Embracing the Meantime: Making the Most of It

Enjoying a book and leisurely afternoon in the afternoon light of Central Park
Enjoying a book and leisurely afternoon in Central Park

For much of the last year and a half, I have lingered in a strange space of utter heartbreak and stubborn joy.

The job descriptions I have wanted more than any other in life have been to be a wife and a mother, but things have not gone according to my carefully laid plans. With that, I have had to reconsider everything I assumed for how I would live my life in my late twenties into my thirties. Piece by piece, I have been slowly letting go and burying the things I held onto so tightly.

Grief is a cycle – it comes in seasons and waves and is not always predictable. In order to not let my disappointment consume me, I have had to actively choose to sit down each day and list the blessings in my life. What is present in my life today that makes me smile? What do I get to do that I could not (or not as easily) if I woke up today as a mom?

Taking the time to spend with my friends who are moms and their precious children, listening to their joys and challenges helps me to shift my perspective. I have a dear friend (a Mama herself) who encouraged me to embrace my current, non-pregnant, pre-children season of life with as much gusto as possible. Not pregnant this month? Feel free to walk on the wild side. Not pregnant? Have a glass of red wine. Not pregnant? Sleep in. Not pregnant? Write and pursue your dreams now as much as you can.

I know these days, though they seem long, may be gone before I know it. We will have a family somehow, someday. I do not want to waste my current days longing for the ones filled with children. For I know that when I have them, sometimes I will find myself wistfully thinking about the freedom I had before they ever arrived.

Do you know what surprises me? This gratitude practice actually works. It makes more space in my heart to hold other things beside sadness. So I savor my slow, quiet mornings. I drink a cup of coffee. I sit in the park and I read books that spark my mind and soul. I do my best to not just be alive, but be intentionally present in my days. I say thank you for daily blessings and mean it.

I feel hopeful, even though my timelines are erased and five-year plans ripped to shreds. There is a new kind of freedom in having a blank slate to write the next chapter of my life without the pressure of following my self-imposed rules. I do not have the slightest clue about what the future holds, but I am giving myself permission to dream again and move forward anticipating whatever lies ahead.

Are you savoring this stage of life or are you just biding time until reaching the next? What little things are you able to be grateful for? What is present in this season that may never be again?

3 thoughts on “Embracing the Meantime: Making the Most of It

  1. I am a true believer that listing a daily gratitude list does help. I’ve been doing the same since last August when I was having a very hard time (but was afraid to share it with most people in fear of completely being misunderstood). It’s amazing the changes that have happened in my life by using something so simple (along with other things that have helped me through those times). I’m glad to hear that you are finding enjoyment in the little things that will, as you say, one day vanish because of kids. I know how badly you want children and I also know that God will bless you and Nick with them one day. Love you, Erika!

  2. We haven’t been “waiting” for anywhere as long as you guys but after my miscarriage last month I geared myself up and said, OK then, I’m going to enjoy all the things I couldn’t/shouldn’t do while I was pregnant and really enjoy this time!
    I’m back on Weight Watchers and working hard towards getting fit; I’m saving money! for when the time comes; I’m enjoying quiet time and going out and having alone time with my husband!
    And most of all, I’m working hard on my relationships with myself, my husband and God! This way, maybe I’ll feel just a tad bit more ready when the time comes again and I’ll feel like I’m on solid footing in my God relationship so that when the world is “all baby”, I’ll have the right habits and mindset in place!
    I think of you often and I know that God has some crazy plan and meaning for you guys that is just going to knock you away! 😉

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