Monday, 31 March 2008

Lost Dreams

This has been the worst day in a long, long time. I have just split up with someone I love completely.

Everyone who knows the two of us says we're great together, that we seem really happy. He's respectful, kind, generous, warm, loyal. He is uncomplicated; no strange undercurrents. Genuine. What You See Is What You Get. Someone you could rely on in a storm. A good guy, would help someone out if he could. He has old school values, in that he would urge people to do the right thing in any given situation and he looks for a solution that benefits everyone.

He is a man with a dream. He wants to sail a boat around the world. He's already got the boat. He is still paying it off and except for this Winter when he spent most of his time at mine, he was living in it. In a boatyard. In dry dock.

I would have gone on that adventure with him when he left. We'd have cracked a bottle of champagne at the launch party and played lots of songs like 'Sailing Away' and 'Ship to Shore' and 'Message in a Bottle' and lots of pirate songs. Then we'd have sailed off together and explored the world. It would be the trip of a lifetime, stopping at all sorts of strange ports and inlets, meeting people, tasting strange food and seeing strange sights. We'd have drifted along happily, tanning well and searching the world for a place to explore and settle. Then, we would have had many children and they would all grow up to be tanned and tall and we would all be very happy together.

Well, at least, that's how I saw it. But of course, it's his dream and although he was pleased to have a lovely lady like myself in his life, he hadn't envisioned any sprogs.
Ok, so I'm 30 this year and I hope I've got perhaps ten childbearing years left. So how long will the boat adventure take? We're looking at 4-8 years before we can set sail and who knows how long the adventure itself will take? I suddenly realised that I had to know if he was prepared to even consider kids. After 3 days of hell, he said, clearly, calmly and reasonably: no, he would not have children with me.

He says that he's wanted to sail around the world for as long as he can remember. I wouldn't dream of trying to stop that. In fact, I would actively encourage for him to pursure that, if that's what makes him happy. I would have come along for the adventure just because I love him and I think we'd make a great team.

But then I have my own dream - and it's fairly ordinary.
I always knew I'd be a mother one day. I knew that as a woman, I was capable of being pregnant and giving birth. The human body is amazing. The woman's internal organs shift up to make room for the baby to grow inside her womb. The baby grows inside, unseen yet slowly making its presence known. The baby's head squishes up to make its way out of the birth canal. After birth, the placenta is born too and some people eat this - perhaps the only semi-acceptable opportunity to be a cannibal. The mother produces milk for the baby and it provides everything the baby needs nutritionally and even contains antibodies that protects the baby from disease.

I have always known the importance of a man in such a relationship, who's duty is to love and protect his family when the baby is small and as the child gets older and is ready to be introduced to the wider world, he can lead the way.

I could never imagine being a single mum. I could never imagine being a career woman who choses work over family. In nearly a decade of care work and counselling, I have spent time looking after people and meeting their needs. I want to put those skills to good work on someone I really care about. I want to create a new family. It's common enough, but still one of the greatest adventures. I can't accept the idea of not having that. It was with huge sadness that I have to speak my truth - that without the possibility of children, it's over.

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