I thrive on change – at least change I can control. The most memorable phases of my life are when I’ve taken the leap and made a drastic change in my life. When I’ve gone off to college. When I quit my job to go full-time in my business. These things feel incredibly empowering because they’ve been a step in the direction of the life I wanted at the time.
But change doesn’t always come with magical feelings of new beginnings. Change is also fear-inducing. Change often comes with unpredictable outcomes. We don’t always know how these changes are going to work out for us.
Deciding to have children is one such change that brings about something totally unexpected. Bear with me here, because this post is relevant whether you are facing this specific decision or not.
We’re expecting our second child and I’ve been reflecting back on my experience with deciding to have a first and my struggle with deciding to have a second. Why are these decisions so tough? It’s because it takes the unknown to a whole new level.
When you’re faced with having your first child, you have no idea what you’re in for. You can only imagine what changes it will bring, but there’s no way to know. And having been there, it looks entirely different than you ever could have imagined.
So when it came to whether or not to have a second child, you can only imagine those fears of the unknown changes it could bring were equally matched, if not exceeding those that came with the first.
So how do we navigate change, especially life decisions that bring about change in our lives?
I’m in an interesting place in life. But that is the nature of life – it always brings about interesting changes.
I have entered an entirely new phase of my life that is resembling so much of the life I have dreamed of. My days look incredibly different than they did three months ago and even just one month ago. I am getting to spend my days doing everything I’ve imagined for the past several years of my life. My days revolve around creating – creating content and putting my message out into the world and making art and honing my artistic voice. I am devoted to a daily journaling and spiritual practice, I am taking care of my physical and mental health, I spend time in my garden and in the kitchen, and I am making space for connection with the people in my life as well as meeting new people.
It feels so incredibly good to have stepped into this life I have envisioned for so long and to know all the incredibly beautiful possibilities that lie ahead.
The thing is – I wasn’t prepared for this. You never know when the life you envision will come full circle and manifest itself. I can look back and see my steady progression over the years that got me here, but did I know when it would arrive? No. I had no idea.
Now I’m settling into this new way of being. While I’m fully appreciative of arriving here, I am having to learn how to be here. When you’ve wanted something for so long, it’s a bit of an adjustment to accept it and start living it. You have to catch up to the magic that life has delivered.
And then here in a few months, everything will change again when we welcome this new child into our lives.
Navigating these life changes hasn’t been easy for me. I’m a recovering control freak. Becoming a mother has really taught me how quickly life can change. Not only does life change overnight when your child is born, but children are always changing and going through different stages. Just when you think you have everything figured out, they change again. There’s very little predictability in life with children.
I’ve also been on the journey to reclaim my feminine energy. We live in a society where masculine energy is favored. When I say feminine vs masculine, these don’t have to do with genders. It’s more our ways of being in the world. It’s also known as yin and yang or being and doing. Masculine is our drive for achievement and feminine is more go with the flow. It’s deeper than that, but that’s what’s relevant here.
We all have both within us, but more value is traditionally given to pursuing and doing. When we are in a better balance, we learn to go with the flow, trust the process, and release control of the outcome while in pursuit of our dreams. It can give you incredible peace of mind and actually feels quite empowering when you don’t have to worry about how every little detail will work out.
There are many things I have learned as I have worked to create the life of my dreams while also letting go of control and going with the flow of life’s changes.
We can’t control everything
I’m a big advocate for taking charge of your life, pursuing your goals and dreams, and creating a life that looks like yours. We have so much more control over our lives than many of us are led to believe, or we have past programming that gets in the way of going after the life we want. We have a lot of control over our lives but we cannot control everything. We can create a vision and work towards it. We can set an intention for our life, but there are so many things outside of our control.
The truth is, we are actually co-creating with the Universe (higher power, spirit, Goddess, Gods, whatever you believe in, or don’t believe in – there are forces outside of us at work). Our desires are meant for us and the Universe conspires to support us in the achievement of our desires, but we can’t know all the ways in which the Universe works. Hence, why my dream life seemingly fell into my lap out of nowhere. I took action that moved me in the direction of my dream life, but the timing was up to the Universe.
Leave space for magic
Because we are co-creating with the Universe and don’t know how or when things will be delivered to us, we need to learn to release control of the outcome and trust in the process. We need to believe that everything will work out as it is meant to. This requires that we remain open and flexible and believe that things can be even better than we imagined. We need to leave space for the magic of life to happen.
