I had that dream again. You know, the one where you and I are parents.

I know you hate that dream. Truthfully, sometimes I hate waking up to it, too. I start talking about how I crave a family and the bottom line is that I know you’re not ready. I know you’re not ready to talk about the tiny feet I can’t wait to grow inside my belly. I know you’re not ready to talk about family vacations and sleepless nights. I know you want a family, but the timing is off. We have no space, no money, and only a quarter of our goals are barely yet accomplished. I know there’s time to wait – until we’re married, until we move out of a one-bedroom apartment on the second floor, until we stop living paycheck to paycheck, until I’ve written that book and you’ve chipped away at the restless dreams that have eaten you alive.

We’ll be parents one day – maybe when I’m 30 and you’re 33. By then, maybe life will be different. Maybe we’ll have the house. Maybe we’ll have paid off credit cards that we casually spent on our careless youth. The baby I so crave to do somersaults in my belly will come to literal fruition and we’ll be happy about it… then. We’ll feel better to have waited, to have given that child his or her best chance at life, with two parents who are finally ready to make the sacrifice.

How It Feels to Want a Baby Even Though You Know You Aren’t Ready Yet

But I keep waking up sad every morning after I have that dream. I wake up to a hollow belly and a hollow heart because I could see his face the night before. I could see your face the night before. I saw your smile, your heart opening to twice the size because for the first time you were incorporating the very kind of love you’ve wrestled with wanting. I saw your face light up in time with mine, your hand caressing me, your life overrun by ten modest toes and matching fingers. I saw how life would be and for one beautiful and blissful moment, somewhere deep inside my subconscious, I was unabashedly happy. And so were you.

Kids will come one day, and my modest, late, twenty-something youth will eventually fade and maybe I’ll be glad to have wasted time on adventurous and outrageous pursuits. A switch has been activated inside me unlike a force I’ve ever come to reckon with. It bursts and tumbles and breaks at the very thought of becoming a parent, of enduring the worry, the pain, the anxiety and the compulsory insanity that comes from loving that child from the beginning until the end of your days. I wear that love, that desire, on my sleeve for the world to see. I wear it like a lovely jacket, enveloping me and covering me in every aspect of my body, feeling its warmth on a bitter evening, giving me strength to endure the storm that I’d be powerless to face without it. This love fuels me,even though it’s just a blimp in a subconscious dream.

And maybe, one day, I plead that fate will intervene.

by Courtney Dercqu