Does my dharma include motherhood?

It’s challenging to not compare myself to those around me.

Each time I log onto Facebook, I’m confronted with engagements and babies and promotions and geographical moves and beautiful, wonderful, amazing life milestones.

It’s a blessing and a curse, really.  Of course, I’m thrilled for my friends and family when good news rocks their world.  People should shout from the rooftops — or use social media as that “rooftop” — when they are elated.  It gives us all a reason to smile.  I want good news over bad, even with my not-so-great friends and not-so-great ex-boyfriends.

But on the flip side, some good news often triggers me to regress … to the very dangerous question, “Why is that not happening for me?”

It’s dangerous because this question often sends me on a wave of self-doubt, judgment and criticism.  I know it as soon as I begin riding the wave.  Intellectually, I know that it’s not appropriate.  But once I’m on that surfboard, my emotions take over.  It’s kind of like telling a wave to “hold up” while you’re in the ocean.  It’s not gonna happen.  That wave is going to carry you — and you either ride it out, or tumble into the washing machine.  And speaking from experience, the washing machine is terrifying.  It’s not a place to end up.

My big comparison pang lately has been the babies.  Babies, babies, babies.  All over Facebook.  Some of my friends are on their second or third kid.  I am compelled to filter the feeds for some of these friends, as it’s all I see from them … and it’s been landing me on that surfboard more and more and more.

I never thought I’d be that girl who would silently sigh and begin hearing the tick, tick, tick.  But here I am, at the age of 33, and yes, it’s started.  I am that girl.  Or, more appropriately, that woman.

Just because I want it, however, doesn’t mean it will happen.  Can I accept this scenario?  It’s not as though I’m carving out time to meet that special someone, and I’m certainly not contemplating the whole freezing my eggs or sperm bank approach.  I am a fiercely independent thirty-something who relishes her freedom and moments of solitude.

And therein lies the paradox.  I want something — a relationship and a family — yet I’m not moving mountains to “make” it happen.  Interesting.

But, is this really something that you can force?  When my mother has pointed to my belly and made a frown face (she is post-stroke and doesn’t speak), I’ve told her that I could get pregnant easily, just give me 30 minutes to charm a man at the local bar — which is, of course, disgusting, not to mention just plain selfish.

However, I answer this way to make her laugh, because her very direct reminder makes me sad, like I’m doing something “wrong” with my life.  I’ve found that humor is a good deflect in situations like that.  Humor helps to make people forget the seriousness of their inquiry; unfortunately, the question still resides with the person who’s been asked, and that can be painful.

I remind myself that my life path, my dharma, is unique.  I’ve been a late bloomer in so many ways — getting my first period, experiencing my first kiss, falling in love for the first time, losing my virginity — that perhaps I’m just “late” in this regard, too.  After all, the education I’m receiving by witnessing my close girlfriends and sisters navigate their marriages and first kids is just that: a real education.  Perhaps I’m meant to soak all of this up first, to better prepare me for when my time comes.  If it comes.

I just have to learn to accept that “if.”

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