Last night I dreamed of being pregnant.
The setting: a hospital.
The pregnancy: advanced.
The outlook: mixed.
I had a sense of being too old for what lay ahead, while at the same time excited by the prospect of new life.
A colleague I admire, who is probably ten years my senior, was also in the dream, also extremely pregnant. I recognized her pregnancy first, only caught on to mine when the baby kicked me.
I realized I was very close to delivering and began looking for a nurse, to try and get some assistance. I passed a ward of young women in labor, and then a ward of grey-haired women receiving some other sort of treatment and realized I did not belong with either, neither a likely new mother nor an impossibility.
I do find myself in a strange middle place in my life. I recognize that the bulk of my parenting time is over. I feel some freedom in considering what might come next in my career, but I also feel the responsibility of two remaining college educations (plus one final semester for #1 Son). I fantasize about living in a smaller house with more land, and then I feel a pang for even considering leaving the place my children and I have lived longest in any of our lives.
I ponder an exciting possibility for ministry that would be a step away from the conventional track, and I wonder if I don’t owe it to my family to do what will support them most securely?
This is the midlife wilderness of the modern mother, pregnant with her own life but a bit afraid to give it birth.
(Painting by Cindy Sherman.)