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 changed... 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?