I was a midwife for 11 years before I became a mother. It was not a case of infertility, but one of fear and uncertainty.
Would I be a good mother? Would my marriage survive the stress of parenting? Could I have a baby and continue to be a midwife? Would my husband (an only child) be a good father -- know how to father?
After being childless for so long, we were settling into a pretty self-indulgent existence with plans to retire early and travel the world.
A current of sadness, however, ran through my life. Would I regret our childless life? Would I begin to resent my partner? I was already separating myself emotionally and physically from friends who were having babies. Each time I helped another baby come into the world, I felt my biological clock ticking away. So the decision (if it really was a decision) to have our first child was met with excitement and was followed by a very easy pregnancy.
I had heard war stories of midwives and obstetricians having terrible and complicated births, but I was supported by my husband, my sister and two midwife friends who gently assisted Ella into my waiting arms. My husband turned out to be the best "papa" a child could ask for, and I attribute her musical expertise and mathematics prowess to his patience and careful tutoring.
Ella's birth changed my life in many different ways, and, as she goes off to college, I find I am still changing and adapting to new roles and rules.
I never knew I could love so fiercely and so unconditionally.