So, I went to the cinema the other day to watch the film Mary Queen of Scots. Beautiful scenery in the film though the storyline is a little thin. But none the less, In the film, Mary becomes pregnant, of course, as she must have an heir to the crown. After one night of intercourse with her husband, she becomes pregnant. I sat there in the cinema, again thinking "really? That easy?" Okay okay, I get it. It’s a film and the husband isn’t particularly lovingly or kind, so I was happy that Mary didn’t have to go through months or years of intercourse with this guy. But at the same time, I also sat with a feeling that once again the media portrays getting pregnant as an easy and simple task.
Do you remember when we were younger, and discovering sex for the first time? I remember it quite clear. I also remember the worry of being pregnant almost just after one glance at a naked man. All these teenager girls magazines and websites with youngsters asking whether there could be a risk of pregnancy in different scenarios. Do you remember? Today, I laugh, had I known the hard time I would be going through to become pregnant, perhaps I could have relaxed a little more in my teenage body.
Relax, it is the key word here, because there will always be something to worry about, there is always a hurdle just before we can truly relax. But the truth is that there will never be a perfect scenario where we won’t fear anything. There isn’t a place on this earth where we do not need to fill our heads with worry. There are constant times and events in our life, in everybody’s life, when we can choose: Do we close our hearts? Or do we keep them open? There will always be something in life to take our focus to the worst-case scenario. For you now, it might be getting pregnant. And telling yourself that once you are pregnant everything will be just fine. But then you become pregnant and another face of fear presents itself, the fear of losing the child in the first trimester. After a successful first trimester your head will again fill up with fear and worries of the last two trimesters By the time baby reaches this wonderful world, we already fear its death. We went from fearing possibility of life to the possibility of death in just 9 months. There is no end to the worries, the hurdles and the fear in life. Therefore, we must relax now. Seize the moment, the only one you have, right now, to let go and relax. Otherwise, we might never get there. Let’s not wait until tomorrow or when X, Y, Z happened. Do it right now. Relax and keep your heart open.
Now, I just caught myself in saying what so many people have said to me: “just relax about this whole baby thing, and don’t think about it”. It is really easier said than done and for me, it didn’t help. I tried hard not to think about it. Really, it was impossible, and even when I think I succeeded, my body knew that deep inside I was thinking about it and it still affected my moon cycle and sleep. It is the same when people tell me, with their best intention “don’t let the dog know you are scared of it, it can sense it”- I am pretty scared of dogs, particularly the street dogs in India. It is impossible for me to pretend not to be scared, my body knows it before I do. So I try to tell my self that if the dogs are so intuitive and able to smell my fear, perhaps they can also sense that it is nothing personal against them and that I have no intention to harm them? I don’t know, but I hope so, because not being scared, is not an option.
But I can relax while being scared. I can relax in the moment of worrying and guide my thoughts in a positive direction. When I try to suppress my thoughts about becoming pregnant or the same with my fear of dogs, I have no control over those thoughts. It means that they often take the negative direction, imagining the endless journey to pregnancy or the dog attacking me. So what I suggest is to welcome your thoughts about whatever it is that worries you, and begin to change them.
The 90-second rule:
Studies show that we have a certain amount of thoughts a day each lasting 90 seconds. I know it feels that a thought can be longer. Thoughts are 90 second and thoughts-chains can be endless. This means that if you have a thought, that is not benefitting your mood or feelings, let it hang in the air, breathe and after 90 seconds it is gone. When you have thoughts that are happy and encouraging then you can take part in their conversation. Suddenly we are no longer creating fear and worst-case scenarios but rather planning and dreaming of our bright future with our children. Did you notice what happened? Rather than not thinking about becoming pregnant and trying to silence the mind, we do the exact opposite, we welcome the thoughts. That gives is the power and opportunity to nourish those that are good and makes us both happy and hopeful for the future.
Back to this story. I have wanted to have children since I was 18….Will my partner hasn’t. So It took me some years to get him even liking the idea of trying. As a part of my yoga and meditation training, I became aware of the side effects of contraception pills and the way they create an imbalance with hormones and health. I haven’t been taking the pill since 2014. We have also decided not to use any other prevention that messes with my body’s hormones. We have therefore agreed to use cyclic awareness and condoms, which have both worked perfectly for us. In 2017 we stopped using contraception all along, as we both felt that it would be awesome to share this world with a new life, to give space for self-realisation and provide opportunities for more souls to get experiences of life (I think Will had moments of feeling this, though mostly he was sceptical of the whole idea). At this time, as you can probably hear, I was a lot more involved in the project than Will, who didn’t have the same strong urge as I. But none the less, we continued our life without condoms and forgot about cyclic awareness (well, I kept the cyclic awareness in mind as I was hoping to get the right date). I quickly became aware, that getting pregnant, well, it just isn’t about having sex, not just about getting the right day. I think I still lived in the idea that after one month, we would be pregnant, there was no other way it could possibly go? Right?
