A child changes everything - or does it?

A child changes everything – or does it?

When I turned 40 two really significant things happened: 

First, my husband of two years and I decided that it was time to expand our family. Up until that point we both had been open to having children, but none of us was ready to truly commit to parenthood. But now that I had entered my 40s (hello age-related decision-making), it felt like the right time to make a monumental change: we ditched all contraceptives and expected the little one to arrive within the year (it’s still mindboggling to me how naïve we were - it took over four years).

With this decision, the possibility of motherhood became so much more real.

And all of a sudden, motherhood also became a real...threat.

What if all the people who say that “a child changes e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g” were right?

What if the life I had crafted until that point would crumble like last year’s Christmas cake (that we forgot in the pantry) and everything I had worked so hard for – like my career, my identity as a strong and independent woman and my thirst for travel and adventure – would come to a screeching halt?

With the decision of wanting to become a mom, a time of schizophrenia set in for me: I would oscillate between phantasies of snuggling my baby and carrying the little munchkin in a Moby wrap around town, and the much darker phantasies of being stuck at home with an infant, of becoming an unhappy mother because I had to give up my freedom to leave my husband and dog for a few days and travel somewhere for fun every two months or so.

Even though I would outwardly say “Yes, we want to have children” I would inwardly come up with a myriad of reasons why this actually may not be such a good idea after all.

The contradictory thoughts were driving me mad. It was like having one foot on the gas pedal, and the other one on the break.

Maybe you can relate?

In all the years of coaching, I’ve never met a woman who had no doubts or fears about motherhood. None.

Sure, granted, my fears of motherhood were uniquely mine, but I can guarantee you, any woman who has lived a life beyond her early 20s, has asked herself questions like “Will I be a good mom or repeat my parent’s mistakes?”, “Will I be able to still pursue my passion?”, “How can I have a career AND a baby?”,  “Will my relationship with my partner suffer?” (at our age we all know that having a baby to fix an already shaky relationship never works), or “How can I be the primary breadwinner AND a good mom?” or “Will I have to give up XYZ for motherhood?”

If you have contradictory thoughts about motherhood let me assure you, that’s normal for a woman as intelligent and accomplished as you. I’d be worried if it weren’t so.

Just be aware, that the questions you ask yourself and the dialog you have with yourself in the privacy of your own mind, have effects on your body. I recently heard a well-known physician say: “Every cell in your body is listening to your words, whether you say them out loud or in your head. Your DNA is always listening.”

Quick side note: After one year of not offering any 1-1 coaching, I am opening a few spots up again for fertility mindset coaching with me. Check out the details here and email me (bettina @ bettinagordon.comif you want to schedule a talk to see if we are a good fit.)

While I can’t address your specific fears in one blog post, I want to say this to you:

Your child will not change everything. A child changes everything in the day-to-day life logistics, yes, and you will have to plan ahead and negotiate about duties with your partner a lot, and you will have less free time in general, yes, but raising a child doesn’t have to change your whole life or who you are (unless it grows you for the better).

You will not lose yourself in motherhood. After a time of great adjustment (and great joy) you, the real YOU, will still be there. Your dreams won’t be diminished, your internal fire won’t be blown out and your goals won’t have vanished. 

They are all still there. Your soul’s desires are still there waiting for you to find your footing again and bring forth into the world the life YOU seek to live.  

If you want to pursue your passion, you can find ways to do so. If you want to be the primary breadwinner and a mother, you’ll hire help or re-negotiate lifestyles with your partner. If you still want to be free (like me) you can redefine what exactly that means to you and maybe include your child in the freedom you seek.

Remember, our children live with their parents, and not the other way around, ;)

Also, this is the 21st century, not the times of our mothers and grandmothers who did not have our opportunities. Today, we can design a life that's right for us and our families. 

Instead of focusing on lack, let's focus on abundance and possibilities. Instead of getting lost in the details, take the bird's eye view, and look at the bigger picture!

About a year after Hunter’s birth, I realized that my desire to travel and to see new places had not diminished one bit since the boy had come into my life. And I realized that I actually have the “duty” to be true to myself and do the things I so long for – instead of saying "Oh, I can't do that anymore now that I have a child" (and using him as an excuse) and then (subconsciously) taking it out on him when I’d be frustrated and unhappy because I had chosen to be a martyr instead of the lit-up happy mother.

For me, traveling and exploring is my happy place and my way of health care, especially after my cancer diagnosis in 2018. I need to honor the explorer in me and allow her to come forth as often as possible. 

Now I just take Hunter with me (most of the time). We've become really good travel buddies and we cherish our time together, often taking long weekend trips along the Eastern seaboard. This spring we went to stay with the Amish people in Pennsylvania, spent time at the beaches of Delaware, and watched the wild ponies on a small barrier island on the Virginia coast. In the summer we explored Europe and now we just got back from three days in New York City. 

It was one of my biggest fears, that I would have to sacrifice this part of my soul for motherhood. The fear was so strong, it overshadowed my fertility. Subsequently, with all my inner dialogues and unfavorable mindset, my journey toward motherhood took years longer than necessary. But it doesn't have to take unnecessarily long for you. 

If you feel your mindset and emotions might hinder you on your journey, let's talk. For the first time this year, I'm opening a handful of 1-on-1 coaching spots again. You can check out the details here and email me at bettina @ bettinagordon.com to set up a time to speak and see if we're a good fit. 

Finally, I want to leave you with this: Have faith, Faith that it will all work out. Have faith that you deserve the child; that you will work things out with your partner; that you will be able to create the life you want to live. Have faith.

And remember: Once your child is well taken care of you actually have the duty to become the lit-up mom! ❤️

Cheers to you and your happiness,

Bettina

PS: Today I know how much my internal conflicts had influenced my fertility for 3.5 years. That’s why I am opening just a few spots again for my fertility mindset 1-1 coaching. Check it out here and set up a conversation to see if fertility mindset coaching is right for you!

 

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