I (Nikki) have to say that I can’t believe we are finally writing this post. For years, I’ve found myself yearning to be able to compose this post, contemplating what we would say and how we would say it…I’ll start with the words I’ve waited so long to utter: I’m PREGNANT!
Before we go further, we want to take this opportunity to acknowledge anyone reading this who would do anything to utter those words themselves. We want you to know that we feel you – we know your pain, your sorrow, your hope, your excitement, your disappointment, your grief and everything in between. But more than any of that – we know your dedication. And we acknowledge your resilience, your courage, and your devotion to your future children who will be SO damn lucky to have you as their mother. We hope you find some meaning/comfort in our words below and don’t hesitate for a second to reach out if you feel called to. And for those reading this who know that uttering those words are no longer possible, we’re deeply sorry that you were unable to fulfil your dream of having children. We can’t begin to know how it feels but we do know that you absolutely embody the quality of ‘mother’ to all those around you, and they are so lucky to have you in their life.
The Lessons Begin – Our Fertility Journey
As you might recall, we decided we were ready to have a baby back in September, 2016. Let us put this period of time into context for you. We yearned for a baby for 4.7 years. Thats 56 months. Or 1703½ days. It’s a heck of a long time. When people around us were falling pregnant, we remember thinking that they hadn’t even MET their partner yet when we started trying! When we first shared our personal journey with our community, we had only been on it for 7 months (and it had felt like AGES). We never in a million years expected it would have taken THIS long! For what it’s worth though, we are SO glad that we found the courage so early on to share our journey publicly as we can’t imagine the potential isolation and shame we would have experienced all this time had we not.
And what a journey it has been… we’ve seen over 20 different professionals and practitioners (from fertility doctors to naturopaths to energy healers). We’ve been on hundreds of supplements and formulas. We’ve had countless tests and procedures. Nikki had laparoscopic surgery to remove Endometriosis (and funnily enough Kevin had sympathy laparoscopic surgery only 6 weeks later to remove appendicitis). We’ve done various assisted reproductive interventions. We’ve also had periods of seeing no-one and taking nothing at all. And then there was the emotional toll. Since we experienced the cycle of hope and disappointment over 50 times, you can imagine all the kinds of emotional spaces we’ve dwelled in along the way – from completely empowered to utterly hopeless and EVERYTHING in between (it’s definitely a dynamic spectrum). But as crazy as this sounds, we wouldn’t take back any of it. We’ve always had this sense that “Nature is intelligent, nature knows best”. That everything was going to work out exactly when and as it was meant to. So we remained committed to our intention of being parents by taking the actions we needed to take, but we also remained committed to our intention of living our best lives by doing the inner growth work we needed to do in order to stay empowered, content, and fulfilled. We can’t even begin to express how grateful we are for all the lessons we have learned along the way which we know will only benefit us as parents (not to mention as human beings). Nikki tried to put this into words in the Ode to my Unborn Children which she wrote last year, if you’d like to get a taste.
The Lessons Continue – Pregnancy Learnings
When the IVF nurse called to inform me (Nikki) of the positive result of my pregnancy blood test, my reply was: “Are you sure”? The previous transfer hadn’t worked and I had braced myself for another disappointment. When she assured me that I was indeed pregnant, I was completely shocked. It felt VERY surreal. And then of course the fear kicked in of “what if I miscarry”. We came to realise that there are always going to be things to worry about and that we should NOT let this worry rob us of feeling happy and excited in the moment. We came to the conclusion that in all these years, we had never crossed this threshold of a positive result so no matter what happened next, this milestone was in and of itself cause for celebration. How many times has your present moment experience been robbed by worry about a future one that might not ever eventuate?
Ten days later, the intense nausea kicked in. In all our years of baby hoping, nothing could have prepared me for the intensity of this feeling. It was far worse than I ever imagined. The horrible sensations were all encompassing and relentless and put simply, I went into ‘survival mode’. In those seven long, intense weeks, I experienced a newfound appreciation for my health and a newfound empathy and respect for those living with chronic pain or suffering a disease. I also experienced a new level of respect for women across all ages. I have come to the conclusion that human beings – and women in particular – are REMARKABLE! Have you found that tough situations in your life have also cultivated a newfound perspective on others / the world?
The most interesting insight of all though, is that in sharing our news with others, they keep commenting on how happy and excited we must feel. But to be perfectly honest, we’re actually not feeling AS excited and happy as we would have expected to be. At first we starting judging ourselves – are we not grateful enough? Yet upon reflection we realised that perhaps it can be attributed to all the inner growth work we have been doing all these years. Early on in our fertility journey, we reflected on how “having a baby had become an external desire that we wished for in an attempt to somehow fulfil something internally within us. It became somewhat akin to wanting a promotion or a brand new car – something that we hoped would bring us joy when we finally got it”. And so we scrutinised this ‘craving-illusion treadmill’ (a concept we explore in our Teacher Training program) and came back to our core belief that children come ‘through us’ not ‘from us’. They are their own unique individuals who are here in this world, like us, to live their own lives at their own will by their own choice. Our role as parents will be to guide, support, and love them unconditionally. As Kahlil Gibran – the author and philosopher – so eloquently puts it, our role as parents is to be “the bows from which our children as living arrows are sent forth“. In Nikki’s Ode to my Unborn Children, she summarised it well in her line: “I’m grateful for their lesson that nothing external from me can make me happy, and that my children’s job will NOT be to fulfil some fantasised ideal of what a ‘perfect life’ should entail”. So perhaps, our current experience of not feeling AS excited and elated as we would have thought is simply evidence that we have really embodied this concept. That we’ve done the inner work to ensure that we are happy and content within ourselves no matter what external circumstance we are faced with. A baby is now just the icing on the cake 😊 Do you find that since embarking on your meditation and inner growth journey, your internal landscape is less heavily swayed by your external circumstances?
The Lessons to Come – Baby & Beyond
And so as the weeks go on, no doubt the lessons will too. And when the baby comes and we embark on the journey of parenthood, we anticipate these lessons to multiply exponentially! This is the constant of life. Challenges continue to come our way and each one breeds an opportunity for introspection, insight, and inner growth. We have found that with our Effortless Meditation practice and inner growth processes to draw on, what starts off as a burden can eventually become a blessing. And we are more inspired than ever to empower others to transform their burdens into blessings as well. Reflecting on your own life, what burdens have become blessings over time? And what current challenges in your life could be used as an opportunity for introspection, insight, and inner growth?