Nola

Motherhood, for me, was a calling that revealed itself in early adulthood. Prior to that, I was somewhat ambivalent to the idea, primarily because I doubted my ability to be a good mother. That didn’t stop me from constructing a very specific fantasy of living on a smallholding in Grizedale in the Lake District, with my two sons Jacoby and Delano (father pending), but I was very distinctly disconnected from any concept of what it would mean to be a mother.

When I was twenty-three, however, my perspective jumped quite suddenly when I had a strange dream. It was all blackness, and out of the blackness stepped an old man. He handed me a baby girl, told me her name was Nola, and said “remember, she’s not yours.” And then I woke up. It felt important, and I found myself reflecting on its meaning for a long time after it ended; on what it is to be a parent and raise a child; on what preconceptions I had been carrying with me in my life thus far; on what would happen if (or maybe when) Nola was made manifest; on how parenthood now seemed inevitable for me.

A few weeks later, I fell pregnant. I wasn’t using birth control but I was tracking my cycle and should have been a good week away from ovulating. There was a moment during sex that I suddenly knew, but I told myself I was crazy until a little pink line corroborated my story. It was Nola. The world was magical.

The first flush of joy, however, gave way to a sort of desperate depression after not too long. I wasn’t ready to give a child what they deserved. My partner wasn’t ready to give a child what they deserved. At about eight weeks, I felt my connection to Nola waning, completely outside of my control. I felt her slipping away. I blamed the depression I couldn’t snap myself out of, and the fact that my relationship had declined to the point we were sleeping in separate bedrooms. But I couldn’t shake the sad suspicion that it was over. At twelve weeks it was confirmed I had miscarried, although my body refused to give up on being pregnant.

I had failed. I had failed her. I wasn’t good enough to be a parent.

One day, though, I would be good enough. One day, I would be ready to give a child what they deserved. I had to be. And this was, for whatever reason, part of the journey to get there.

I won’t comment on whether that was a healthy meaning to take from the experience; it was simply the one I took.

Three years later, my body, my mind, my soul were insisting it was time to have a child. To the extent that, a few times, despite the fact I hadn’t had sex in probably a year, I wouldn’t have been surprised if I’d peed on a stick and it told me I was pregnant.

Then I met someone. Someone who liked the moon that my cycle had now synced up with. Things got a little bit reckless from there.

My post-modern brain

My brain got called post-modern in passing the other day.

My first thought was what actually is postmodernism? I know Jordan Peterson doesn’t like it but I’ve never really paid attention to its exact meaning.

So I looked it up and realised it is basically extreme relativism, but even its definition is kind of relative, so..?

Yeah, okay, that’s kind of my jam. And yes, I have found myself lately talking a lot about the subjectivity of truth.

Here is where I may diverge (or maybe not, what do I know?). I think there is such a thing as objective truth, I just don’t think we’re capable of comprehending it. And I think, even if we were, it would be so abstract to our human selves that we probably wouldn’t be very compelled by it. And so, for as long as we are still humans, I think we need to make the most of our subjective truth by moulding it to fit our purposes.

Floating amidst the chaos of no one true answer, we need to lay a path for ourselves that takes us to where we’d like to go. And maybe objective facts are what we use to lay that path, but the direction it takes ultimately comes down to how we choose to perceive and use the paving slabs available to us.

It’s not that there is no meaning, it’s just that the only meaning that can feasibly matter to us is the meaning that we make. And if we don’t accept that, we’re missing out on the opportunity to make a better meaning.