Motherhood and Waiting is a collection of writing that explores the act and process of waiting as a parent and parent-to-be. Published at Motherwell, the series was inspired by Belle Boggs’ The Art of Waiting, a memoir on fertility, medicine, and motherhood. Here are excerpts from the essays in the series.
Lisa Romeo muses on watching her sons grow and blossom into young adults.
You wait to find out if everything you waited through before, all the years of doing and hoping, praying and sculpting — you wait to see it if worked, if it did any good, any good at all. You are waiting to find out: did you make a good person, a decent adult human? Did each of those boys become the men you were waiting to meet? You wait to find out if the adults you and your good husband made and tried to shape are the kind of young adults you would want to wait with you, years (you hope) in the future, when you are waiting for bad news, for the doctor to return from the operating room, for the biopsy results.
Leslie Kendall Dye writes about being a family of three.
Even if you have chosen a kind of planned social obsolescence, even if you feel good with your one baby and your sort-of manageable existence in your fairly tidy apartment, which you can occasionally afford to dress up with some bodega-bought peach roses, it stings to watch other bellies swell, other families grow, and to quietly let your group membership lapse.
In a series of RSVP replies, Amy Klein declines.
“Darling, I’m so devastated I’m going to miss your out-of-town wedding on The Big Island. I know we’ve been besties forever, and your wedding is very dear to me and even though I don’t usually like shelling out $10,000 to travel for a wedding, I would have come to yours. Except, except . . . I am scheduled to have an IVF transfer that day — or around that day, or that week or that cycle — if everything goes well: if my embryos defrost, if my uterine lining is thick enough, if I get over this flu, if the roads are clear, if my check clears—hopefully I will be on bedrest that week incubating my future child . . . .”
Zsofia McMullin writes about waiting around — and waiting for things to happen:
I wait for the week to be over. For second grade. For his first sleepaway camp. I wait for braces. For high school and prom and driving. I wait for meeting girlfriends, and for college applications. I wait for a gaggle of teenagers in my kitchen. I wait for phone calls in the middle of night. I wait for things I don’t even realize I want to be waiting for. But I wait for them anyway.
In The Art of Waiting, Belle Boggs describes how IVF takes over your life:
It is not just the takeover of your body that makes IVF so challenging, but the takeover of your schedule, your life. Every-other-morning appointments, waiting by the phone for news about the results of blood draws, timing injections precisely, ordering more medication or procuring discounted or free leftovers from women finished with their cycles: it all takes time.
Read the entire essay series at Motherwell.