I am a gorgeous, single woman with no children and have never been married. Last year I found myself turning 40.
A few years ago, I spent a lot of time worrying that time was running out – ‘time’ being biological time. It is common knowledge that a woman’s chance of conceiving naturally after 40 is much slimmer than a woman in her 20s or 30s. The idea of turning 40 was D-Day, I figured that 40 was the cut-off mark that would determine if I was destined to be a mother or not.
In my 30s, every time I met a man who could potentially be a partner I would quickly size him up to see if he would be a suitable father or not. Those types of thoughts were always lingering there in the back of my mind, although I dared not admit it to anyone.
I felt an underlying pressure to meet Mr. Right, to have a child and become a mother.
It was as though I had an internal programme running telling me that this was how life was, this is what we do as women and that if this didn’t happen for me, I had failed life as a woman. I often thought: surely it can’t be that difficult, most women around me seem to be able to meet someone, get married, and have children. I questioned what was wrong with me. The closer I got to 40 the more anxious I was that my time was running out.
It’s interesting to reflect that on growing up, I had assumed that I would one day get married and have children. I grew up in a small country town and this was ‘normal’ and what most women did. I never questioned it until later in life. As a young girl I had dreamed of marrying a farmer. I use to love seeing the farmers’ wives coming into town all dressed up to do their shopping. I thought they looked pretty and I wanted to be like them. I guess on a subliminal level this picture had stuck in my head. It wasn’t until my later school years by going to high school in a bigger town that I realised that there was perhaps more to life and more to being a woman than I had initially thought.
However, for most of 20s and 30s, unbeknown to me on a conscious level I had continued to carry around with me this picture of ‘getting married and having children.’ I still held it as the natural and the normal way in which a woman could have a fulfilled life. This was in spite of the fact that my life circumstances had very much changed, career was now important to me, and I was an independent woman of the world.
A couple of years ago, I started to feel differently about this deep-seated belief I held. It wasn’t until this shift had taken place that I became aware of just how much it had been there my whole life. It had been buried for a while, but it hadn’t gone away.
It was like a soft tune that was playing in the background and it wasn’t until it was no longer playing that I noticed that it was there in the first place.
I found these shifts took place after I had started to attend workshops and presentations by Serge Benhayon and Universal Medicine. What was offered in these courses was a different way of living, a way where we self-care, self-nurture and honour ourselves. I began to make simple daily choices that had a big impact on how I felt, such as eating in a way that left me feeling light, going to bed early, expressing more about how I felt and dealing with my issues.
I began to develop a loving connection with my body.
This was a far cry from how I had previously lived, very much stuck in my mind, having spent many years looking outside of myself for fulfillment through travel, relationships and then the spiritual new age movement.
Over time as my connection and relationship with myself deepened, I could see how the idea of having a child was something that I had a picture of that had stemmed from my childhood, thinking that this is what would finally make me feel complete.
I soon realised that the longing to fulfil this was coming from a need because I was feeling empty inside. Nothing up until that date had filled the emptiness: not the travel, any relationship or my spiritual new age pursuits.
Seeing this picture as just that – a picture that I had grown up with – I decided that it was no longer serving me and it was time for it to go. As I allowed myself to feel more and more deeply into this ideal that I was holding, I could see how these frequent thoughts were keeping me disconnected from the loveliness and simplicity of being with my body. They were keeping me in my mind and causing me to feel an ongoing low grade of anxiety.
Around this time, having dedicated myself to feeling and living more from my body, I was beginning to feel pretty awesome within myself, and starting to really enjoy being me. When I pondered whether life would really be any better if I had a child, I soon realised that life would be different, but not necessarily better because the better was reliant on something outside of myself. This was my ‘aha’ moment.
I realised that it didn’t matter if I was to be a mother or not. I would always still be me.
What matters most is how I feel about myself and how I live in my body moment to moment, regardless of my circumstances.
From this realisation, the background noise that had been playing out for such a long time about having a child disappeared. I felt a sense of freedom in my body as I let go of this burden that I had been carrying around with me for most of my 20s and 30s.
In the beginning it almost felt too good to be true, to not have this noise occupying space in my mind and my body. On the rare occasion now when the thoughts enter my mind, I make the commitment to come back to my connection with myself by choosing to move my body gently and feel and appreciate the preciousness and amazingness of me. The thoughts soon subside.
Last year I joyfully turned 40. It was a true celebration of me. I embraced 40 like I never thought I would.
With my new found freedom since letting go of the ideal I was holding of having a child and with my deepening relationship with myself, I now feel completely comfortable with not knowing what the future holds.
As this connection to the beauty that is inside me deepens it develops the foundation for what I now know is me as a woman. This celebration of me is no longer reliant on anything that is outside of myself. Being a woman for me now is not tied up with the ideals of being a mother. Being a woman turning 40 is about celebrating the innate beauty that is inside me… the loveliness and gorgeousness that is inside us all.
By Donna Gianniotis, BA, Diploma Health (Yoga), Yoga/ Esoteric Healing Practitioner, Sydney, Australia
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