I was catching up with my friend, Kim, via Facebook messenger when the words come across my screen I’m pregnant.
A flush of emotion spread through my body, a familiar combination of fear and jealousy.
My very next thought was, that’s it, I’m the only one left!, and my brain quickly started collecting evidence by compiling a list of everyone I know that is pregnant or has recently had a baby. It was a long list. I decided very quickly that I was the only childless person I knew.
Of course, that’s ridiculous but that’s what happens when I feed the fear… my mind contracts and becomes fixated, my heart tightens to protect me and I become dramatic (or, Dramashlie, as Adrian teasingly calls me).
You see, this weird thing starts to happen when you get into your thirties, and it only intensifies when you hit thirty-five, the official crossing point into late thirties territory. You watch as a door that was once wide open before you starts to slowly close and there is the very real understanding that once it does, it will never open again.
And it has the potential to evoke panic.
I want to have a family and I’m afraid the door of my opportunity is going to close and I’ll be locked out of what I imagine to be one of the greatest experiences in this human life.
Sometimes when this fear strikes, my mind becomes fixated and I start doing the math. I calculate how many more months I have before I turn forty because forty is the moment when the door slams shut. (I know this isn’t the absolute truth but it’s hard to convince my fear of this). Then I play out worse case scenarios about how long it might take us to get pregnant once we start to try … If we started trying a year from now and if it took us two years to get pregnant, I would be having a baby at the end of 2018. I would be 39 1/2 years old (part of the weirdness is reverting back to counting your age in half years). That could work. That’s possible. And I breathe a momentary sigh of relief.
It’s crazy making. Really.
“When desire or any object draws our attention in the mind, it is so seductive, so magnetic, that the awareness, the spaciousness of the natural mind, closes around it. The experience of the mind losing its inherent spaciousness is called suffering.” -Stephen Levine
That is what happens to me. My mind closes around the fear and I suffer.
And then, by some sort of miracle, I notice that I am suffering and begin to wake up. I take a step back to observe my fear and allow it to show me my edges.
I take a deep breath, bring awareness to my body and feel my feet pressing into the ground. I breathe again.
I question my thoughts. Is it true that I’m the only one left? Is it true that I may never have a family? Is it possible that I will?
I settle into what I know. The future is unknowable. There are many things beyond my control. No amount of worry will change what is meant to be.
I remind myself to do what I know to do. Feel the fear, allow yourself to feel the jealousy, experience it all and keep your heart open.
I believe I am here to learn the lessons my soul most needs to learn and ultimately, it is all about opening my heart to life and moving towards love. I have faith that everything (all of life) is happening for me and is in service of fulfilling that purpose. All things work out for the highest good.
What, then, is there to fear?