How I Wrestled Through My Desire For Motherhood While Single

motherhood

“Excuse me, I need to use the restroom,” I stood to walk away from the kitchen table.

Closing the door and turning on the faucet, I collapsed into a child’s pose, tears silently falling. The high-end tile felt cold against my face. My empty stomach groaned, not out of hunger, but out of a craving to be filled with life.

The week prior I was dumped, again. In an effort to somehow salve my broken heart, I found a dirt cheap flight back to my hometown and my two best childhood friends promised to hold me in their arms and spend a Saturday evening together, just like old times.

We met at the huge, gorgeous home that my newly married friend had just moved into. Her husband jumped into a frenzy when he discovered she was pregnant and promptly hunted down a stunning house to move into and raise their family in. As we sat around her table, to my left my other best friend’s pregnant belly protruded even more than the belly of my friend on my right. Rays of the purple setting sun reflected on the luxury swimming pool outside of the grand bay window. After brief pleasantries, in their excitement for their upcoming births, my two best friends jumped into an hour-long conversation about names and strollers and what gender they hoped their babies would be. “It’s seriously so incredible to be pregnant,” they said, bringing up the names of all our other mutual friends who also were expecting.

I sat silent. Stomach flat, covered in non-maternity clothes. Images flashed from the week prior: weeping on my couch with the man I adored as we tore our lives apart from each other. The lives of my best friends, each with their handsome, hardworking husbands and beautiful new houses, seemed perfect — exactly the life I had hoped for as a young girl. And I, well, I was a million miles away from even knowing where to start to pick up the pieces of another broken dream.

I sat silent. Stomach flat, covered in non-maternity clothes. Images flashed from the week prior: weeping on my couch with the man I adored as we tore our lives apart from each other.

30 isn’t old, but it’s also not young. It’s old enough to know the countless ways a couple can experience infertility. It’s old enough to have your doctor somberly tell you that if you want children, then it wouldn’t be a bad idea to start trying now. It’s old enough to have held your stillborn niece in your arms. It’s old enough to have only lived the romantic narrative that everyone you love, so far, will leave you.

What do you do when the only thing you’re sure of in life is that you want to, one day, be a mother? Is “phantom infertility” a possible sensation? Perhaps you are technically able to bear children, but you can’t even find the starting line to try.

Image via Hannah Burton

Image via Hannah Burton

On Hope

When we talk about hope, we say it in terms like, “I hope it doesn’t rain on the concert” or, “I hope to win the Powerball.” These are uncertain events and we simply use the word “hope” to somehow designate that we desire for just the best case uncertainty to grace us with good fortune. But what if hope isn’t a passive posture of uncertainty, but rather a statement of certainty about what’s to come? Hope is faith, just in future tense. We may not know the exact ways our dreams will come to pass, but perhaps choosing to live in hope means having the confidence that the destiny written on our hearts will surely, one day, come our way… somehow.

If motherhood is written on your heart, your journey may go one of many paths. Maybe you’ll find a very “traditional path.” Or, maybe not. The act of “becoming a mother” can blossom in many different ways, but all lead to the same place of sacrificial love. Whether by exploring medical interventions, embarking on pregnancy without a partner, adopting or becoming a foster parent, there’s more than one way to care for our children. The path isn’t what’s most important. What matters is the undertone of love and the outpouring of that love to the next generation.

The path isn’t what’s most important. What matters is the undertone of love and the outpouring of that love to the next generation.

Seasons

When you’re grieving, people often bring up the oft cited (and oft cliche) encouragement that life is all about seasons. “Your winter will end and spring with come,” they say. But could it be that the season of new life might not be spring? That it might not be when the bright green leaves start to appear and brilliantly colored poppies bloom? Perhaps F. Scott Fitzgerald captures seasons best when he says, “life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall.” Perhaps falling down on the cold hard tile and starting over, yet another time, was the precisely the day new life was born inside me all over again.

For you, if fall is upon you or it’s all just falling apart, I want you to know that I recognize that pain. Pain from singleness, pain from not having children, or the pain of any dream you hold dear. Feeling like our dreams are dying can feel as though we are dying, but today will be over as soon as the sun sets.

And tomorrow, on a crisp fall day, may a new dream start all over again within you.

Featured image via Esther Lee

Talitha holds an MBA and currently works as a Project Manager for an LA-based social media company McBeard. She has a long history of non-profit work, investing 10 years into organizations like Invisible Children and The Giving Keys. She is a real "get-it-done" kind of gal with a love for yoga, travel, interior design, cats and craft beer.

18 COMMENTS
  • Thomas August 31, 2017

    Thank you for sharing Talitha. Well-expressed.

