Better Late Than Never: On Writing and Motherhood Guest Blog Post by micrimas

In Guest Blog Posts on September 16, 2009 at 9:22 pm

Better late than never. Titus Livius, History Roman author & historian (59 BC – 17 AD) As a writer I always give props and accreditation. Plagiarism is the worst form of theft, because you are stealing intellectual, not concrete, property.

I’ve already written on my blog, Half a Duo, Raising a Duo about perseverence being my middle name. That is the case with my writing career as well as in my becoming a mother.

From a young age I aspired to be a writer but having no support or direction with regard to my education as I grew up (stellar grades and all, but with no support and direction, where do you turn?) I did the best that I could.

I put myself through college, working days full time, a part time night job, and, attending business classes (that I hated with a passion, but because I worked for a then Fortune-50 company, they would only pay for a business degree. I rebelled by making my business degree one in PR and Marketing, which they found acceptable even though I worked in finance….)

The 20 year plan? That was me. Up until I left my company (I worked for this company forever, enough to get a pension and give them total props for paying for my most excellent education), the business degree moved forward to a teaching degree.

I was able to get a teaching degree because by then my job had evolved to a corporate trainer and I was writing then. Technical writing of sorts, creating slide shows and training modules to train executives and others how to evaluate cost center reports and various financial reports for their cost centers.

At this time, I met my DH. Within 3 weeks, we met, and eloped. The story of my elopement was and is hysterical to this day. When I was younger, a lot of older ladies, when I queried them on how they knew their DH’s were “the one”, they would just look at me hard and say “you just KNOW”. Until I met the DH, I was clueless. I THOUGHT I knew but then when I met HIM, I totally KNEW.

So we eloped and I went to work, right after eloping, in my wedding dress and all. With the flowers my manager had given me still in my arms and the penny in my shoe that my co-workers threw at me the day before the elopement.

My DH is from overseas and while we weren’t driven by the Green Card to marry, I was a total “Runaway Bride” which is why we eloped. Asked by many, weddings cancelled at nearly the last minute. That was me. Terrified of marriage. But the deed was done. YEAH!

Age 29, finishing up my teaching degree and writing in a technical kind of way. But I yearned for more. The opportunity came for me to actually get LAID OFF from my company, and because I worked there for so incredibly long, the benefits would still be paid, the pension too, AND, a “layoff package” which would enable me and the DH (who had by then a somewhat decent job and I could focus on slamming out the writing degree) to live somewhat comfortably. All this and my manager, who was my biggest cheerleader, pushed through one semester of my writing degree before I got “the package” and I was golden.

I left my beloved company and launched into school and my writing/editing degree. At this point, it truly was basically the almost 20 year plan. I vowed that I would give myself a break, and not work, just fixate on writing.

That was busted down after a semester. I was so used to being overworked and overloaded… I found a writing job pretty much right away.

That job, thanks to the student placement office and my experience as a corporate trainer writing training modules etc, was the start of my writing career.

I loved it, very much. At this point I was 33 years old.

I’d found “what I wanted to be when I grew up.” Finally, at 33. And it is never too late, for in some of my graduate writing classes, were students in their 60s, so never give up your dream!

Married… the DH climbing the corporate ladder himself. Disaster struck for me 3 years into my dream job. The dream job had me talking to people on the front lines of nonprofits, grassroots and non-government organizations worldwide. Writing diplomatic cables. Creating documents that impacted the world and was given to Congress, the President and world changers who wanted to support causes overseas. I had to leave my beloved career behind to fight cancer. I fought like I’d never fought before and suffered tremendously both physically and emotionally.

So what happened?

Well, the cancer created a lot of change for me. At the time I left work, it was impossible for me to just sit at home. I’ve never been a sit at home type of person. I had been volunteering for a cat rescue that is a non-profit, nationally known. I started grantwriting for that rescue. And thus, my gratis career as a grantwriter for non-profits began.

I’d given the DH a timeline for motherhood just as the cancer was discovered. I was totally infertile, and he knew it when me married me. My backstory is unusual, in that, when I was 19, I was pregnant with fraternal twin girls and nearly died, late term, at work, losing them. I lost my fertility on the same day. So the DH knew what he was getting into when he met and married me. No kids, adoption, or surrogacy. Those were the options.