But nothing happened, not for the 1st month, not the 3rd nor the 12th. So I went to see an Ayurvedic doctor in India for advice on preparing for birth and optimising our fertility. This meeting was in 2018, a year after we began to try. By this time I had become fully aware that, it just isn’t as easy for all to get pregnant as, perhaps, we, at least I, used to think. So when the doctor started going through all the days in a month where we shouldn’t even try to conceive due to the stars and the moon, I saw those few days of fertility getting fewer and began to think of the miracle it really was to become pregnant. People go out in town or to festivals, get wasted and then sometimes come home pregnant?! What?! How is it even possible? Pregnant from a one night stand? It is truly a miracle. What are the chances of that? They are technically very few! There are so many things that have a say: ovulation, of course, current mood and emotions of parents to be, lifestyle, stress levels and now also the moon and the stars? At this point, I felt I was on an impossible mission. I also began to worry and imagine all these horrible things.
As I mentioned earlier, we all worry and have fears. It is a part of our everyday life. A brain is a tool for survival. It isn’t the fault of the brain that it is the first to measure the risks and imagine the worst case scenarios. It is simply a way to move us away from dangerous situations and towards mental and physical health. This time was a rough one, as my brain took me on a spin of my future without children and all my friends around me with lots of children. If you are reading this, I trust that you are not judging me in these thoughts. I am well aware that not being fertile probably isn’t the worse thing people go through in life, and yes adoption is an option (though as a student and a self-employed, I am unsure how easy the adoption-option really is). I know that others, perhaps even you are going through much harder times, and I was at least still able to float on the surface, I didn’t drown. What I am saying though is that this Baby Mission really did affect me, it made me worried and sad. I came to know that the experience of being pregnant, giving space to new life and support this future being in exploring life and itself, was something that was really important to me.
Whenever my period came, I started to feel more and more sad and my hope started to sink. Will, on the other hand, didn’t worry. He was quite happy to trust in the “Divine Plan”. I was not on with the "Divine Plan", I wanted to be able to create and fulfil my own plans.
For me, it is also important to give my mum and dad opportunity to meet and hold the new life that we can make space for. As we age, it is a time where the cycle of life and death becomes very real, and I want to be a part of their acceptance of this fact by bringing them young life that is full of life energy, that which as we grow older, we ourselves slowly run out of.
I did many thoughts about this. Another thought that came to my mind was whether I was being too self-centred and perhaps even a selfish person? Was the urge to have children, really an urge for me to give meaning to my life, and not to theirs? Was it a way to entertain my self? Was it for my own fault and experiences that I wanted children? These questions, I haven’t quite answered yet or figured out but I have come to know that for me, it is important to have a purpose in life before and while having children. Dreams and projects I want to pursue and people I want to be there for. I am not going to give life to MY child, I will give birth to A child. A child that I already have so much love for. I wish to move away from the feeling of ownership of the child and rather ensure I am doing the best I can to set their soul free. I want to make sure I have experiences that can help them in their life, support them, love them, hold them and encourage them, make them feel safe and wished.
During this time many of my friends around me started getting pregnant. I was 25-27 so I guess a time in life where many become pregnant. One after the other they popped the news, Facebook was full of baby scans and excited new parents. At this time, I began to share my wish to get pregnant with my friends. It felt good to talk about the so far unsuccessful mission. One of my friends pointed out that one of our common friends were pregnant and that she was going to be a "young mother", he said it with a judgmental attitude in his voice. Well, I said, she is 28, and so are you. I am not sure we can still call ourselves young in that sense anymore. It is just an odd time after turning 25. I still feel like I look the same way as I did when I was 18. When I see a picture of myself from that time, I come to know, that it is not the case. It is easy to forget that we are no longer under 25. We both laughed after that and he also was reminded that we have, somehow, become older.
