And in the past year, I've learned even more about how there is truly nothing that can't serve as an opportunity for growth. If things get scary, if I lose ground, if things are hard, I can suffer and struggle and feel all the while being in awe of the depth of this existential experience. If I jump in a little too early, I'll just learn how to swim - I mean, I'll have to - it's either learn to swim or drown. I'll figure it out.
So when the same knowing, the same seed planting, started making itself known around the Baby Topic and the Being a Mommy Topic, I found myself surprised at the feelings I was having yet not fully trusting myself. I know in my heart that if I got pregnant this second, J and I would be happy and totally ready (and when I say ready, what I mean is willing, because you are never ready). So why the slight shame in admitting I'm baby-hungry? Why do I feel like maybe I'm wrong in my feelings, that maybe I'm just being impulsive, that I'm not right to want this and want it sooner than later? I know why. It's because this isn't where I thought I would be when I would have a baby. Because this timeline isn't the one I've had written and subconsciously counted on my whole life. That I would have a successful, established career, and that we would have plenty of money before we even went down that road. When I start examining what that looks like and what those fantasies mean, I realize that while, yes, it would be awesome to know we could pick any school to send our kiddo to, that we could travel all the time, have no financial worries in the world, and create the family life that we've dreamed of - I realized that the need wasn't coming from any soul-truth about needing my career in order to be a good mother - but that it was about the illusion that I'd somehow be more worthy and fulfilled and deserving by then. It was really about the shame our society drips around, well, being a mother. Being a girl that wants to be a mom. Not that you see it clearly on the surface, but as a young woman in pursuit of career and creative fulfillment, I feel a sense of shame for also wanting to be a mom. Maybe "shame" is the wrong word; I feel like it's not the "right" or "natural" or "accepted" path. That there is judgement there. Those thoughts that keep pulling me back and make me want to bullet proof the decision, because really, is this really what I could want? Is this okay? Is it okay to not be established in your career and to start a family?
When I shine the light on the hesitation, I see so many lines swirling like smoke in front of mirrors: What if a baby means giving up on my dreams? What if a baby means that I have failed as woman? Can I possibly be creative, ambitious, and progressing while embarking on motherhood? And it basically boils down to: What if a baby means giving up on ME?
And there's the fallacy. There's the lie women have been embedded with for so long. That it's either/or. That you can work for yourself or you can work for a toddler. That you can have a career, and then, only then, will we turn the blind eye while you slump down into mediocre feminism. Because then, you will have earned your femininity - you will have earned your right to make life, to let another being depend on you, to nurture. And, YES, that's what it boils down to. Back to that old fashioned shame around being a woman in her most natural, connected state. Whether it's the period, or pregnancy, we don't want to be "defined" by it but we shouldn't have to deny it. I wrote a paper a few months ago about the connection between feminist ethics and animal exploitation and what I learned in writing it keeps pulling at my pant legs because it is so true: if an act or being reflects the feminine, or the natural (the animal), then it is viewed as less than the "mind". As long as we hold the belief that the body and the mind are separate, we keep the gates open for discrimination and prejudice against the body, the animal, the woman. Without this belief, we would have to view pregnancy and motherhood (and other nurturing, sensitive, relational-dependent roles) as of equal worth to the identity of a "distinguished self" that the workforce encourages.
It's this belief that a career, that being established in a way that makes others view you in an acceptable, respected light, is the only avenue towards creative fulfillment, towards art, spirit and freedom. And I think to believe that is to deny the depth of experience. My journey towards marriage was the most growth-inducing sea I've ever sailed, and it's effects have drastically changed my awareness. I have felt it wash through every canal of my life - my writing, my acting, my self-trust, my self-empowerment, my self-love, and my overall consciousness. I look at becoming a mother as one of the ultimate creative endeavors of my life. One of the greatest adventures, the greatest risks, the greatest call to Vulnerability. In that light, my story has been the opposite of the one told to us time and time again: go to school, get a job, find out "who you are", find a partner, get married, have babies. And holding my story next to the illusions of what "should be" is pointless.
I've decided that I'm letting go. I don't care about the timelines I made up when I was seven because timelines only condone our culture's obsession with the external world and I refuse to be whittled down to a simple perception of others. I don't care what the rest of our culture tries to impose on what I already know and feel in my soul. I realize that the more I stay connected to the core of my essence, to the source of my true spirit, the more opportunities find me, the more trusting I feel, the more willing I feel to make the choice to jump and learn to swim, regardless of if I heard the whistle or not. I'm choosing to embrace the full spectrum of femininity because I know that creativity flourishes alongside existential portals like motherhood, not in spite of them.