When I was twenty-six, I discovered, quite to my surprise, that I was pregnant.
I panicked because I was not ready to have a baby.
I’d only been married three short months. My new husband and I were still getting to know one another. Were we, as a couple, prepared for a child?
And I certainly didn’t know enough about anything – life, parenting, culture... There was so much more I needed to learn before I could be a mom, wasn’t there?
After spending a few weeks in denial, I quickly moved into anger. How could I have been so stupid? What was I thinking?
From there, I made my way through bargaining: Is there any way I can get out of it? Then to depression: Why me?
Until I finally got to acceptance.
Because despite all of my intellectual rationale, I had always known what would happen. I didn’t have one good reason not to have this baby.
The bottom line: I was scared.
That’s when I realized, ready or not, I was going through with it.
“Okay,” I thought. “Here I go.”
Once I accepted the situation AND got over morning sickness, I began embracing the experience.
It was, after all, a gift!
Having the baby’s energy merged with mine, made me feel high all the time. My memory seemed to burn away and I was in a perpetual happy haze, always enjoying the present moment.
I was also uncharacteristically clairvoyant and often had dreams that would then unfold in real time.
After forty weeks, my baby girl was born in Hong Kong, far away from my parents, aunties, and friends. Even my husband worked all the time.
I didn't know what to do.
Fortunately, she was angelic but her rag doll body petrified me and I was constantly afraid that I’d drop her or trip and fall on top of her. She seemed so fragile and vulnerable.
Things escalated when I began nursing.
Initially, she had trouble “latching on” which sent me into stress mode. What was I doing wrong? Why wouldn’t she eat?
I had a sudden insight, the more tense I was, the more she fussed. She was energetically responding to me!
So I closed my eyes, took a deep breath, and relaxed my entire body. I did it again and low and behold, she started sucking away, happy as can be.
She began to thrive and quickly became the source of joy in my home. In fact, she stole my heart.
I had no idea I was capable of such love. It poured out of me.
That was twenty-one years ago. In fact, my gorgeous girl celebrates her birthday this week. And the blessings she has given me in my life continue to unfold.
Here’s what she’s taught me thus far:
1. Do it Anyway- Ready, Fire, Aim
I didn’t know everything at twenty-six, but I don’t know everything now, either. And part of what I’ve realized is that I never would have felt adequately prepared. It's impossible. So we just have to do it anyway.
There’s also tremendous benefit to learning along the way.
It’s easy for us to underestimate our ability or allow fear in the guise of “I’m not ready” to stand in the way. I cannot imagine my life without this extraordinary presence and I would do it all over again, exactly the same, in a heartbeat.
2. We’re More Ready Than We Think
If you’ve ever struggled with self-doubt than you know this is true. It’s an internal fight. One part of us is cheering, saying, “yes, you can, go for it!” While another voice is saying, “no, not yet, I’m not enough yet.” We have to choose who to listen to.
3. When We Don’t Know, All We Have To Do Is Ask
There I was 10,000 miles away from anyone I knew and what happened? I met a wonderful Danish midwife who counseled me, taught me how to prepare for the delivery and the baby. Then I hired a Filipino Nanny. She’d already raised three of her own children and immediately became like a second mother to mine.
Also, when I relaxed, I allowed myself to open up to my own inner wisdom. That’s how I figured out the nursing dilemma.
4. Trust Yourself, Trust Life
Life is always giving us what we want. Sometimes we just don’t realize it. When we open up to the notion that life supports us, we begin to see all the gifts we are being given to help us grow and evolve.
The more we trust ourselves the more confident we feel that we are making the right decisions in our lives, that we do, indeed, know the answers, and when we don’t, to seek help and guidance. Trust opens us up to live life more fully and joyfully.
5. Loving Someone More Than Myself
Having a child helped me step out of the selfish bubble of being consumed only by me.
Suddenly there was someone who was one hundred percent dependent on me for her very survival. Her needs were more important than my own.
I remember when I made the transition from seeing the world as a daughter to seeing the world through the eyes of a mother. It happened when I was six months pregnant.
I was watching the movie Philadelphia, with Tom Hanks. Towards the end of the film, when he’s dying of AIDS, his mother walks into his hospital room. I burst out crying – not because I identified with him but because I identified with his mother -and the pain of watching your child die.
Mother love opened me up to compassion on a higher level and I am thankful to my girl for that.
6. Understanding And Compassion For My Parents
Having my own child helped me see, admire and respect my parents in a way I never had before. I’d always felt like a victim of their dysfunction and inadequacies. After having a child, I was humbled and realized how very hard the task of raising, caring for and providing is.
And I was filled with gratitude for all they had done for me.
Perhaps life is always giving us exactly what we need, whether we think we are ready or not. Certainly looking back twenty-one years, it’s crystal clear. At the time I certainly didn’t feel ready and yet I was. And look at all I’ve learned!
Have you ever been forced to jump before you felt ready?
Share your story with me! Leave a comment below.