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Well this definitely illustrates/parallels my life philosophy, only, reversed. I won't go on the ice for fear of it breaking. And, apparently, I miss out on some great views as a result. :)

I can totally relate to this, I am definitely a leap first, look later kind of person...when I told my mother that I was planning to adopt and she asked me how I thought I was going to do it on my own, I said I didn't know but people do it, so it must be possible, right? If other people do it, I'm sure I can figure it out (and that goes for just about anything in my book, not just single motherhood).

I'm on the border of the lake without taking a step.. knowing that I must decide.. because every day that I don't...it makes it own decision What I do know is that I can't make the decision of motherhood counting on anyone... friends, family or anyone else. At the end of the day, it will be all me. Kind of scary. Specially with our jobs. I work as a TV commercial producer. And don't have that 9-5 job. But I do work a lot from home and have created the life and space for a child... Now I just need to take that step or not... Damn.

Kate-- Or you're smart enough to know when the ice is too thin, and all you're missing is an icy splash! Maybe that's the trick-- knowing when the ice can support you and when it can't...

Liz-- I'm with you. If all these other folks can do it, we certainly can!

Eve-- It's pretty scary, isn't it? Have you gotten in touch with groups like Single Moms by Choice and Choice Moms? There are a lot of "thinkers" involved in both groups, and they might be able to help you make decisions and start developing a support system. (That's why I joined, and though I've only been to one meeting, I found it incredibly helpful and the people were great.) Maybe you just need one more little piece in place before you step out on the ice...

A friend of my sister's offered this True Rule: If you're not sure whether or not to go to law school, don't. If you're not sure whether or not to have a baby, do. That's stuck with me.

By the way, I think becoming a mom feels like stepping out on the ice--and I'm married!

Well, if we all stop and didn't press on because of being scared the human race, as we know it, would be on the list of endangered spices.

Your mom just wants you to have a mate, all moms want that for their children. But once you have a child all that will go away, and she will be first in line to help out.

What am I thinking, I mean "species and not spices". lol!

I read something once that always stuck with me: "When in doubt, always do the more active thing". Life is for living. Don't let fear and doubts hold you back, because you'll never have that time again.

Specific to having kids, I was never really sure, until I married someone who was sure. As I was 40, we had to go through a long, painful experience with infertility. But it eventually worked, and it was the best thing that ever happened to me. Especially when the ice broke, when my husband died unexpectedly when our daughter was 21 months old. I have her, even if I don't have him anymore. And I'm pulling myself out of the freezing cold water slowly, warming myself with our daughter's life spark, the love and support of friends and family, and my own urgent appreciation for living that my husband's death taught me.

I continue to get chills reading this -- both your posts and people's incredibly thoughtful and moving comments.

So many of the times in my life when I probably should have felt like the ice might break - when I got married, had a baby - I was so excited that I was sure I could handle whatever happened. But the first time I faced my own classroom of fourth graders, I was terrified. I had major "imposter syndrome" where I was certain someone would figure out that I wasn't really good enough to be a teacher yet and would out me at any moment. Sometimes I still feel like that when I take on a new school or new grade.

Now we're on the verge of trying for our second child, and this is the one that feels more like I'm on thin ice, probably because now I know what I'm getting myself into! Can I really handle two kids under the age of three? Is now the right time? So many more questions, plus wondering whether I'm a good enough mother to bring another child into the world. I guess it's that old Imposter Syndrome creeping up again.

My inspiring saying is that serenity prayer: accept what I can't change, change what I can, and have the wisdom to know the difference. Having the wisdom to know when the ice is too thin and when I'm just afraid is pretty hard sometimes. Good to have others who can look at the ice with me when I'm teetering.

Boy, did I feel Impostor Syndrome when I started teaching! I was twenty-two, and had some students who were only a couple years younger than me. Yikes. It really is hard to tell, isn't it, when the ice is too thin and when we're being controlled by fear. Thanks for pointing out that the best to figure it out is to bring in friends-- they so often see our lives more clearly than we do!

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  • 'Bass Ackwards and Belly Up' and 'Footfree and Fancyloose' tell the story of four best friends who commit the ultimate suburban sin: putting off college to pursue their dreams.

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    What is Starfish Envy??

    • L.A. 2009. I’m stuck in traffic on the 101 freeway, listening to Isabella Rosselini on NPR. Isabella, for some reason, mentions that starfish are one of those rare species that can reproduce asexually, and I realize that if I could do that, I wouldn't have to worry about finding a boyfriend/husband. I wouldn’t have to internet date! I wouldn't have to figure out if I want to/can/should have a baby/adopt a baby/child on my own. I wouldn't have to stress about things like FSH levels, or weigh my feelings on in vitro versus adoption. I would just have a baby. Thus began my starfish envy.
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