Yesterday’s spinach story reminded me about how I came have a family.
I moved to Santa Fe with the intention of adopting as a single mother.
Instead, I met my husband within a month of arriving, bought a rambling fixer-upper, brought my adopted baby home, and six weeks after that, was pregnant.
I had asked and asked, as my 40th birthday came and went, that my life be different from the first forty years. I visualized, I took actions, I plumbed my inner depths, and by golly, in over two years, my life turned out to be completely different, and promised to stay that way.
My part was that I was open and asking. I did, I kid you not, visualize the view from the deck of our house. But I was vague about the issue of more than one child. My negative inner voice was in full swing about that. By 42, having watched friends suffer through the misery of fertility treatment, I assumed, without knowing, that I was too old to have babies. I had listened to someone’s gloomy assessment of how difficult and painful pregnancy can be – mind you, she had never been pregnant — but I can still remember how my inner Eeyore latched right on to her assessment, as opposed to all the other happy pregnancies I knew about, and crossed it off the list. (If other people can’t get pregnant in their 40s, then I certainly can’t. And I wouldn’t want to anyway because it’s so awful….)
So, I happily adopted and focused on that. And at 42, with very little on my mind except the chaos of a new non-sleeping baby in the house and my mother’s recent death, I got pregnant. The pregnancy went so smoothly that I literally didn’t notice for the first trimester (how I pulled that off is a story for another day). Thank God for that, because for an older mother, that trimester is the most high-risk time. As soon as I found out, I started fretting. The concept of not worrying, was, of course, out of the question.
Even so, the pregnancy defied all my friend’s gloomy expectations. I loved it. Being pregnant while caring for another infant was no picnic, but except for some emotional ups and downs, some sore feet and restricted breathing in the last few weeks, the pregnancy itself was a warm bath of goodness.
Voila. A life was drastically changed, and changed for good.
This is interesting to pick apart. I certainly visualized, focused, and made an effort, but not everything that came down the pike was what I looked for. I couldn’t have imagined two children and a husband the way they came to me.
And during the process, my inner negative voice was fully at work, influencing my thinking while I hardly realized it. When this inner Eeyore speaks, I’ve noticed, he speaks with complete authority. He doesn’t put forth hesitant possibilities for consideration. He’s got that male “Voice of God” thing: “Don’t get your hopes up, this is how it really is.” And I’ve never really thought about staring this guy down, which he deserves, considering how often he’s been wrong.
I’m not the type for ungrounded optimism either, but it certainly seems a good idea for me to remember this story when I’m feeling untrusting. When I look back at myself during those years, what was missing was trust. Trust that my path would lead to something productive and new, something that I might even like! I doggedly took my steps without a sense of joy.
Once things started changing, I pepped up, but I continue to struggle with an inner gloomy commentary. And I’m seeing that there’s been little for it, even with the big serious issues that came our way. Intense feelings, yes; serious adjustments, yes; gloomy anticipation, no.
Life has hurtled on, with more challenge but also, the enormous pleasure of my girls. It hasn’t been easy, but I forgot to ask for that.
This post is part of a series of posts on trust, based on the 21-Day Salutes originated by blogger Colleen Wainwright. The intention is to write daily to help shift a habit. Originally, she had been told that it takes 21 days of new behavior to change a habit. She has since found out that it is apparently takes much longer. Oh well….