Prior to becoming a lawyer, I didn't give the idea of motherhood much thought. In fact, marriage wasn't even on my radar, and even more removed was the idea of inviting a couple of demanding mini-me's into my life.
All I ever really wanted to do was litigate. I figured that if I had kids, I'd "deal with all that stuff" when the time came. Cross that bridge when I came to it, right? It sounded good at the time.
But I was short sighted. I failed to plan for the possibility that my uterus might actually perform its function, or, at the very least, life might throw me some sort of curve ball.
I spent the first half of my life methodically planning and creating a strong foundation for the first few years of my life as a litigator, but failed to consider that my perspective might change following my marriage to a man diagnosed just three weeks before our wedding with testicular cancer.
Not surprisingly, that diagnosis changed me. It changed everything.
I'd met the man I loved and was going to live happily ever after, as both a lawyer and "wife", much as that term annoyed me. Maybe we'd have kids, too. Who knew?
And then, on that fateful day in April 1998, he was diagnosed with testicular cancer. If he survived, there was a good chance that we would face fertility issues. Fertility issues, of all things, when I wasn't even sure I wanted kids. And, he might die. Although, we were assured, his particular cancer was "quite curable." We were supposed to feel good about that.
I tried to feel hopeful, but found myself sobbing every morning on the way to work as I was stuck in rush hour traffic, seemingly unable to think of nothing else but the horrible cancer in his body that was ruining my marriage before it even began.
I still wonder what the people stuck in the cars next to me must have thought. I was truly a sorry sight during those commutes.
Once at work, I was fine, though. My demanding schedule as an assistant public defender kept my mind more than occupied during the day, for the most part. Although I must admit that on occasion, such as when a client earnestly explained to me that they'd been unable to perform their community service because it had rained on that particular day and they couldn't get their hair wet, I felt like screaming: "Wet hair? This judge is going to re-sentence your earnest ass to jail! Rain? C'mon! Give me something better to work with! Like how about 'My husband has cancer so I couldn't make it to work?' But wait a minute, my husband does have cancer and is puking daily and losing half his weight as we speak, and yet, here I am, at work listening to stupid excuses like yours!"
But, then I'd take a deep breath, count to 10 and try to act like I cared about the client's stupid re-sentencing. Which, I really didn't think was stupid under normal circumstances, but had a hard time feeling otherwise at the time. I suppose it was understandable. But, maybe not. I guess it all depends on your perspective.
Which is kind of where I was planning to go with this post. Perspective.
As you can see, from the title, I'd planned to write about something else entirely, but the issue of life as a lawyer/mom will have to wait for another day, I suppose.
Suffice to say that my husband's cancer diagnosis, and later, a career move that turned out to be incompatible with my particular constitution caused me to one day experience a sudden and unexpected need to leave my genetic footprint on the world. Twice.