“At the center of your being you have the answer: You know who you are and you know what you want”~Lao Tzu
This is the story of an unspoken motivation that wasn’t meant to be uttered to anyone.
And then…..it just came out.
I had to tell my boss that I needed time off of work to go through fertility treatment. That’s a real fun conversation to have, (1)-with your boss and (2)-with your MALE boss.
We had a previous conversation about my parental status in which I expressed my contentment with it just being my husband and I. So given my leave of absence request, he naturally wanted to know the new reasoning.
And then he asked the question I wasn’t prepared to answer: “Last time we spoke, you didn’t want to pursue fertility treatment, so what changed“?
In my head I knew what he expected me to say. “Because I NEED a baby.” All while crying of course. “I have to pursue all means necessary to start a family.”
But that’s not what came out. What came out was the truth: “Because I want to make my husband happy.”
GASP. Crap. Why did I say that.
I wasn’t ready to admit that to anyone yet, let alone my freaking manager.
Well I’m sure you can guess what happened next. Intense awkwardness. My boss’s face looked stunned. He didn’t know what to say.
I was mortified. Shame and embarrassment filled my entire body. That is NOT what a woman is supposed to say. Jessica WHERE are your maternal instincts?!
To be honest, I’m really not sure where those damn maternal instincts are! Maybe they are buried under years and years of crap. You know, the LIFE crap that eats away at those soft places in your heart. Maybe I just don’t possess those instincts. Which is perfectly fine by the way.
In either case this maternal instinct had not presented itself, which is why this embarrassing admission occurred.
I walked away that day concerned. And I thought a lot about what I had accidentally said. Society and frankly most therapists would advise that as a strong W.O.M.A.N you should only do what YOU want in this life. That it would never be healthy to pursue something as big as having a baby if your heart’s not in it.
And overall I would agree with that over simplified sentiment.
But sometimes life is a shade of grey, not black and white. And in my life, having a baby was a shade of grey.
You see I am highly indecisive about everything. I am often frozen in fear and ambivalence. Because of this, I have learned to follow my husband’s lead.
Following his lead or anyone else’s for that matter was never an easy thing for me to do.
To paint a picture of how difficult it was for me, please think of a stallion. Then imagine the stallion thrashing violently against her handler because….well…. she is wild.
This was me learning to forgo my indecisiveness in favor of my husbands very decisive nature.
And trusting my husbands decision making skills has really paid off for me frankly. I’ve never been happier or more optimistic for the future. And during the key points in our life, when we made decisions from a place of resolve and strength, it always worked out for the best.
I pursued an MBA with the encouragement of my husband even though I didn’t think I could do it. Well not only did I graduate, but I graduated with honors and scholarships.
With his help, I weaned myself off of all anxiety medication in favor of my own self help routine. At first I did not trust that this was the right decision. I was convinced that I had a “disease” or imbalance that NEEDED medical intervention.
As of today I have been off of my medication for three years and have never felt better.
My decision to dive into fertility treatment was built on a history of TRUST.
Trust that if I conceived, that I would be a good mother. Trust that together, we could bear the stress of parenting. And yes it was a desire to make my husband happy by fulfilling that part of his life.
My husband has sacrificed a lot to be with me. He has proven time and time again how much he loves me.
I wanted to return the favor. I err on the side of a being a selfish partner. And I wanted to unselfishly give to the man who had given me so much.
And that my friends is an unspoken motivation that does not need to be hidden or embarrassed about.