Did you grow up wanting to be a mother? I used to think that deep down, every woman felt most fulfilled through motherhood, but I now realize it is some people’s callings and many of us do not feel that way. I respect every woman who is honest with herself, and even more so, those who find joy in the journey, whether it is what you hoped for or not.
I grew up in a home with a mother who started very young- only 20 years old when she welcomed me into the world. She was married and had a husband who tried to be supportive, but it was a constant struggle. They did the best they could, raised our family with lots of love, laughter and tears, and yet for some reason I wanted to grow up and follow in my mother’s footsteps.
My twenties came and went with a 7+ year marriage I thought meant parenthood was joyfully imminent. Instead it was painfully placed at bay, but looking back, I could not be more grateful. I matured, studied child development and parenting for over a decade and had countless opportunities to help parents and children form happier, communicative, calmer homes.
As the next decade of life rolled in, I made a huge shift- let go of the marriage that wasn’t serving either of us, moved across country, switched jobs, made new friends, reconnected with family and passed up the Ph.D. path to find something equally fulfilling and hopefully less stressful. I met my wonderful husband, we went through a lot together in only 2 years, but what gave me peace was seeing that every transition and rough patch, and we’ve been through some doozies, didn’t ruffle our feathers much. We laugh things off, take naps when we need them, give each other space to develop uniquely, and love and make lots of time to be together. I found and invest each day in the relationship I always dreamed of, so naturally, my long-held dream of parenting rekindled.
It seems this earth sign (Taurus) gal just needed a solid foundation for all the ducks to line up in a row. In early December I finished yoga training, then 2 weeks later my husband and I bought a house. Quicker than ever before, I nested into the new haven to welcome guests, host holiday parties, and bring light and love into a space one friend said felt like “a big, warm hug.”
Well, the holiday treats came- and stayed in superfluous left-overs until I had to throw out some of the pie I kept eating for breakfast and thought was making me feel less than great. But feeling “off” continued and was accompanied by waking regularly in the middle of the night-not regular for me, emotional waves of feeling weepy for no reason, and just overall lethargy. My husband didn’t notice the time for my period came and went, without coming. After the roller coaster of last year, I was far from eager to take a pregnancy test. I waited until 40 days without flowing to take it. Lo and behold-it was positive. I had debated for weeks: do I tell my husband if it comes out positive? When? How? With all the cool finesse of Anne Hathaway’s gawky Princess Diaries character, I just left the test on the bathroom sink, knowing it could be 8 hours before my hubby saw it.
30 minutes later he happened to roam in that direction. I just kept folding laundry, nervous, with no idea what he’d say. “So this is a thing?” came wafting from the loo. “I guess so” awkwardly replied. We slowly, cautiously talked, celebrated, and have enjoyed the ever-changing adventure of baby-growing unfold over the past mont and a half.
After telling one of my brothers “the news”, he and I met at a local diner to catch up. It was a heartwarming and dynamic conversation, as I always find our interactions to be, but particularly interesting on this occasion as we discussed parenting. About a year and a half ago, he and his partner became parents- as I see it, very nobly, through first fostering, then eventually adopting a child.
Amid our many conversations topics, he asked me about a desire I’ve always to which he could not relate:
“Why do you want to have a baby?”
I was a little surprised- having considered, but never been asked before. My initial thought was, I just always have. It could be engendered through strong cultural messages I’ve received since birth, or perhaps it is part of my dharma, but motherhood, including growing, birthing and raising children has always been something I’ve desired, with the support of a loving partner- found!
I find it absolutely amazing that my body has the potential to grow another human- if you want a wonderful comedic break to get a mini lecture on the miracle of birthing, check out Jim Gaffigan’s stand up sketch on 4 kids. As I’ve studied over the years about the significance diet, emotions, thoughts, and activity level of a mother can have in the first few months of a yet-to-be-born child’s life, I find it the ultimate, beautiful opportunity to give a human the best possible start to life. Then raising a child- the ultimate social experiment- in challenge, learning about love and selfless giving. I spent 15 years refining my diet, lifestyle, and even relationships to create the best possible incubator for a little one. I’m far from perfect and my activity level since pregnancy commenced has significantly declined (I don’t have the energy, let alone feel well enough to do 10-15 hours of yoga and jog/walk 6-10 miles a week right now). I do the best I can, even when that is just drinking water, eating crackers, and walking my dog halfway down the block daily. I think every parent does the best they can. So today I honor parents, mothers, and every woman – for doing your best, owning who you are, and hopefully finding the love for yourself you absolutely deserve.
And if you, like me, have a little “Snowflake” on the way, I wish you peace, comfort, and joy in the journey as well!