I refused the no kids option. But had to put the cancer behind me. Well behind me, because, well… being a responsible adult, having taught and mentored children for many years, I knew the right thing to do was to wait. Wait until my health and the residual effects of my many surgeries stabilized.

After a few years we decided to pursue surrogacy and looked into it. Every option basically was an option we did not want to face. Anonymous egg donation? My sister refused to donate eggs. So therefore, that was our only option. Back when I was in my 30s, Traditional Surrogacy was basically taboo due to the Whitehead case. It was never an option.

Because of my medical history — it was extremely important for us to connect with someone either via Open Adoption or Traditional Surrogacy. But our parenthood dream was once again put on hold. For a few more years, as I had to caregive my mother through brain cancer, and my DH’s father died of lung cancer. Slowly I lost my entire family except my sisters, over a years’ timespan. It was devastating.

I was still writing for nonprofits as a grantwriter and searching for grants from home, for a few children’s charities. I never stopped this work until I became a mother. There are many nonprofits out there who are desperate for people to help them win the very few grants out there to be had to keep moving forward, helping kids. When one of my groups won a grant, the feeling was indescribable. One grant helped the kids learn about good eating and health… one grant fixed the roof of the building. These small things made a huge difference.

I got the all clear from my docs to become a mom. The DH and I had systematically queried every single doctor that had treated me. Every one of them said “go for it”. By this time, more than 5 years had passed, which is basically the “safety zone” for cancer. I felt confident and capable that I could more than carry out my duties as a mom.

It took forever. Because of my fears of Traditional Surrogacy, I asked the DH if we could try adopting. It was heartwrenching, when we strongly connected with a wonderful couple who lived somewhat nearby, for an open adoption, and our potentially adoptive son died at birth of an inoperable heart defect. I felt like the world was caving in. I fell in love with this little boy and his family, and bonded with his mother, over sonos and getting together and phone calls. Devastating. A third child, lost to me.

We finally decided to move forward with surrogacy and connected with a woman who felt like she could handle an open Traditional Surrogacy arrangement and her family. It took many months to achieve conception. At that point, I had stopped writing and devoted all my time focusing on the conception part (which was clinical) and driving back and forth between visits to her and her family to doctor appointments and to bond with the family, as we had hoped for a lifetime, open connection post-birth.

I started a blog but in the middle of the 2nd trimester I stopped. Our surrogate became difficult and I felt like I only wanted to write the most positive of things on the blog. The fear of losing my twin sons (by then we knew she was carrying my husband’s twin sons, my boys N and A) overwhelmed me and I lost the muse. I could not document the journey at all for fear of losing a 4th and 5th child.

The fear was very real.

I won’t get into details but suffice it to say, I finally gained the courage to pick myself back up and start documenting their and my lives via my blog, when they were 14 months old.

Waking up at the crack of dawn, 5am, just to write… inspiring others, documenting the boys’ and my life, listening to music that inspires me and using that as a springboard for the next blog entry, seeing an inspirational phrase or a biblical verse that catches my eye and the night before the next entry, I usually start pulling it together in my head.

I remember when I was very sick, my surgeon told me, “You ought to write a book, to help patients learn to advocate for themselves, because you have so much experience, having had such difficulties with your health.” I snorted. He was serious.

For me, this is THE single most rewarding and fulfilling task. At the age of 47, I am the mother of toddler fraternal twin sons. Not replacements for the lost fraternal twin girls that passed when I was 19. They are my destiny, and God placed our surrogate and her family in our path, for me to be parenting these boys and writing about our lives.

It’s a unique and unusual situation. One that is not for the faint of heart… but my heart is made of steel, the core soft like magma, the external battered like an ancient shield, with the blows life had handed me.

I’ve become old and wise. And writing. The muse is strong and powerful within. I will never stop writing. I will never again lose the courage. My boys will see the love that shines behind the words, the pride, the travails I’ve had to deal with since before their birth. How determined this woman was, to become a mother. How much heartache and suffering she has been through and how every breath they, and I, take, is treasured and measured with gratitude so overwhelming, there aren’t words to describe the feeling.

  1. I went through the same experiences, unfortunately. ,

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