In honor of 3 recent conversations and my official 3-week countdown to the end of summer break, I am posting a series of reflections on thoughts and sentiments shared by friends and loved ones.  

I have spent A LOT of time in school so I have A LOT of classmates and former classmates. Some are memorable, others are not. Few are people I hope to remain in contact with for years to come. They are personal and/or professional allies that stand out when thinking of my journey. I sat down with one such person last week. She is a new mommy – 7 weeks new! And if she wasn’t more stunning before, motherhood looks well on her! She cares for her daughter with such grace and natural ability … it’s almost as if she has done this before! But then I am reminded that no – like me – she has been in school in pursuit of professional advancement so this is her first rodeo as a mommyJ.

Our conversation stands out for me because it was the first time I have spoken with a 7-week old mommy. Sure, I have tons of friends and family members who have had babies and who I have visited shortly thereafter, but no one has talked to me the way she did about being a mom. She shared her simple pleasures, as well as her overflowing and abundant blessings: seeing her daughter smile; having a positive report from the doctor; and watching and accepting all the ways her own body, as well as her daughter’s body has and continues to change. I listened intently as I watched her face glow – it was unlike anything I’d ever experienced! Of the many conversations I have had over lunches, dinners and teas this summer, ours is definitely one I will never forget.

I won’t forget it because of its rawness and realness, but I also know that I won’t forget it because it caused me to reflect even deeper on my own thoughts in re having children. From time to time – sometimes more often than others – I find myself asking do I want to have children. Would we ever make another attempt to conceive birth a child? Or Is adoption okay? Why do I want to have children? Is it the pressures of the world or a true desire of my heart? What will my thoughts be 5 or 10 years from now? Will I ever experience the endearing moments that my friend so lovingly described? If I don’t will it matter? What other forms of love and affection will life bring?

My answers to these questions shift on a regular basis, so I have given myself permission to continue to ask, continue to answer even as those answers change, continue to reflect and continue to honor my journey. Thankful for all the mothers and the myriad of ways that we all mother.