This morning I attended a panel discussion at the Conference on World Affairs at the University of Colorado in Boulder entitled, “Raising This Generations Children.”
Many lovely insights and real life experiences were shared. One particular insight that I feel compelled to explore more in depth was brought forth by panel member Evelyn Resh, a midwife, sexuality counselor and author. I paraphrase her insight:
“Have a kid. What are you waiting for?”
She went on to explain that so many of us wait well into our 30s and 40s to have children. She says that that women in their 20s are better equipped to both perform the physical athletic act of giving birth as well as the stamina and where with all to keep up with children.
Because of my keen interest in women’s issues, childbirth, mothering, spirituality, counseling and creation, I would love to open dialogue around this.
So, let’s start with,
Why do women wait to have children well into their 30s and 40s?
This is what I hear from women about their beliefs around childbearing:
- I’m waiting for The One.
- I’m single, I need a man.
- First I should complete my degree.
- First I should establish my career.
- First I should see the world.
When women tell me that they are waiting for the one, the only and one man who can father her child, I must say that I can understand. I understand that sperm is instrumental in co-creating a child. I understand that society’s “rules” around childbearing require you to think you first need The One. I also understand and can feel your pain around being without a child. I feel your deep desire to mother, for I am also a mother. But let me ask you this, just what if you didn’t wait for The One? What if you said “screw you society” and go ahead and be with child. What if you waited for The One before conceiving, have a child and then find out that he’s not the ONE and become a single mother? My point is, you are in a sense waiting for someone else to fulfill your dream and desire to mother. Why? Can you find a creative solution to fulfill your deep desire?
A woman whom I know, in her early 20s, is enrolled in school. She has shared with me that she feels a deep call and desire to be a mother. In her heart, she knows that the call to motherhood feels right for her. She has also shared with me that she knows she is going against the grain of society because she is choosing to not complete her degree. As she says, “I know I am so young.” She chooses to listen and follow her heart. She is honoring herself and the call to motherhood.
When I was in my mid-20s I felt a call to motherhood as well. I just graduating from engineering school, had taken my first job and was making an excellent salary. I did not enjoy the work that I was doing and had always wanted to be a mother. I love babies! My heart was saying babies, but my head was saying career. At the time, I choose to follow my head – to establish my career. As my readers know, it has been a healing process for me to choose to follow my heart.
Evelyn gave a great example during the panel discussion of seeing the world with children. When her daughter was in junior high, she decided to take her daughter away from school and live in Mexico. The family’s experience of living and functioning in a new culture was her daughter’s education. What an amazing life changing experience for a child! Even though children come into your life, travel is still an option.
Another woman whom I know, in her 40s with a preschooler told me, “I had a child in my 20s and another in my 40s. I enjoyed parenting so much more in my 20s and had so much more energy and excitement for child-raising.” When I asked her why she thought that was she said, “I think it was partially because I was so much closer to my own childhood. I actually wanted to get down on the floor and play with my first daughter.”
So, if you are one who desires to conceive, birth and raise a child but haven’t here are a few steps to take to help you in your path:
- Take an honest look at your present beliefs around childbearing. – Why are you waiting? Are you waiting to accomplish something first? Are you waiting for the one?
- Thoroughly evaluate just how important it is for you to have a child. – Start a journal and write down your thoughts and feelings around becoming a mother.
- Evaluate whether you can change your beliefs in order to give yourself what you desire. Are you willing to follow your heart at the expense of shaking up society?
In a nutshell, I believe that children have so much to teach us about ourselves and our world. If my own children had not come into my life, I’d probably still be stuck. My personal experience was that they have helped me to take a look at some aspects of myself and my life that needed attention and because of that I’m living a more authentic fulfilling life! Children are a blessing and an honor. Honoring the call to motherhood, I believe, is one that requires deep faith and lots of love. May your journey be full of love, light and peace! Let’s shake it up! Let’s follow our hearts!
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