When I saw the name, I got a little tug in the pit of my stomach. Just a little hiccup, not a pain. It surprised me that I didn’t feel worse, that I didn’t feel the sad seep of loss.
There was a time, when I first realized I had to leave my marriage, when I felt loss sharply. I’d always wanted three children, and leaving before I had a third meant turning my back on that life I thought I was going to have. I knew I didn’t have the marriage I’d always wanted, or even a marriage that could limp along any longer, so that family I’d thought I’d have wasn’t even possible. Even though I knew it wasn’t possible, though, it still hurt to turn away from the facade of that life. I didn’t know if I was strong enough to leave a situation that hurt me every day, even to go toward freedom.
But I was. I took my lumps and didn’t cry (much) and kept going. As I went through the process of ripping my wrong life apart and slowly building up my right life, I stopped mourning that missing child. I started being grateful just to wake up, to hug my two boys, to make decisions for myself, to own me. A line from a poem became my mantra: “Bloody, but unbowed.”
Yes, it sounds dramatic. It was dramatic. Anyone who’s not living the life they always thought they were going to lead can tell you how it feels.
This is not the life I thought I’d have, but this is the life I create. And part of that life is letting go of what I thought was good for me and turning toward what I really need. I thought I’d have a third child, but I don’t know if that’s what I really needed.
Now I would have another child, if I met someone who wanted one. But if I did, and it was a girl, I wouldn’t name her that name that gave me a tug last night. That name belongs to my friend’s daughter, born yesterday (and — shhh — to my other friend’s daughter, to be born in a few weeks).
And if I don’t have another child, I will be just fine being the mother of my two sweet, fierce boys, and it will all be good.
How do you feel about the secret name you’ve never used?
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