Uncertainty. Not a word, idea, or experience that I enjoy. I am a planner- I like routine, schedules, and to know what’s coming. Those of you who know me well, know that I have been wrestling for several years with the question of whether or not I want to have children. I am at a point in my life where many of my friends and acquaintances have children, many are trying, and some are grieving over infertility or infant loss, including some women who are very central to my personal life. Yet, here I am, unsure if I even want to walk down that road.
There have been times when I’ve felt certain, but at this point I do not feel certain enough to make the leap into parenthood (or even an attempt at parenthood). At age 31, I want to know what decision is right for me, and I want to know right now! But…I have to take a step back and be okay with uncertainty. What does that mean for me?
It means that I don’t have to think about it much right now. It means that I focus on other things, such as my life as a pastor, my marriage, my relationships with family and friends. It means that the questions that I get about whether or not we will have children are just that: questions that do not and should not have an impact on any future decisions. Uncertainty means that I can take one day at a time, and being okay with simply not knowing right now.
When it comes to motherhood, I look at my life as a clergy woman and think, “How on earth do people do this?” and in my most honest moments, “Why would anyone want to?” I admire my female clergy colleagues who seem to take on clergyhood and motherhood and do it well. I listen to challenges that clergy women face when dealing with issues of parenthood. I wonder if I could manage these situations and live up to these challenges just as well.
I also see other doors opening and opportunities in my life that have nothing to do with having children (more education, travel, ministry opportunities), and I get excited about walking through them with confidence, ready to face the unknown. Yet children and parenthood remain a mystery to me- like a blurred path or image when I look at my future.
So for now, uncertainty will have to do. Maybe that’s the key- to just be okay with not knowing.