Over 40, Single and Childless on Mother's Day

My latest post for Huffington Post Women


I want to be a mother.

I know what some of you may say: Have a baby on your own; adopt; foster. And a few of you may say: Sorry, lady, you should have thought of that earlier. You're just too old.

But I want to be a mother.

I want to be a mother to a baby I've given birth to with that infant's father (the man I have yet to find) by my side, holding my hand: "One more push, honey, one more push! You can do it!"

And I did it!

I want to look into my newborn baby's eyes and see my love's eyes. I want to feel that baby on my chest, its heart beating faster than mine, although I can't believe it because I've never been this happy. I've never felt my heart beat this way. I want to look at my husband, and have him look back at me with a knowing smile, to say: We did it!

I want to count her tiny fingers and toes. I want to notice that cowlick on her almost bald, little, precious head I know we'll have trouble dealing with when she gets older. I want to gently touch her cheek with the back on my hand as she sleeps and breathes in my arms. I want to know where those little ears came from and ask my husband if they are from his side of the family.

I want to hold my baby against my bare chest to warm her and calm her as she cries and cries and cries and I know we're disturbing the other new mother in the bed on the other side of the curtain who finally got to sleep. I want to be determined when I have trouble feeding her, and breathe a sigh of relief when it finally works. I want to count her poops and her pees and how long she sleeps.

I want to make sure I have all the things I need. "Did you bring that extra soft blanket my sister-in-law gave us?" I'll ask my husband before we leave the hospital. And he'll say, "Yes, honey, and I just changed her diaper again. Our little bug sure is a good little pisher. And my husband and I will look at each other and smile, knowing how blessed we are that she came, finally, into our lives, little pisher and all."

I want to struggle with her @#$%^&* car seat and then quickly remember how fortunate I am to have to struggle. I want to wake up at 3:00 a.m. to feed her and calm her while my husband sleeps. I want to nudge him at 5:30 a.m. when it's his turn, and remember how cute he looks in his boxers and five o'clock shadow as he gets up to feed her. I love him more than ever, I'll think. I want to feel my belly as I go back to sleep and know it's time to lose it, not wonder if it will ever carry a baby. Ever. Ever in my dreams.

And I want to let my daughter know she's loved. I want to encourage her to be independent and able to make her own decisions, fail and succeed, laugh and cry, inspire and be inspired. I want to watch her dance and sing and play hopscotch. I want to listen to her talk to her first little best friend over the phone and wonder how she grew up so fast.

I want to see her spell her name for the first time, so proud of herself. And then I want to see her spell "I love you" for the first time. And I want to see her spell "Mommy" for the first time. I want her to make a necklace out of wooden beads with the letter beads spelling out her name, front and center.

I want to see my husband grow too, as he realizes how much he loves this child who has hair like his wife and a sense of humor like no one he's ever known. I want to watch him protect her and keep her safe, while pushing her to test her own limits. I want to see the tears in his eyes when she appears in her first ballet dance recital. And I want to watch him shout and clap "Keep going, honey, you've got it! You've got it!" when he lets go and she keeps steady on her first two-wheel bike.

I want to talk about her in bed with my love, so proud of our daughter and of ourselves for believing we could have her, for believing she would come into our lives. I want to kiss my husband and make love to my husband, knowing our little girl is safe and sound in her sweet pink room, her favorite plush keeping her warm and secure as she sleeps.

I want to read a handwritten card that says:

Happy Mother's Day!

I love you, Mommy!

And inside a shoebox her father helped our daughter wrap will be a beaded necklace made from her very favorite colored beads that reads: "Mommy" front and center.

I want to be a mother.

I want a Mother's Day.

I want my dreams to come true, for me, and for the love I don't yet know: the baby girl (or boy!) who will finally bless our lives.

Happy Mother's Day to those who will be celebrated. May you always remember how fortunate you are. And to those of you, like me, who are still waiting for love, I still believe this:

Babies are born from the womb. Maternity is born from the soul. There are many ways to mother. Happy Mother's Day to the other mothers.


Melanie Notkin's second book, Otherhood, lightly based on some of her posts here on Huffington Post Women, will be released in early 2014 by Seal Press and Penguin Canada.

ONE COMMENT ON THIS POST To “Over 40, Single and Childless on Mother's Day”

  1. Shana May 13, 2013 at 12:52 am

    I think you were reading my mind when you wrote this. I too am almost 40, single and childless on Mothers Day but want to be a mother with a husband just as you do too! Thank you for this, I thought I was the only one who is still looking and waiting no matter what age I am to have a child of my own.


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