A few days into 2017, I stopped feeling like myself. I found myself crying randomly in the car, and my patience felt paper thin.
My boobs were growing bigger (and more and more sore) by the minute; and I was unusually ravenous. I was waking up at 3am every night, stomach growling.
“Baby, where are you going?” my partner whispered to me in the middle of the night as I crawled out of bed.
“I need to go eat. I’m starving!” I whispered back.
Am I…pregnant? I asked myself. Or is this just my worst case of PMS, like, ever?!
Later that week, I took a test to confirm….
…yes, I was, in fact, pregnant.
We weren’t even trying! I didn’t even know if I could get pregnant! Other people can make babies, but does my body really know how to do THAT?!
My identity, up until that point, had been so pointed towards not being a mother, that I was having a hard time believing that it could even be biologically possible for me.
A couple of weeks after that, I went to the doctor and saw for myself that there was, in fact, a real, live baby growing inside of me….
I’ve been spending the past months processing the miracle that this incredible being found its way inside my body.
Let me explain.
Since my mid-twenties I’ve been in an on-again, off-again relationship with motherhood– mostly because I was in relationships with men who didn’t want to have children, but also because I really value my free spirited lifestyle and at times felt ambiguous about it myself.
In my mind, however, I decided that 38 was my cut-off point. By that year I needed to make a final decision as to whether or not I wanted to have a child.
In early January of last year, a few months after my 38th birthday, I woke to a surprise. The spirit of my child was undoubtedly with me, illuminating the entire bedroom with its radiant spirit. It told me that I was its mother and urged me to leave the relationship I was in (the man I was engaged to at the time didn’t want to have children, and this was always an underlying point of conflict between us).
While I had felt conflicted throughout our relationship as to whether or not I should leave him to become a mother, in that moment, joy and clarity filled me. I felt hope and direction for the first time in a long while. I got out of bed, walked downstairs, sat across from my former partner at the kitchen table, and told him that I was certain. I wanted to be a mother.
We spoke of me packing up my things and moving to California to start over. But, the next day, my courage began to wane as doubts of making such a massive shift crept in. In the weeks that followed, I smoldered in a crucible of uncertainty. Should I stay or should I go? Should I be a mother or continue on the path of a cultural creative?
One morning later that week, I sat on my meditation cushion in front of my altar, crying and pleading to the Divine, and to the spirit of this child who had visited me:
“If I’m supposed to be your mother, please make it clear, without any trace of doubt, that I am supposed to leave this relationship. One way or another, give me a sign so strong that it practically hits me over the head and the choice is radically clear to me. This uncertainty is too painful for me. I can’t live another year, or even another month, in this uncertainty.”
Two weeks later, I received my answer. My former partner told me he had been unfaithful. While shocked, devastated, and heartbroken, I was set free to leave without a trace of regret or “What if’s.”
In the months that followed, as I rode the waves of a grief stronger than I had ever known, I faced the fear of rebuilding my life– with the desire to still have a family–at the age of 38.
When I shared with others what had happened and my desire to still have a family, they all had different responses.
Some suggested I freeze my eggs (an option I researched but decided against because of the cost, the effects it would have on my body and hormones, and because it would signal to my psyche an attitude of fear around my fertility).
Others looked at me with concern (bordering on thinking I was crazy), and others (the ones that I kept in my sphere as supporters) urged me to relax and take my time. I had several more years, until I was 45, they reminded me, and I really shouldn’t worry about it.
I knew these latter supporters were right. And I also remembered the advice that a mentor had shared with me years before when I was grappling with whether or not to become a mother: Children are fate and destiny. If they are meant to come, they will come. You have no control over the matter. If you’re meant to be a mother, you will be. You just need to relax and take your hands off the steering wheel.
Thanks to all of my spiritual practice over the years, and especially my Buddhist studies, I knew in my bones that clinging is the sure path to suffering, while letting go is the sure path to freedom and happiness.
To avoid a life of bitterness and misery, I had to let go of all that I so deeply desired.
Last spring, swaddled in my cocoon of solitary healing and deep introspection, I did a series of rituals– some which were prescribed to me, some which I formulated myself on the new moons– to let go and recreate my life.
