The Marvelous Crumb

Follow Joy. Find Belonging.

What I now know – for better or for worse

Sometimes when I write I cry.

Sometimes I cry when I write.

When the truth landed, it hit me with piercing agony like a dart in the spine. It said, “this relationship will end, that is all.”

The funny thing about truth is that it has a presence. It is a simple standing structure immovable and unapologetic. Once recognized it is the measure upon which all else can be weighed. I imagine it like a giant concrete wall dropping from the sky, –BOOM! – into a pristine lake. The size of the waves it creates and the quantity of the sludge stirred depends entirely on the fabrications your lake holds. When truth lands you have two options: A) What wall? Everything is fine here! Or, B) Oh, fuck!

I’ve decided to go with Option B – for better or for worse.

By taking a closer look at the ripples and mud coloring my current reality, two questions have emerged:

  1. Do I really want to be a mother?
  2. Have I been waiting to be rescued?

I recall passing a neighborhood park in San Francisco. Joyful children bundled against the fog were eating cake, chasing each other and bouncing in an inflated castle. Their parents huddled together and looked on. I imagined their topics of conversation: the funny things their children had said and done, the birthday party next week where they’d once again convene,  the unseasonably cool weather. They looked bored.

As I surveyed this scene, the feeling that arose was not, when will it be my turn? or even, those children are so cute with their fat rosy cheeks and colorful scarves. The feeling that arose was, thank gawd that is not my life. Thank gawd I’m on the other side side of this fence on my way to get a taco. It occurs to me now that my sentiments were not exactly indicative of someone who is dying to procreate. As I watched the children stuff their faces with sugar and run around  unhinged, I felt resigned. One day I too would be spending my weekends caring for and catering too rather than attending to my own desires. I too would back burner my dreams for this new priority.

I had been ready to jump on the baby train because I believed that, at the age of 35, it was now or never. My aging eggs would soon be useless. But the prospect of pending mommyhood felt like death. Take that last breath of air, enjoy those final moments of sunshine, you’re about to surrender. And the funny thing is, I actually thought I was excited about this.

How eagerly I told ALL my friends that by this time next year I would be pregnant.

How quickly I stopped exploring Berkeley and Oakland, fearful of discovering something new that would make my plans impossible

How easily I abandoned friend dates and projects and began tying my life into a neat and tidy package. No loose strings for me.

Among these subtle disengagements, I did not feel joy at the thought of beginning this new chapter. I felt dread. And, isn’t that a problem? Isn’t that the first sign something is not adding up? But I refused to acknowledge it.

Somehow, miraculously, someone had chosen me, me to create a home and family! I was being swept off my feet, carried to the promised land of fulfillment and fullness. How fabulous! But I couldn’t shake that what I really wanted was to be put back down, firmly in the place of my choosing to carry on with the stealing of chocolate-covered pretzels from Berkeley Bowl, glittering myself before dance classes, texting when I should be working, plotting my next blog post and learning to teach dance. I wanted to keep my life alive. I was not ready to surrender.

I had been so ready to abandon it all, and why? I blame Disney. I blame the rhetoric that women must wait to be chosen, wait to be carried to the castle for their lives to truly begin. After being selected we will joyfully  spend our days brushing our long flowing blonde hair, singing to our children and looking in the mirror. This is what happiness looks like.

When the truth landed, it rippled the fantasy. It said, “Do you choose the dream or do you choose the life you’re already living? Do you choose to remain disconnected from you heart or do you choose all of you?” I looked at the truth’s solidness, smelled its earthiness and felt instant relief. It hadn’t just landed, it had been there all along. How simple. How silly. How incredible!

This doesn’t mean I’ve given up on motherhood. I just know that I’m not the kinda gal who will do anything to make that possible. I will not be inseminating myself, abiding in a contractual relationship or relinquishing the things that make me me simply for the hope of tiny hand to grip my own.

I choose what already is – my unbridled, fertile, real, unbound, freeing, pulsing, alive, accepting, forgiving, demanding existence, with or without the baby, with or without the man. How about that Disney? I choose the wandering star life of a writer and dancer dreaming to be seen and heard. And from this place, if I’m gifted with a toddling fatty I will rejoice and shower her with love. I will encourage her to reach for the moon and choose her own path to get there because this will then be my truth.









  1. Thank you for taking the time to make the right decision. Too often we rush into children with the thought that it’s going to be all that and a box of chocolates, but in reality it’s all about them, all the time. Parties where you would have had a pleasant time chatting with others suddenly becomes a time where you watch your little one like a hawk praying they don’t get hurt. It really is like watching your heart walk outside of your body, but it also isn’t something you should force.

    I’m glad I had children. There are days I wish I hadn’t. Your life doesn’t get put on hold, in fact it actually speeds up to a point where you hang on for dear life and wish that the important moments didn’t happen in such a flash.

    • I applaud your choice. I made the other one at just about your age. Either way, there’s going to be heartache and loneliness, laughter and joy. Life is full of challenges and great moments. At 73, I often look back and wonder what it would have been like to make the other choice. The big thing I do know, is that making the choice to get married and have a child because society makes you feel like you are not complete or fulfilled if you don’t, is absolutely wrong. I think that played a big part in my choice, and I’m very sorry about that! It’s wonderful to me to see that you can see that pressure as the false message it is! Go out into the world and be!!

      • Kelsey

        September 14, 2016 at 4:13 pm

        Thank you for this honesty and wisdom Pwll! Funny how things always seem to work out for the best in the end. It truly is wheeeeeeee!

    • Kelsey

      September 14, 2016 at 4:15 pm

      I love this idea of watching your heart walk walk outside your body. I cannot imagine. I hope I have the opportunity for such an experience but I must believe there is some diving order to such things Life is a miracle. If I’m selected to bring forth another being, I will be grateful and honored, but I’m done hoping.

  2. Well, then. Thanks for the charade.

  3. I applaud you brave lady! You are who you are in this moment. It takes a lot of courage to look deeply and be truthful about what direction to take, especially with so many forces pulling you in different directions. At age seventy one I’ve come to believe that there are no wrong choices except the choice to live with regrets. How dumb is that! Wasting a life regretting things you might have done differently. I’m a very different person with different interests and motivations than I had forty or fifty years ago. But would my life have been better with different choices? Absolutely not, because every choice has joy and sorrow and we all have many different aspirations; each one we follow teaches us something different about ourselves and each other. I mean how much time is it worth to ponder over whether we should have ordered chicken or fish for dinner. Just different flavours and experiences. That’s hardly the point! Your decision is absolutely correct because you paid attention to your inner feelings so you are living in truth. Bravo!

    • Kelsey

      September 24, 2016 at 12:06 pm

      Cheryl, those words land so kindly right now. Feeling some loneliness and trying to just allow and not distract. It is such a practice to stay with what is. Xo

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