Dreaming big is something I do well. I write them down, of course. My biggest being a mother.
In 2008, I was hit with devastating news. I was told I would have an incredibly difficult time becoming a mother due to complications stemming from stage IA ovarian cancer. I fell into a bout of depression soon after. Coupled with therapy and counseling sessions, I realized I was at the lowest point of my life. My dream of becoming a mother was in danger, and I panicked. I wanted a baby I could call my own. I looked through books, read articles and articles about conceiving after ovarian cancer, and falling back into a deep depression.
My husband suggested adoption — something I was afraid to bring up with him, since he had confided to me, soon after our marriage, that he wanted a child of his DNA, and that there would be no exceptions. I was delighted to hear the words come out of his mouth. My husband, knowing how depressed I was, how sad I had been, how badly I wanted a child, came to his own conclusion of accepting adoption as an option.
We went through an agency, not realizing it would take us almost two years to complete the process. In the midst of all this, we were hit with yet another terrible news: the birth mother wanted to back out. I panicked, again, fearful that we would never do this again due to how exhausted we were, how our nerves were threadbare with worrying about the health of the mother and the baby. I wanted to quit — I wanted to rip up the contract. I wanted to disassociate myself from everyone involved in this, including my husband. How could we have picked such a bad candidate? How could he have suggested adoption? How could we have gone through with this? Why can’t I have a baby?
The agency — and my husband — steered me in the right direction. “Be patient,” they repeated to me. “This happens a lot, but they’ll realize soon enough.” And sure enough, after a week of deliberation on the mother’s end, she was back on board. It hit me then, that she had reacted out of panic. The very same panic that I had felt when I realized I couldn’t have children. The very same panic I had when I realized I might never become a mother. The very same panic I had when I received the call about the mother wanting to back out. I recalled something my mother told me a long, long time ago.
“Be patient, Zadie, you have to be patient. Once you’ve made your decision, stay with it, and be patient. Don’t react to something out of panic — or because everyone else is doing it. You have a plan, and that’s to stick with the decision you’ve made.”