Essay: Creating a Life

Alice Ruvane ’86 is a promotional and education writer and serves on the Editorial Board of The Lyon Review.  This is her first published personal essay.  Alice’s other works can be found online and in a yellowing copy of the New York Times Magazine (letter to the Editor and www.poetsagainstthewar.org, Truth & Justice.) While performing her autobiographical cabaret act in and around NYC, Alice delighted in using words to great effect and applause. Now living in Maine with her husband and dogs, Alice teaches yoga and spends as much time as she can writing anything and everything including her first novel.

Years before the second hand on my biological clock began thrumming like the wings of a thirsty hummingbird, my friend T confided in me that she didn’t want a baby. She whispered her admission late one night over beer and chips.

“I want to experience pregnancy,” she explained, “I just don’t want to be stuck with a baby.”

The Menstrual Cycle and Sperm Factory

The Menstrual Cycle and Sperm Factory

“Oh,” was all I could think to say. While T saw a baby as an unwelcome intrusion into a marriage and career she liked as it was, I saw a baby as the ultimate reward for having pushed hard through school and into life. A baby would give me permission to coo and giggle, to grow up all over again. I woul

d be the parent I always wanted to the child I ached to have. I couldn’t tell T that her assessment of motherhood felt like an assault on my pre-feminist childish dream. Instead I shoved horror down my throat, crunched my judgment into jagged pieces and tried to soften the mixture with swigs of sour beer. T was twenty-eight, married, just a few years older than me. It was her time. I was biding mine, waiting for the pieces of my life to fall into place. I had dreamed of motherhood ever since I was a little girl, but I was still settling into a new marriage. I was playing the part of career-minded college graduate. In sharp contrast to T, I had no real desire to experience pregnancy. I just wanted a baby. The title I coveted was Mother.

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