This doesn’t only apply to trust in a higher power to support you on your path. It also applies to not having to have everything mapped out. We set an intention for our lives but we don’t have to have a detailed plan. All that is required is we start taking baby steps in the direction of our dreams. Things will continue to grow and evolve.
This is exactly what happened with my business. I knew I wanted to get back to my creativity and doing design work, so I started to offer design. Then I’m like, hey, I could take this to the Internet and serve even more people. Then that online idea morphed into something entirely different when I did the work to return to myself and my original childhood dreams of being a working artist. At the same time, a desire to help women go after the life of their dreams versus what is expected of them was born out of my own struggles with doing what was expected of me versus what I truly desired.
I had no idea that taking the step to start my business would bring me to where I am today. The same is true for each step you take – you don’t know where it will ultimately lead you.
Life is going to change whether you decide or not
Life is never the same. We are constantly going through new phases. Whenever I feel like I’m so far away from the life I dream of and struggle to imagine getting there, I remember that this week is different from the week before, this month different from last, and this year different from the year before. Life isn’t as stagnant as we believe it is, and when we are active participants in the direction of our life, the rate of those changes is even more amplified.
Yet there can be fear around change that can block us from going after what we want. It can be a factor that prevents us from deciding to move, change jobs, start a business, have a baby, etc. Such big life decisions that bring about dramatic changes. But our life is bound to change whether we sit on these decisions or we dare to take the next step in life. The decisions could be something even smaller, but the fear of change is still very real. We might as well go after what we truly want because we can’t prevent change in our lives. We might as well be involved in the change we create in our lives.
Fear-based decision making gets in the way of experiencing life’s beauty
I never wanted children. This was rooted in my own childhood experiences. Once I was engaged to the love of my life, the desire to have children was awoken within me. When we were married, the desire continued to rise but I still wasn’t quite ready. But then when I seriously started to think about it, I grappled with the idea for three whole years. Three years I struggled with the fears of adding children to our life. How it would change our relationship. How I would be able to work and pursue my purpose while also battling concerns about whether I wanted to put them into someone else’s care.
The fear was getting me nowhere. On a whim, I shed those fears and connected to what was in my heart – this was an experience I didn’t want to miss out on. And when I envisioned my life in my 50s and 60s, there were definitely adult children in the picture.
If I continued to let fear guide that decision, I would still be childless.
I’m not gonna lie – parenting has been hard as fuck. It has challenged me to attend to another person when all I want to do is be left alone to my introvert devices. It has hit all those childhood wounds and forced me to work through them. It most definitely has changed our relationship in every way I feared, but it isn’t anything we can’t work through and grow through.
Becoming a mother has made me grow in many ways I never could have otherwise. Doing the work on our marriage has resulted in a stronger marriage. And getting to raise a child in all the ways I needed and wanted as a child, getting to witness her wonder, getting to laugh with her? Those have all been such wonderful experiences worth all the other struggles. Having a child has given us our own family unit in which to enjoy more experiences, build traditions, and experience greater love than I ever could have imagined.
Glennon Doyle Melton describes life as “brutiful”, and that is just what it is. The unexpected things in life can be brutal. Our fears can truly become a reality. But there is also so much beauty to experience, and that beauty is on the other side of fear. When we let fear hold us back, that doesn’t prevent us from experiencing life’s pains, but it certainly prevents us from experiencing its beauty.
These phases of change are some of the most beautiful moments life has to offer. These new phases of life are highly memorable – we won’t ever experience these transitional periods again.
Obviously, rites of passage like getting married and having a child are carried with us, but other moments in life carry a special place in our hearts as well. Whether it’s discovering a spiritual path that feels like home or learning a new skill or hobby that becomes deeply ingrained in our being – these times of learning and experiencing something new are felt more deeply than once they become an integral part of our lives. They carry special meaning at the start. They feel incredibly magical. We can’t replace the feeling of the start of something new. Slow down and appreciate new beginnings.
These are the lessons I take with me as I navigate the current changes in my life and the ones that will certainly come with another baby. I choose to believe that the best will come out of having another child and that the experience will be filled with beauty and wonder. I choose to trust that my business and fulfillment of my purpose will not be hindered, but taken to the next level. I choose to live fully and experience everything that life has to offer me. I choose to believe that I am being guided and supported on my life’s path.
Which will you choose? Will you choose the fear of change and the unknown? Or will you embrace uncertainty to create the life of your dreams and the opportunity to experience the wonder and beauty of your life?