“Whatever human endeavor we choose, as long as we live our truth, it is success.” ~ Kamal Ravikant
I didn’t flinch when I turned 30. I enthusiastically threw myself a party and waved my twenties goodbye like a teenager leaving the nest for college. A decade of poor relationship choices, and 3:00 a.m. breakfasts at diners whose patrons smelled of liquor and dance clubs, had officially made its exit. I was ok with the absence of any bling on my left hand and that I was slowly discovering my true calling. Thrilled by the notion that I could seemingly create a purposeful future, based on the lessons I had endured in my twenties, created a feeling of relief. Amidst the wonder of it all, however, there was one major life choice I was struggling with.
I didn’t want to be a mother.
I feel blessed for a childhood with loving parents. One that suggested that as I enter my thirties now was the time to create the next generation of offspring, to carry on the traditions set forth by my well-intentioned parents. Women are inherently led to believe that a truly meaningful life is met through having children. That regardless of our life path and personal achievements, the fulfillment of raising a family can’t be matched. But my instincts, gut feelings, wherever it is inside us that we interpret as the decision-making force in our lives, was consistently pointing to no. No babies for me.
My thirties did bring the babies. I became an auntie to two beautiful girls, found wedded bliss and became a step mom. I witnessed family, friends, and co-workers get hitched with soon to follow gender reveal parties. I showed up, enjoyed the cake and joined in the excitement. One by one I’d head to the hospital to hold their innocent newborns in my arms while my heart literally exploded with love for all the baby booming around me, as it still does.
When I’d leave the hospital, I’d sit in my car waiting for something inside me to yell “ok, now it’s your turn”. I’d wait for my ovaries to start screaming that time was running out. I tried with fervency to find guilt in the reality that I would not give my nieces any cousins to have sleepovers and build forts with. That I’d be passed up on invites to kid parties since I’d be the girl with no tribe of her own to bring along. I’d even envision the ninety-year-old me, in a nursing home, watching others glow with joy from visits by their great-grandchildren. Still, no lingering regrets washed over me, no feeling that I was making the biggest mistake of my life.
There are moments in our lives when we can’t fully explain a decision, or express why we are swayed one way over another, but at our soul level, we feel compelled to stand in our truth. This idea of standing in your truth began building its own self-efficacy in my mind, and the internal dialogue of judgment turned into radical acceptance of who I was. Honoring any truth inside ourselves is a courageous act.
Clarity can be pure magic. Regardless of the choices we are making, it can become the gateway to self-awareness. When we cannot comprehend why we are making a certain choice, we begin to investigate and go inward. Pulling apart the layers of self-doubt, judgment and our fears is an opportunity for us to get real. Authenticity can take time, and with matters of the heart, it’s essential to not take it lightly.
Motherhood is a magical gift for so many, a self-less act of love that brings fulfillment. The word itself implies strength, understanding, and goodness. These traits live inside all of us at any time. Where we chase them, how we view them and how they are presented to us is interpreted differently. Fulfillment in life is threaded from a weave of self-discovery that has been sewn together based on experiences beyond being a mother. This is the beautiful experience of being human.
The idea that there is only one way to completeness suggests that we are not already complete. Joy and love exist in many forms and examples of these are present all around us in our everyday lives. While I may not fully understand the essence of joy that surrounds the lives of those who are mothers, to diminish the capacity to embrace a life without children is to say joy cannot be met outside of those parameters.
It can be a taboo topic to discuss when a woman has made the decision to not have children. There may, or may not be, speeches from friends, parents or family attempting to persuade others to start a family. I had always been fully supported in my decision and lovingly understood. It was at its best pressure from society at large. Get married, buy the house, have the babies. Decision making from a place that is fully aligned with what our heart says, rather than what society has interpreted as the norm, can be the most eye-opening experience of our lives.
39 with no children of your own means going to the kid parties and never feeling weird about it. It means understanding that our instincts are always preparing us for a life filled with meaningful relationships and opportunities in ways that works uniquely for all of us.
When I am asked if I will ever have children of my own, my response has gone from a timid “don’t judge me” reply, to simply saying no. Sometimes just one word is the biggest truth we can ever tell.