Olha Ruskykh

When You Dream Of Motherhood But Worry You’re Running Out Of Time

I have always yearned to be a mother. And not in one of those cheesy, picture perfect ways, like the ‘mom’ content that is continuously thrown at us from all sides on social media. No, I have the strongest pull to motherhood for so many reasons. Maybe it’s because I want to mirror what my own mom did, raising three babies on a small-town farm while my dad worked tirelessly to provide for us. Maybe it’s because the motherly instinct is embedded in my DNA, stitched beneath my skin, sewn into every muscle and tendon in my body. There isn’t one single reason—it is a million little things. Because the little things aren’t little; they breathe life into every moment. When I look at monumental times in my life thus far, it is always a compilation of a million little things.

When I imagine my future, there is not one day where I am not watching—love struck and in awe—as my heart exists outside of my body. When I see my future, I am looking at my reflection in their wild baby blues, and noticing new features of mine every day in their tousled hair and sweet, sun-soaked skin. When I think about my future, it doesn’t exist without a few babies running around barefoot, playing in the sprinkler and squealing in delight. When I think about my future, I cannot see it without those first moments learning how to skate, wobbly and unsure. I cannot see my future without seeing their dad beaming with the same sunshine on his face as the day they came into the world. I cannot see my life without seeing their father gliding around the rink slowly, holding them tight, stealing precious moments and memories that can never be replicated.

I am maternal by nature; I have always been the caring, empathetic, love-too-much kind of girl. So, it begs the question: Why haven’t I become a mother yet? Am I not good enough? Am I barren? Is this all some sort of fundamental failing on my part? I have been in love exactly one time, and I cannot count how many moments I spent daydreaming about bringing babies into the world with him. I imagined our children having the same brown speckle in their green/blue eyes as him. I imagined them having messy waves in their hair and being born with a kick and stride so strong that you just knew they’d be wearing skates before they could talk. I mapped out and envisioned our growing family with a passion and love that I haven’t felt since.

And so, my ovaries and I need to sit down and have a serious chat.

A lot of people would say that 28 is still a very young age. But I cannot get rid of the devil on my shoulder telling me that I am running out of time. When you thought you’d already have two or three children by now, be married to their father, and be more in love and obsessed with each other than the moment you fell in love as smitten teenagers—well, let’s just say it fucks with your psyche. It plays with my hypersensitive emotions, my logical brain fails to do its job, and I begin the spiral that I have succumbed to numerous times. I lament my body’s weaknesses; I highlight all of the ways in which this body I call home has left me in the lurch. I mute mom’s on social media because I am triggered seeing their beautiful babies, and their perfect little families. I fall into yet another depressive episode—one of many. There doesn’t seem to be a category for me to fit seamlessly into, during this chapter of my life. I simply feel as if I’m doing something wrong, that I’m not good enough in some way. There is a large part of me that wants to feel empowered and strong and independent because I am not ‘tied down’ yet. So why do I continue to feel the emptiness, the loneliness? When I see anything related to babies and mothering, I feel a pang so otherworldly deep down inside: in my uterus, perhaps?

The truth is, I have not found a solution or a cure for what ails me. I am the mid-twenties equivalent of heartsick, coupled with the constant desire to have children—it is my very own concoction of sadness, a not-so-secret recipe.