November 9, 2022

Shame almost Cost Me my Deepest Desire: Motherhood.


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I have spent almost 20 years avoiding pregnancy and motherhood.

Now that I’m actually pregnant at 33, I have had to deprogram and recondition my brain from all the negative thoughts that were implanted from the time I was 13. Allow me to explain.

I was taught almost from the moment I hit puberty to avoid getting “knocked up” (hate that phrase) at all costs. It was possibly the worst, most shameful thing I could do, in my teenage and early 20s brain. Especially when I was dating losers and certainly not future father or co-parenting material. It would be devastating to be in that unthinkable situation. My parents didn’t talk about sex or reproduction, except to remind me that it was bad, bad, bad.

“Make wise choices” tossed at me as I headed out the door for some high school hang-out inferred, “Don’t fuck up your life with an unwanted pregnancy.”

Birth control became my safety net and saving grace. My mom took me to the local clinic immediately upon learning I had sex for the first time. It was mortifying. As long as I took that tiny pill every day, I was being a good girl, at least in my mind. Wouldn’t want to disappoint anyone (hello, early people-pleasing tendencies).

In my 20s, I was reckless and detached about sex; I didn’t respect myself, I always felt like I was doing something wrong (sometimes I really was), and I thought I had the greatest insurance policy ever being on birth control.

Of course, nobody explained to me the risks of suppressing your natural hormones and the long-term effects of taking that magic little pill. So when I came to my senses, grew up a lot, and came off of it a few years ago, I had to recover and reset my entire body to its natural, cyclical state. I actually didn’t notice many adverse effects, but then again, birth control separates and detaches you from connecting to your body’s rhythms. I had been on it since I was 14 so I really had no awareness of what my natural state even was.

Still, I struggled to embody and embrace my femininity. I struggled with feeling sexy and worthy of a thriving, healthy, enjoyable sex life as an adult. Sex was still dirty and wrong, according to my conditioning. Even at 30, in a fully committed and healthy relationship!

It was a nasty secret that, if resulting in a pregnancy, would be the ultimate embarrassment. I felt like a little girl being chastised for eating too many cookies.

Even when people started asking me when I would have a baby, I resisted going down that path. “When I’m good and ready,” I would respond, not knowing if or when that time would ever come.

I felt like a fraud when I thought about someday becoming a mother. To do that would mean that I would need to clear out that old programming and make space for a whole new identity, and that sh*t was terrifying. As much as I wanted my whole life to become a mom, the getting pregnant part scared the crap out of me because I didn’t want to get in trouble.

For me, pregnancy equals bad girl. This good girl would be breaking some unwritten rule about sex and reproduction, and that was just about as bad as breaking my parents’ hearts as a teen.

Ridiculous, right? How’s that for deep-seated inner wounding?

My fiancé and I finally started talking seriously about having a baby a little over a year ago. I hate to admit this, but the scare tactics society uses on women over 30 who are considering having a child had a death grip on me (even though our 30s is becoming the new 20s in terms of when women choose to become pregnant).

I even wrote an article about following your own path and brushing off these kinds of expectations just to further justify my position on this topic. Even though I’m an active, vital woman, I knew I was getting closer to the point where fertility begins to trend downward, and that I also had those years and years of birth control use possibly working against me.

I figured it would likely be difficult to conceive. I had basically poisoned myself daily with synthetic hormones for half my life. Surely it couldn’t be that easy to just make a healthy baby, with no issues, right? I anticipated the worst, just like I had for years trying to avoid it.

As fate would have it, a few months into that ongoing should we/shouldn’t we/are we ready conversation and two pregnancy tests later, we are successfully and definitely pregnant. And I couldn’t be more thrilled or in love with our little growing family. It’s everything I never allowed myself to want.

Now, this is obviously my first rodeo at the mom-to-be thing, so I don’t claim to be all-knowing and all-seeing—far from it. But if I could take a guess at why it happened now, or what stars had to align, or what inner wound had to heal to create this little blessing, I would for sure bank on my inner child—that good little rule-following girl—having been reparented, re-mothered, and released from the hold of her early conditioning.

I’ve been working on healing my mother wound—that inner critic that has whispered to me that I’m shameful, that my best still isn’t enough, that everything I do better be a “wise choice” or it’s a f*ck up.

My high level of perfectionism that manifested as trying to remain a “good girl” and avoid shame kept me in a long inner battle against my deepest desire: to become a mother.

Through a lot of tears, a lot of journaling, processing out loud, and even courses on boundaries and some therapy, I have learned that it’s okay to experience anything that I deeply desire—to desire sex, to want to feel feminine and beautiful, to crave motherhood and parenthood with my partner (even if, and especially if, it looked different from what I had experienced from my own mother/parents).

Spiritually, and emotionally, I cleaned the house and cleared space for this baby to come into my life. The ultimate (and literal) maiden-to-mother journey is unfolding. Becoming pregnant and growing this tiny being inside me has cracked my soul wide open and forced me to finally release the tension and shame that I’ve held inside my own mind and body for so long.

My vision finally feels clear and focused on this special season: a time for growth, healing, and powerful transformation. I still struggle sometimes to untangle my thoughts around whether it’s “okay” to make the choices that I have made…until I remind myself that there is no good or bad girl here.

Nobody is coming to reprimand me or shame me for my journey into motherhood. I give myself permission to be a woman learning to fully embrace her wholly worthy, feminine, natural self.

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