnant with her daughter, and she became satisfied. This was what she lived for.
But her daughter died before she was ever able to live.
And the light in the heart of the mother died.
How could she be anything, if all she is is a mother, and she couldn’t keep her child alive?
Time passed. The mother found her light, found love, left the one she didn’t love, and began building a life with a woman she loved very much.
One day, the mother had to write something for her job.
She sat at her computer and struggled. I am not a writer, she thought. But it was required of her, so she sat with it until she began to write.
And the words grabbed her.
And she came alive.
She remembered herself. She remembered her light. She remembered her dreams to be a writer. There came a flood inside her so great, it poured out of her fingertips and she wrote and wrote and wrote.
But in her heart, she was still in Story A. She was the Mother, and she hoped for a daughter. It was all she hoped for – it haunted her day and night. Her wife couldn’t bear the thought of having more children – their son was all she wanted. But the Mother couldn’t bear the thought of life without a daughter. She hurt and ached and despaired for many years.
Time passed, and the mother decided to bear the children of others. This would, she hoped, somehow help make up for losing her own daughter. She hoped this would soothe her soul while allowing her to be the mother she so desperately needed to be.
But it was not to be. The mother’s womb had become unfit for life, and she lost that, too.
For more than a year, the mother grieved.
She lost herself in this grief, so deeply it ran.
She locked herself into Story A – a story in which she could, somehow, have a daughter. She refused to believe that it would never be, that she would never again have life in her womb. She protested all the changes her body went through after losing her womb.
Every step of the way was paved with her defiance, with her resistance, her unwillingness to accept things the way they were.
But this time, things were different. She loved herself too much to remain lost. And, eventually, the desire to heal overcame the desire to stay in her comfortable story A.
One morning, the mother awoke. She went into the bathroom and looked at her reflection. Her eyes, so different now. Older, wiser. More gentle. She began to cry.
She was suddenly filled with self-love and acceptance. She stared at herself in the mirror and felt Divine love pour through her. So comforting, so gentle, so much bigger than herself – she wept.
“I am in Story C,” she said, and she watched herself nod.
“I am a writer,” she said. “I choose what mother means, and I choose to be a mother and a writer.”
“I love you, me,” she said. “No matter what story I am in, it is my story. Story A isn’t real. Story B isn’t real.” She wept. She inhaled deeply. She felt Divine love wrap around her.
She nodded again.
It’s okay to hurt. It’s okay to weep. It’s okay to be stuck in a story that isn’t real – for a while. It’s okay to wish for something that can’t be.
And it’s okay to let go. It’s okay to move on. It’s okay to heal. It’s okay to jump ship when you do find that the story isn’t real anymore.
I’m not in Story A anymore. I’m not in Story B. I will never give birth to my daughter, but that does not make her any less real or alive – she is here, in my heart, every day. I think of her every day, as I do my son.
I am a mother.
I am a writer.
I chose what story to be in. And, at long last, I chose Story C.