Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Name change

I've struggled with what to call this blog almost as much as I've been struggling with what this blog is about. Is it a blog about parenting after recurrent miscarriage? Sort of. Is it about being a full time university professor/administrator and a full time mother? Yes. Is it about finding a way to stay involved in the community? I'd like it to be. So what the hell is it? What do I want from this space? What online community do I belong to, if any?

The new name, The Second Act, is my latest attempt to formulate something out of these questions. It refers to the fact that I've thought of having a baby in my 40s as very much like starting a second act, a second life. My first act, from birth to the age of 38 or so, was all about me, to put it bluntly. I was figuring out who I was and what I wanted. I was a student for a long time (4 years of college and then 8 years of graduate school), and then I was a teacher and community organizer. I was becoming myself during those many years, and while that process is far from over, I reached a place in my late 30s where I was ready for a family. Ready for someone else to be at the center of my life. I fretted about the decision for most of my 30s. Was I too selfish to get off center stage? Did I live too much in my head and not enough in the real world for me to realistically be a good mother? Could I settle down with one man long enough to get to the let's-have-a-family conversation?

I did. I found love with one man, a fellow teacher, and found myself finally longing for a baby. It wasn't easy, and there were many times when I thought I had simply waited too long or wasn't going to be among the lucky ones to carry a baby to full term. But then, W stuck around and in December of 2009, he arrived safe and sound.

So this is my Second Act, and hopefully there will be third and fourth acts to come. For now, I'm sharing the metaphorical stage with my husband and my son, and I'm figuring out how to do all this. How to live this new life that I desperately wanted and that is not always rosy and simple. I loved a recent post over at Murgdan that I adored about how difficult babies can be, even when they were long-hoped-for and are cherished. I guess I want to be part of that conversation in my own minor way--I want to suggest to other women who are afraid, or who feel like their second act (motherhood in mid-life) is either not going the way it is "supposed" to go or is too hard to imagine. And I want to be a person, not just a mother. I write to remind myself that my First Act is not gone. I'm not a new person. I'm still me. I'm still that sometimes selfish, often lost, person I was, but now I've got additional roles and jobs to accomplish. I want to consciously write this Second Act into being.

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