Many women know before they ever have their first child, how many children they want, or how many they plan to have.
Many others feel most comfortable leaving this open to whatever they feel God/Source/The Divine has in mind for them.
Some, like me, think they know exactly how many children they want - and then change their minds along the way - several times!
I am an only child, and I loved it that way, growing up.
I initially thought I didn't want kids at all. Then, at age 18, I had my firstborn, and thought I was done.
One baby seemed to be a handful for my older, financially stable parents - so I figured, surely, I was already in over my head.
If I could have gotten a tubal ligation at that point, I really might have done so...but gosh, what a different life I'd be leading, and what a different ‘me’ there would be.
At risk of sounding too romantic - (or too logical? Take your pick) - I believe that having and raising children profoundly shapes and defines you, not only as a a parent, but as a person.
From pregnancy and birth to the teen years and beyond, the relationships you form and develop with your children are some of the most powerful and potentially transformative bonds known to humankind.
Motherhood can be the most intense personal growth journey of our lives - yet we don't even realize what we're embarking upon when we commit to it.
One thing that many women are not prepared for is the strange and powerful mix of emotions that may surface, often unexpectedly, when we decide not to have any more children.
No matter how logical or sound our reasoning, no matter how much we may be SURE about it - it's actually very common to have strong and complicated if not heart-wrenching feelings about ‘being done’.
Many times, for a wide variance of reasons, women may feel they didn't have much of a choice. Perhaps health complications preclude them from handling another pregnancy well, or maybe experiencing secondary infertility.
From finances to career plans, relationships and so much more - we may feel boxed in by circumstances largely beyond our control.
Or, perhaps the choice to be done is very much welcomed, preferred, well-thought-out and anticipated gladly.
Either way, there may be the faintest twinge of "wait....not yet...." or "what if....." in the back of your mind once the decision is made!
For example - if you would have told me, after my first baby was born, that I would go on to have FOUR more, I would have told you you were nuts. Absolutely bonkers.
I really didn't like being pregnant, and I was more than a little afraid about how I would ever be able to handle one MORE child - whether it was the second one or the fifth.
I even tried to get a tubal ligation after my fourth baby - and I do mean I tried!
I felt like the whole universe was conspiring against me to not get that procedure done...and in the end, I decided it must be happening that way for a reason.
The hospital lost my records, un-scheduled my appointment, told me my insurance was the "wrong sort", gave me the run-around repeatedly, etc.
At the time I was really frustrated and angry, because I really wanted to BE DONE.
Of course, about a year later, I found mySelf pregnant one more time....and it was, emotionally, my roughest pregnancy of all.
At that point, I was desperate for anything that would help me to get through the day-to-day, let alone look toward the future - and that's when I was so blessed to really discover the healing power and potential of the Bach flower essences.
I highly recommend them for anyone going through emotional trauma or hardship.
Of course, NOW - I couldn't imagine not having my fifth child - nor the amazing experience that was his birth.
Incredible, how that all unfolded, when I think back on it. Each one of my children are unique, incredible beings, and I feel so grateful to be able to collaborate with them in this splendid game of life, love, and living!
Sometimes you hear that you'll "just know it" when you're DONE.
Your family will feel complete. Whether that's after a gaggle of children or just one, you will have an intuitive, deep awareness that That's All For Me!
Regardless of social pressures or expectations, you will feel guided to follow your heart and do so joyfully, without regret.
For other women, there may be a feeling of sadness that comes with the decision to be done.
In my case, the decision to be done also involved a physical change - getting a tubal ligation.
Physically, I am not that aware of any major changes - yet, I am well aware that not all women are so fortunate after such a procedure.
My body still mostly behaves the same as it did when I held fertile ground for new life to spark into existence....yet somehow, deep down in the corners of my mind...
This is raw, vulnerable, and utterly nonsensical - but:
For me, right now - the awareness that I no longer can conceive a child... sometimes... just sometimes... registers as a little painful.
I know that it's illogical - but so many feelings do defy logic, yet still need to be FELT.
I know my family is complete. Yet still....especially when I was still recently postpartum and hormonal, I unearthed feelings that told me there once was a concept of wholeness or integrity about my human body, imperfect as it is....but now that's been forever modified.
Not only the natural dynamics that come into play between the biological and energetic shifting from Maiden to Mother...
For, those changes, I can embrace more easily than an impersonal medical procedure - designed to thwart nature from expressing its divine creative force through me.
It is very common for mothers to struggle with accepting the physical changes that pregnancy and childbirth bring.
It can be a long and bumpy road from the cultural messages defining the female body to a mental and emotional place where you feel comfortable and at peace with your physical form - "tiger stripes" and all.
Interestingly, the shifting aesthetic of my five-times-post-childbirth body did not impact my self-esteem as much as the loss of my fertility.
- even though it was voluntary -
and even though it was a visually and physically imperceptible change.
I am spilling over with gratitude and love for the family I have, and I do not have any regrets...
I must not deny, suppress, or banish my feelings, or pretend they're not there.
They are valid, however illogical, messy, complex or confusing to anyone in our lives...including ourSelves.
A truly peaceful existence is one in which all parts of ourSelves are integrated, acknowledged, and held without judgment, fear or shame.
Simply allowing ourSelves to slip beneath the surface of our socially conditioned personas and wholly FEEL the truth of our emotions is an excellent way to integrate those parts of us that don't "make sense", that confuse us, or perhaps even make us afraid.
Meditation is an excellent way to try this.
It doesn't have to be anything fancy - simply sitting outside and listening to the birds sing or the breeze blowing thru a lovely windchime for ten minutes with the intention to clear your mind is enough.
Many people seem almost afraid of unearthing their true feelings - even to themSelves, in the sanctity of their own mind.
Make no mistake - this sort of self-denial and repression is deeply unhealthy, and can cause severe damage to one's body and mind in the long run. It's vitally important to understand that we don't have to act upon any feeling if we choose not to.
Choice and clarity are key.
The simple act of acknowledging our feelings - sitting in the presence of the whole truth of ourSelf, in all its incongruent, splotchy glory - is deeply impactful, positive, and healing.
Sometimes the most profound, vast changes can happen in the space inside our own minds - and often, those are the ones that matter most.
Courses | Services | Consults: RethinkBirth.com
more on CONSCIOUS PREGNANCY
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helping your child prepare for a new baby
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