“Maybe all one can do is hope to end up with the right regrets.” -Arthur Miller
I’m only 13 weeks pregnant and already I feel the sacrifice of this whole thing. I can see in a new way how much women give in exchange for the little ones they carry. It makes me love mothers more. So much more. I feel my body changing. I feel the presence of this alien thing inside me. I feel that tiny heartbeat when everything else is quiet, a strange little pulse that wasn’t there before. When I’m very still, I can see the surface of the skin on my stomach move ever so slightly with that pulse, and I know that nothing will ever be the same.
I hate it when people say they have no regrets, maybe because I’m so guilty of carrying them around or because regrets, as I see them, aren’t something to feel guilty about. Life is about sacrifices, is it not? It’s about choosing between good and bad, and good and better. It’s about choosing the best things when the good things are there for the taking. It’s about figuring out what the best thing for you is, because there’s no universal answer to that question. Having a regret means you made a choice. It means you decided to act, to live, to move in one direction or another. It means you let something go to take hold of something else. It means you’re learning.
I’m not sure of all the things I’ll be asked to sacrifice in becoming a mother. I can guess and plan, but I know that maybe some of the things I think I’ll have to give up, I won’t, and some of the things I plan to keep may be swiftly taken away. I may end up regretting that I didn’t go to graduate school right away, or that I postponed that backpacking trip to Southeast Asia. “Laters” may turn into “nevers.” It happens all the time.
But I can bare those regrets. I can carry them around. I can live with the sadness of those sacrifices. But not becoming a parent, not experiencing the fulness of that part of life—that’s one regret I won’t have to live with. It’s comforting to know, but it doesn’t fill the other voids, and I think that’s just fine. Little voids here and there make us human, and oh, I am human. I am a unique weave of dreams, fulfilled and unfulfilled, and both speak volumes.
Listening to: Alexi Murdoch, “Song for You”