    It’s amazing to me how many women and men feel this way. I hope all of us who hunger so deeply for family will someday be satisfied.

  • Darling Magazine August 30, 2017

    A Note From the Editor: There is a line between open conversation and blatantly hurtful, offensive and disruptive language. While we welcome and encourage the former, there were several comments in this thread that were clearly only out to bully and disrespect.

    At Darling, we do not tolerate bullying or any manner of speech that could prove to threaten, so those comments have been removed out of respect to the author of this piece and to those reading. Thank you to those who comment to encourage and do so in maturity and kindness.

  • Anonymous August 30, 2017

    I’m floored. Whoahhhhh

  • Carissa August 30, 2017

    The Comments on this post are at best, devastating. Coming from a family that was taught, by pattern, that women have families and get married no later than 25 – I completely understand this. I also understand that your deep desire to have children and to contribute to this life with a partner, is very much in your heart. I feel it too. After countless dates and being called, “marriage material” time and time again with singleness always near – I completely understand. I often feel it heavily and then at other times feel the freedom singleness. Knowing that it too, holds so much. Perhaps not exactly what I longed for and still do, but it allows me to be a Court Appointed Special Advocate for Foster Youth, to be a friend in a very different way than I could otherwise and it does even allow me to date. I have been a culprit, all too many times of the “I hate dating, I love dating” cycle. But I will say it has allowed me the opportunity to get to know so many people in this world and even when that date ends or we stop seeing each other, I have had the assurance to say that I still regard them as people of so much worth.

    This is YOU, a person of so much worth. I am so thankful for your genuine nature, that allows all of us to learn with you and stand beside you – even if it is a standing through the tides of Media. I know you are a person so full of life in every aspect of it, the griefs and the joys and I am so thankful for that. To know that when you speak – it is from a genuine place. Thank you, thank you for opening up your heart to see the goodness of each high and low in life.

    • Anna August 30, 2017

      Carissa, I could not agree with you more. Very well put!

  • Talitha August 30, 2017

    Hi WomenRDumb! Thanks for checking in. I’ve been dating someone since December or so. He’s really great. You’d have to ask him if I’ve given him what he’s wanted. Was on a game show and won $12,000, so that’s going into savings to take care of my future kiddos….. Pretty cool blessing from the universe. Not sure if it was ever all about me…. but I have spent a lot of time this past year volunteering and fundraising for various non-profits.

  • Anna August 30, 2017

    Thank you for your vulnerability and expressing what so many women feel. As someone who just entered a new decade of my 30’s, becoming a mother and starting a family has become my #1 dream. I’ve already begun to share some of your feelings and it’s encouraging to know that we’re not alone in how we feel in our journey to motherhood, no matter what your circumstance.

  • Emma Ruth October 3, 2016

    I am that girl as well. 32 (tomorrow) and desperately wanting a child. It’s something I think about each time that time of the month comes around and an aching my in stomach when I see friends my age having their second and third children.

    Thank you so much for your words, as they are truly comforting even though you may be in pain.

    Emma xx

    • Tailtha October 4, 2016

      Happy birthday. I’m so sorry that you’re feeling this, but I know there’s still a ton of hope out there. It’s just a very real thing that somedays you feel like you can’t find it.

    • Anonymous August 30, 2017

      You’re not right, you’re gross

  • Hat September 19, 2016

    I was deeply moved by your story. I am that girl, about to turn thirty and feeling the sadness of an empty womb with a lost relationship in the rear view mirror. So odd when you want to celebrate with your best friends as they have their first (and second) children but there is a deep sadness that is stirred up in the celebrating.

    Thank you for writing.

    • Tailtha October 4, 2016

      Thank you so much for this encouragement. Know you’re not alone.

  • Tori September 19, 2016

    Thank you for being brave enough to write this. Sending you a hug tonight. You are not alone.

  • Marie September 19, 2016

    Thank you for writing about something so difficult. Sending you lots of love and know that healing and peace are coming. xo, Marie

  • Char September 19, 2016

    Sitting with you on a Sunday night. Thank you for your bravery, honesty, and hope. Even Eve, the mother of all living things, didn’t have children when she was first named. Being a mother, providing love, nurturement, and care doesn’t have to be limited to blood children. While not the same, through your words, you have “mothered” me. Thank you!

    • Talitha September 19, 2016

      I love this, so much. Amazing insights on the Eve concept.

  • Ida September 18, 2016

    Truth expressed with such clarity through the pain- thank you.

  • Esther September 18, 2016

    Beautifully and tenderly said. And, oh, so true.

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