Having a child was my heart's desire for a long time. My desire was so strong that I left a marriage to pursue it. I thought the marriage was a strong yes for having a family, but it turned out to be a someday-maybe. We talked about having kids before we were married, and we were on the same page. Things changed.
Things change... but my desire for a baby did not. I once read somewhere about how, when the proverbial biological clock kicks in, it's like a woman's ovaries weep. This description absolutely nails my experience. Pure poetry. Yes, my ovaries wept. And wept and wept and wept with each cycle.
I got pregnant — a very purposeful act — soon after I left my marriage. A first-trimester miscarriage sent me into a tailspin of grief that took me years to shake. My ovaries wept because, apparently, that's what they do when you're in your thirties wanting a child. They wept doubly hard for the loss of the pregnancy. And though I was the one to leave the marriage, I wept for that, too.
For many years afterward, I looked for a mate. I dated. I thought about having a baby on my own. I had relationships. I returned over and over to one particular relationship — one that, while ultimately untenable, gave me lots of opportunities for growth.
Soon before I met the man who would become my baby's father, I had a pivotal dream. (My dreams are an integral part of my inner guidance system.) In the dream, I was visited by two manatees — a mother and her child. The mother manatee swam up to me and bit my hand — not hard, just enough to get my attention. She wanted to know if I was going to follow her into the water or if I was just going to hang out at the edge of it.
Yes, I had left the childless marriage. Yes, I had even gotten pregnant. Yes, I was actively looking for a partner. But my dream was telling me, at the subconscious level, I was still holding back from taking the plunge into motherhood.
I'd done a lot of work over the years unpacking what it means to be a mother, looking at my fears and my doubts. Manatee didn't care about any of this; she was inviting me to pursue the path I had already chosen for myself. She wasn't telling me how being a parent is difficult or rewarding. She just met me, mammal to mammal: are you doing this or what?
As of this writing, my child is five years old. Yes, mother manatee, I am doing this.
I am grateful for the many years that intervened between my daughter's birth and my first irrevocable stand for having a child. Though the tears I shed during that time could fill an ocean, I learned a lot about myself and am a better mother for it. Perhaps I needed that ocean of tears to help me connect with my inner manatee or, should I say, my own hu-manity.
I invite you to look deeply into your own heart.
Is there a burning desire — not a passing whim, mind you, but a heartfelt desire — you'd like to say yes to but you're holding back? Have you already set something in motion that you wished for but you're still half standing on the sideline?
Say yes to what you're a yes to.