Saturday, 22 September 2007

Confessions of a Fairy Goddessmother

One thing I always knew I wanted was to have children. Unfortunately, my body had other ideas and it wasn't to be. After 16 years of trying for a baby and now aged 44, barring a miracle it seems pretty unlikely that I will ever actually become a biological mother.

For many years my unfulfilled broodiness left me frustrated and depressed. Every menstruation brought a sense of failure and disappointment. I had my eyes so firmly set on the thing I wanted - a successful pregnancy - that it never occurred to me that there could be another outlet for my maternal instincts. Life, however, has a way of presenting new possibilities if you are only open to them.

I can't pinpoint exactly when my perspective changed - there wasn't a light bulb moment as such - but at some stage in the last 16 years, my childlessness became less of a source of pain to me. That fact is almost certainly due to our beloved friends, Kevin and Ann, who have generously allowed us to form a close bond with their three wonderful children. We have been around, babysitting and doing the aunt & uncle thing since their first daughter, Rachel, was born. When their second daughter, Charlotte, was a toddler, I had given up my stressful job (in an attempt to increase my chances of getting pregnant), so I spent a lot of time looking after her while Ann was at work. And then I did the same with their son, Michael.

We became extended family and spent virtually all our spare time together. I started using the term 'heart family' to describe our relationship to each other. We have watched with awe, pride, joy - and at times anxiety! - as Rachel, Charlotte & Michael have grown into amazing individuals. We have shared in the tears, the laughter, the scraped knees, the food fads, the treasure hunts, the birthday parties, the bad dreams, the endless questions (why?), the hilarity of water fights, the magic of Christmas, the walks to the park, the bedtime stories, the games of hide and seek, and of late, the teenage hormones, exam jitters, first romances, and initial steps into independence and adulthood.

Through all this we have been in the unique and privileged position of part-parent, part-friend, part-confidante... but it has been hard to define our relationship to the children using existing terminology. We aren't blood relations, so we aren't really an aunt and uncle. Kevin & Ann have asked us to be listed in their will as guardians of the children, in the event that something should happen to the two of them. But unless that should happen - and I pray that it won't - we aren't the children's guardians. We aren't Godparents, as we aren't Christians and have never been asked to fulfill that role. And yet we do and don't meet some of the criteria for each of the above categories. As there really doesn't seem to be a widely-used term for the nature of our relationship, I have started to describe myself as their Goddessmother. It kind of fits and I like it.

Although we now live miles apart, Rachel is currently at university nearby, and this weekend Ann brought her back to Wales to start her second year at Uni. It was so lovely to spend the weekend together, and we effortlessly slipped back into the easy friendship between us, even though we don't see each other so often these days.

Somehow, despite my inability to bear a child, I've been lucky enough to find a way to express my maternal instincts. I'm blessed to share in the lives of three wonderful young people, and I hope I can be there for them whenever they need me. Life has a way of presenting new possibilities indeed. I'm just glad I looked up from the path I was on long enough to notice. And I'm so lucky to have friends generous enough to open up those possibilities in the first place.


Leanne said...

what a lovely post, and one from the heart. I hope your heart family appreciate their fairy goddessmother, there doesnt have to be bloodties for love.

blessings on you this equinox MR

leanne x

Desolation Row said...

one from the heart indeed... i stumbled upon this blog when i clicked on the "Utopias" thing on my interests list... and i found a list of people who share the same that same interests... intresting!...

i'll check it out often... you sound like a wonderful person =D

dragonfly said...

Dearest Friend,

As others have poignently put your post is from the heart. I feel honered to be walking along/sharing your life's journey. It takes courage and compassion to be in the place you are sharing. Blessing and love to you. Please excuse the spelling I don't seem to be able to find spell check!Dragonfly

Jessica at Bwlchyrhyd said...

Well said!

Reya Mellicker said...

What a beautiful post! Thank you for this.

Your goddesschildren are so lucky to have you - because of who you are first and foremost, but also because extended family is so important. At least in the U.S., families are more nuclear than ever - maybe because people move away from the places where they grew up. I would have loved to have had an aunty close by to confide in when my parents were driving me nuts, or just for a different perspective.

Also I congratulate you for being able to work through this issue, to be able to find the benefits of your situation, to let go of feelings of inadequacy and to move forward in life.

You are such an amazing person, Moonroot. Thank you!!

Hope Springs said...

It is great when you can share children's lives like that. I currently have a similar relationship with a friend's kids and I can't imagine being without them.

Love and light to all

solsticedreamer said...

merry meet
I found you through The Creative Spirit and love your writing and its nice to find others with my interests and beliefs.
bright blessings to you and yours

deborah oak said...

Perfect, Susan, perfect. That moniker "Goddessmother" will do you and the children well, and my guess is the bonds will be deep and rewarding.

I tried for years to have a child too, and did eventually get one, but I know all too well that does not happen to all. One of the gifts of that painful process was exactly what you write about, and lead to me claiming myself Goddessmother to two "daughters", both several years older than my son. Having him did nothing to change the strong bonds I'd made with them, or the committent. The name is potent.

One goddessdaughter lived with me all summer and the other I just gave some magical instruction in casting a glamour - she's a rising hip hop musician with a cd just out. Anyways, these bonds are important and particular and rewarding. The name Goddessmother is powerful. As are you. The children are indeed lucky.

Tori said...

This is a lovely post. I struggle with worrying that since I don't want children I am giving up something I will regret.

I am going to be an Auntie for the first time in December and then again in April and I think this will be good for me to test the waters without the full responsibility.