As far back as I can remember, I wanted to have babies. Lots and lots of babies. There is a memory I have from when I was around nine or ten, standing at our front door with my mom, I tell her, “I am going to have four kids by the time I am 25”. I don’t remember exactly what she said, but it was something about waiting until I was in my thirties to decide.
I didn’t want to wait.
Every decision I have ever made up until this point has been centered around one day having babies. I absolutely had to have them. From deciding not to attend college or university when I finished high school, and instead entering a relationship and moving out west, to buying my own house – everything was about having babies.
When I was about twenty-two, laid off from my job in project management, I began searching for careers that I believed would protect me from future layoffs. I had settled between becoming a police officer or an insurance agent. When I presented my idea of becoming a police officer to my then fiance, his response, “If you become a cop we are never having kids…” changed the trajectory of my life. I was so determined to have a family that I instead chose the latter and became an insurance agent. Making this decision, I also chose to continue living a life filled with emotional and mental abuse and unintentionally confirmed the limiting beliefs that I couldn’t do anything on my own and didn’t deserve anything better.
By my twenty-seventh birthday, instead of a celebration with friends, it consisted of a couple bottles of wine, me in the fetal position alone on my living room floor and a tsunami of tears. I was newly single with very few friends, living in a one bedroom apartment. I had no children and no husband. I was working in a career I hated with no clear vision of what my future would be.
I spent the next three years dating and looking for men who could father my children instead of meeting new friends, building real relationships and rebuilding my life. I was obsessed with finding someone who would give me beautiful babies. The longer it took to find someone, the more I panicked and started developing addictions to fill that void. I developed an addiction to working out, partying, drugs, alcohol and if I am honest with myself, the way it felt to be desired and wanted by the men I was spending my time with.
Yet, through all of this, I had this voice in my head constantly whispering to me “you won’t have kids”. Over time this turned into “You can’t have kids”. It became an overwhelming concern that I couldn’t conceive. This fear was magnified after I miscarried at twenty-seven. I started to stress and worry, becoming consumed by the idea I was going to need help getting pregnant. I rushed into buying a house at thirty because I believed time was running out. I started seeing a homeopathic practitioner to help me with my hormones and ensure that I was in optimal balance to conceive. I cut out chemical cleaners and other toxic products and cleaned up my diet all in hopes it would help me get pregnant.
I was chasing this belief like I was running a marathon and yet I never stopped to ask myself why. Why did I want to be a mom so bad? Why was this my only real goal in life? Why was it more important than an education? Why was it worth the emotional and mental abuse for all those years? Why was it worth the stress and anxiety I was putting myself through? Why was it more important than living my own dreams?
About a month ago, a friend I admire was sharing his dream of buying a boat and sailing around the world. In that moment, something like a lightning bolt hit me in the chest.
I realized that I do have other goals and dreams. I wanted to go backpacking through Scotland for a month, maybe longer. Do a road trip to California because I fantasize about being like Cheryl Strayed, the author of Wild, and hiking the P.C.T. I wanted to travel to Europe and smoke some marijuana in Amsterdam before I headed over to Paris to wander the Louvre. I wanted to visit India, and stay in an ashram to participate in a silent retreat. Embracing my inner gypsy, I wanted to road trip across Canada and visit every province of this beautiful, wild country. And travelling the oceans like a Pirate sounded incredibly exhilarating.
Finally, I had to stop and ask myself all of those questions – why did I want kids so badly? The life I fantasize about doesn’t really work out when you have an infant attached to your breasts, or diaper wearing toddlers tagging along – So why was I so willing to give all of that up?
Aside from a long list of answers that weren’t actually my own, there was one I avoided hearing and accepting. At first I told myself that I was simply adopting the stories we are force fed as young girls – that we are supposed to be mommies. But, the hard truth is – I am terrified I am going to be alone. Terrified the voices from my past were right in their prediction that no one would love me. Having my own kid meant I wouldn’t be alone. How could I be? They would be of my blood, from my body – mine to love and to love me in return. That was how it worked, right? They would have to love me and be in my life, right?
It was a sad and painful realization to come to. This is not the reason one should be creating life. The gift of life should be a selfless act of love with the knowledge and understanding that they will be their own person, have their own dreams and will, ultimately – leave one day to explore their world and create their own life.
When I admitted to myself that I might not actually want to have kids, I felt a weight lift from my shoulders and took a breath I didn’t realize I had been holding for decades. Now when I see women with their children, instead of feeling pangs of loneliness and fear, I have been able to appreciate her for the sacrifices she has made for her children. Instead of my eyes filling with tears, my heart fills with joy – for her, for her babies. And I hope her decision wasn’t based out of fear of being alone.
Maybe one day, I will have kids,. Maybe one day I will adopt. Maybe I won’t do either.
Whatever the universe has planned for me, I am surrendering this narrative that I wholeheartedly adopted as truth and am setting my focus on the sights not yet seen. I am learning that I need to love myself first and find companionship within myself before I can expect it from anyone else – least of all expecting it from a child I birth.
Instead of obsessing over nurseries and placenta, I am delving into my business pursuits, focusing on healing myself and setting intentions for sailing coast to coast and traveling over the fields of Scotland.
I am letting go of all the things that I have used as excuses to hold me back out of fear that I will be alone and I am opening myself to a world of endless adventure and a freedom I have not yet known – even though this is more terrifying to me than being alone.
Facing the truth has been one of the most difficult things I have done yet – and I have been through some tough experiences. But it has also been one of the most liberating and nourishing lessons I have been fortunate enough to work through.
I invite you to ask yourself – What do I REALLY want to do with my life?
Now ask yourself – Am I doing it?
It’s time to Face the Truth.