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Another thing that happened in this time, when not getting pregnant was that my brain and thoughts came into a very uncomfortable mood of DESERVE and NOT DESERVE. Whenever I saw parents and pregnant women, I came to think that what made them deserve a new life, was what made me not deserve the experience of being pregnant. The thoughts were judgmental towards me and self-blame. I wasn’t good enough to have children. The thoughts hurt, though they encouraged me to make better choices for my body. I began to prepare for pregnancy by implementing things into my way of life that would help my body and mind to prepare. For my body, I began to ensure I got lots of good quality fats and omega3 (through chia seeds and flax oil). I also avoid alcohol and caffeine, soya and too many starches in the diet. I tried to eat more plant-based protein. For my mind, I began reading Julian Pransky’s book Deep Listening. I can highly recommend the book. It helped me to ground and centre myself. I ensured I kept hold of a soft but steady meditation and yoga practice. This helped me to experience my thoughts and fears, rather than identifying with them or allowing myself to believe in them, it worked …most of the time.
When my best friend told me she was three months pregnant after only two months of trying. I cried for the whole day and laid in bed. I was so happy for her and her partner. But I felt so sad at the same time. I also noticed that pregnancy and the ability to predict the future often came hand in hand. It was very common for freshly pregnant or parents to lay a hand on my shoulder and tell me, don’t worry, you will get pregnant soon, then pointing out that I have such a healthy life, it will happen soon they ensured me. However well intended, I just couldn’t believe them.
I connected with a friend who I knew had also been on the Baby Mission for a long time. I felt so alone on this mission. The urge to have a child wasn’t the same for Will and we didn’t benefit much from talking about it. I didn’t share it with my parents, as I didn’t want to disappoint them, and I somewhere inside of me still put all the responsibility on my own shoulders, I was a failure. My pregnant friends made me feel even more alone when saying things like the above or even when trying to mention all the bad things about pregnancy, childbirth and having kids, to make me feel better. But the reality was that I was so excited to feel morning sickness, or to have pain or to hold a crying child, or not to sleep for days. All these things were something that I really had thought of for a long time and I felt ready to handle the challenges. Even a friend pointed out that she’d never seen a negative pregnancy test before. So when I connected with my friend who had been going through the same, it felt so good. We could laugh about it and share what it felt like to go through this. We live apart but we began to send each other long podcast-like messages. It was awesome and we reached some conclusions about how we felt and how to respond to it. I have written it below. Perhaps there are some things that you feel could inspire you on your journey.
I joined an Ayurvedic pregnancy preparation course in DK. Here I also met other women with an urge to get pregnant. It was a wonderful space to be in and it also provided me with some power. At this point, I felt pretty powerless of my future. But through the course, I became an active part in making pregnancy possible. I managed to make a journey to a deeper understanding of myself, my soul and life rather than focusing on just the result. Instead of looking with judgement at other parents and telling myself who deserves and doesn’t, I began to let other's happiness of pregnancy reach my heart. I think I had closed my heart for some time. The book The Untethered Soul by Michael A. Singer taught me to open the heart and the importance of keeping it open. Another friend’s partner shared with me an observation he had had. He said that once one of the girls in the friend group had got pregnant, they all started to get pregnant. Even some who had had difficulties suddenly became pregnant. Perhaps like women synchronise their monocycle, I thought, the same way we influence each other fertility. I opened my heart to everybody’s joy, relaxed and leaned into the pain. This takes me back the beginning of the blog post:
It is with an open heart and nervous hands and I write this.
After a little over two years of trying, I am now 6 weeks pregnant. I feel sick and big and I AM IN LOVE WITH IT! (Not that everybody has to be loving feeling pregnant. It is also another experience to simply observe. However, you are in your pregnancy or will be, just observe it). I am laughing as well, because before I feared that I would never get pregnant. Now I am so scared that I will lose the child in the first trimester. I told my self, once I am pregnant, I can relax. Now I tell myself once I am in the second trimester, then I can relax. But I am sure that after that, something else to worry about will pop up and once the child is born there are endless worries to engage with. I still think that I do not deserve the child and it will probably fail. But then I wait 90 seconds and then I rephrase my sentence to The child deserves life and it will be successful. At the end of the day, how will it benefit me living in fear?
It was a long blog post, and a lot of “I”, “me”, “my” and “mine”. I will go for a bike ride and some fresh air now. Below I have written a few notes, thoughts and ways of perceiving the Baby Mission that helped me. Take what you can use, leave the rest.
I would love to hear from you and how you are experiencing the journey to becoming a mother or a father. You are always welcome to send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Are you a friend of someone going through a long journey to pregnancy? Support them by being there with them in hopeless times. Without promissing them solutions or scenarios, nor feeling a responsibility to solve it, though I know that you as the loving friend you are, want to. But it is so helpful that someone is strong enough to be in the hopelessness with us, that someone wants to be present with us during this time. It really makes a huge difference!