pearls around the neck • 33
When you asked me to write something about “the desire to have a child”, my mouth went dry. It is
still a painful subject to me. During this Christmas celebration season, I have firmly committed myself
to putting my ideas together and I will share the main points of my thoughts hereafter. This is the first
time that I have the confidence to put pen to paper.
Christmas. The birth of baby Jesus.
A special birth? Yes! But isn’t every birth special in it’s own way?
Some births are desired, others are not.
I wasn’t able to understand that before. How could it be possible for a young couple that loved each
other not to consolidate their love through the birth of a child? That could not be right.
And I, who desperately wished for a child.
During the course of life, one marries, creates a family, has children, later becomes a grandparent, and
on and on.
We all believe that this is the normal path of life. Not for everybody.
It is not normal for all of us.
After being wed for more than three years, my first husband and I decided to start our family. It seemed
to have been all perfectly planned, but time went by and nothing, and every month, the cruel waiting.
And years drifted away: one year, two years, three years, the years passed by. Meanwhile there are the
visits to the doctors. Till the verdict comes down: no child for this reason.
The world falls apart. It can’t be possible! Why? Why us? Did we/I do something bad?
Will I never wear that cute pregnancy dress? Will I never hold that tiny hand in my hand while going
for a walk? Will I never pass on the values I received from my family? Will I never see that young man
or young maiden grow and think to myself how much he takes after his father or how much she just
looks like me? Will I never see them study, fall in love, get married and have children? Will I never walk
around –proud as a peacock- with my dearest daughter or my beloved son? Never, ever!
After 30 years, I still have no children of my own.
Fortunately for my second marriage, I have 4 stepdaughters and 8 grand children. Is it the same?
No. Still, I can have a glimpse of what it could have been. My stepdaughters are nice and so are my
grandchildren. I do have the feeling, somehow, of being a grandmother.
But then, it hurts again because they are neither my blood nor my flesh.
I am a happy woman nevertheless and I am grateful to God for giving me a good husband and those
children, who are indeed a blessing.
And yes, it might be how things had to unfold. Who knows?
I may one day discover the secret reason for this destiny.
A letter at Christmas
Author: Huguette Cornillie, Knockke, Belgium, 2011
English translation from Flemish: Catherine Beeckman
Illustration: Catherine Beeckman