I had heart-to-heart conversations with my child, telling it that if I was really supposed to be its mom, it was the child’s responsibility to bring its father to me. I didn’t want to have to feel like I was constantly looking or trying to force or rush something to happen.
I let the child know that I trusted it and would follow its cues, as to the timing and the father, so that I could heal, relax, and enjoy my life.
As part of these rituals, I also had to embrace and accept the possibility that I wouldn’t become a mother– or that I would need to do it in a more unconventional way if too much time passed.
As I entered the online dating scene, I made it a practice to be an advocate for my desires. I was very clear from the start (like…on the first date!), what I was looking for (“I’m interested in finding a life partner and having a child together in the next couple of years”).
I wasn’t interested in even going on a second date with someone who wasn’t on the same page as me; for I didn’t want there to be any chance of ambiguity like I had suffered in my previous relationship.
Then, last August, after a series of disappointing dating experiences, I decided to take a break to focus on myself for a stretch. That very same day, I met Toma on the online dating app Bumble.
We planned to meet up for a drink on Pearl Street when I got out from seeing a dance performance with a girlfriend.
I’d been up since 4am with a flight back to Denver, and meeting someone for drinks at 10pm (my bedtime) felt like a stretch. I reassured myself that I had full permission to leave after five minutes if I wasn’t enjoying myself. And….within the first few minutes of meeting, Toma made me laugh and smile in ways that I hadn’t in a long time; and we ended up staying out until 4am….
In the months that followed, we fell in love and explored what it meant to heal our wounds and to learn to trust another again. Toma’s divorce had finalized the previous January–at the same time my relationship had ended– and we were both nursing broken hearts.
While at times we wished that we had met when we had our lives put back together again, we had the opportunity to see one another at our worsts, and of loving, nurturing, and supporting one another back to wholeness.
One of the things that I love most about Toma is how much he values his family and loves being a father to his four-year-old daughter. It has inspired me deeply to see how he interacts with his little girl–he’s one of the most incredible fathers I’ve ever seen.
In November, we celebrated my 39th birthday together on Thanksgiving:
We happily waved goodbye to 2016 and rang in the New Year together:
And, a week into 2017, we found out we’re pregnant….
While we shared what our aspirations for family were, we weren’t expecting to arrive at those together so quickly!
After the initial shock, and a lot of scrambling to catch up with the timing of the baby’s arrival, we’ve both come to embrace this news, and to celebrate it.
We’re looking forward to welcoming our baby boy into the world this September!
While I was extremely sick throughout my first trimester, I’m now, gratefully, starting to feel like myself again.
For two-and-a-half months, I experienced the worst physical suffering of my life–debilitating nausea and vomiting that kept me glued to the couch and unable to even drink water.
I have so much more to say about my first-trimester experience, as it was one of the darkest periods of my life. I know I’m not alone in this, and, yet, I felt incredibly alone during what everyone told me should be one of the “happiest” times of my life.
My experience was anything but, and I feel concerned that so little is written or spoken about what I know so many other women go through as well. I will share my story and write a lot more about this soon.
While my nausea hasn’t completely lifted (it’s still a million times better than it was), I’m so ready to enjoy and celebrate this pregnancy–both with my growing family and, now, with all of you.
My hope is that my story will remind you that there are a million different ways to live this thing called life.
It’s okay to break away from the conventional script and chart your own path; and, all the while, there’s a larger plan in place for all of us.
Have faith in your journey. Remember that you are more powerful than you could even dream of. Your thoughts, prayers, and desires matter and create your life.
Just don’t forget to let go and enjoy the ride….
As you’re reading this, Toma and I are settling into our new home, which we’re creating together, along with his daughter, my dog Sadie, and our little boy on the way.
While I was packing up my old apartment, I came across one of the rituals I did last March, to call in my apartment after my separation.
As part of the ritual, I wrote on a piece of paper that by the time I moved out of that home, I wanted to have a partner and to be pregnant (I didn’t know at the time of writing that that that I would only be able to sign a one year lease for the apartment that ritual brought me!).
Be careful what you wish for…..
As always, thank you for being part of my journey and for joining me in welcoming this new season of my life.
I’m honored and grateful to tears to have a chance to be the mother to this powerful being growing (and kicking) in my belly.
With love and great joy,