At 40 years old I got my period for the first time in 13 years and I declared it to be the best week of my life. But 18 months later I gave birth to a baby girl and that trumps everything.
She is nothing short of a miracle.
I lost my period when I was 27. I was planning a wedding, running marathons and working in Silicon Valley. I shrugged it off to stress. I didn’t miss the monthly cramps, the bloating and the fear of getting pregnant so early in my career. I was in no hurry to get it back.
But a few months turned into years. As my desire to have a family grew, I sought help from every medical professional and healer I could find—gynecologists, endocrinologists, naturopaths, homeopaths, acupuncturists, massage therapists, hypnotherapists, astrologers and Reiki masters. I did everything that was recommended: I gained weight, lost weight, went paleo, went vegan, stopped running, became a yoga teacher, got my chakras in order, cleansed, balanced my thyroid, drank disgusting herbs, took hormone pills, quit my stressful job, and sought counseling.
Still, nothing came.
All tests showed I was “normal.” I was not pre-menopausal. Things looked right, medically. But something wasn’t clicking.
Around my 37th birthday I went to see a highly regarded fertility specialist. She said my pituitary gland was “likely dead”, that I would never menstruate again and that, at my age, I should start in vitro immediately if I wanted to get pregnant. After all, my ovaries were shriveling by the second.
I didn’t go back to that doctor.
I kept living my life. Three more years passed and so did my interest in trying to figure out what was wrong. I was so tired of trying. Still, in general, I felt stuck.
So when an opportunity came up to take a four day course in meditation I thought, why not?
And after that, for twenty minutes, twice a day I would close my eyes and meditated. Simple, but not easy. Sometimes it was dreamy, other times I would just sit there and cry. I often felt like I might drown in my anxiety. But as I stayed with it, my life got better. I started to relax more and push less. I had more energy. And I said no to things that didn’t feel good and yes to things that made me curious and excited and maybe a little scared.
I started letting go.
My intuition got stronger. I began meeting the right people at the right time. I was particularly drawn to a reflexologist, Michele, whom I saw for some general bodywork. After my first session with her I felt different, lighter. She also offered some advice, “You are not bound to anything as it was before. Write yourself a new narrative.” I listened and thought of ways I could apply this to my personal and professional life.
It turns out my body was also listening. Two weeks later I woke up to bright red underwear. My period had returned. I was shocked and elated. I felt like it was my birthday. I also had to remember how to use a tampon.
My cycle lasted a full 5 days and for several months in a row it came back.
But just when I had come to expect my monthly visitor, I didn’t get one. And I was tired. So tired that all I wanted to do was sit on the couch and re-watch the entire series of Mad Men. Michele—whom I continued to see regularly and who had by now become a dear friend—told me my body must be gearing up for something. So I let myself rest. And I continued to meditate.
Surely my period would arrive again, I thought. It was just a little late.
As I was leaving to visit a friend in Iceland I grumbled about how it would probably arrive on the plane. It wasn’t until I was at the airport getting ready to fly home, devouring an entire quart of Icelandic yogurt, when I looked over and saw a baby staring back at me, smiling. I dropped my spoon and wondered, could I be…?
Two home pregnancy tests, a blood test and an ultrasound confirmed it. I was 8 weeks pregnant.
Yes, my body had been gearing up for something.
My husband and I hadn’t been “trying” to get pregnant. After so many years I had little faith in my fertility and didn’t want to set myself up for disappointment. But in the very back of my mind I had kept loose track of when I might possibly be ovulating, just in case.
A healthy pregnancy followed despite me doubting my ability to carry a baby to term. I had to trust my body again. I turned – once again – to my meditation practice. I sat with my feelings and allowed them to move through me and out.
And a month after my 42nd birthday I gave birth to a beautiful and healthy baby girl named Frances. She was two weeks overdue.
After all, after so many years, what’s the rush?
Are you pregnant or new to motherhood?
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