One of my favourite blogs to read is Cup Of Jo; Joanna Goddard is a champion of womanhood and love, and I basically want to be her best friend. I came across a piece on it last night, What If You Can’t Have a Baby?, featuring Mara Kofoed talking about her journey from trying desperately hard to have a baby – she did everything she possibly could for ten years – to deciding to stop trying, and instead focus on building a flourishing, happy life without children.
It’s really the life that chose her and her partner Danny, but they fell into it and embraced it. She says: ‘Every ounce of myself is done with pursuing, pursuing, pursuing. It’s like someone has died and instead of dedicating a life to changing what is, we are going to move on and try our very, very best to live the best life that we can.’ We all know that we must to do this to have a shot at being happy – accepting what is, stop chasing what is not. Mara and Danny have both done this, and then some, and you can read about it on their blog About Love. Mara speaks so eloquently on finding wholeness within yourself and it really resonated with me. In fact, she realized without having children what I only could after I had them. You can’t be fulfilled by having a child. That’s your job to do for yourself. Mara says: ‘I realized I was putting pressure on this child to fulfill me, when in reality, it’s my job to find fulfillment, not anyone else.’
It was a huge shock to me when I had a baby that I didn’t feel instantly complete and fulfilled. It took me about five years to get pregnant, and all of that time I put my life on hold with a big ol’ bad attitude of ‘I’ll be happy when I have a baby.’ I was convinced I couldn’t be happy until I had a baby. What a shame, I missed out on a lot of living in those years by steadfastly refusing to accept things as they were. And what a wake-up call, after I was insanely lucky enough to have one son, then another, then another – to realise that it is not my child’s responsibility to bestow happiness upon me. That lesson came pretty quickly after the birth of my first son, but it wasn’t until after my second that the message really hit home: Yo, Jacqueline. You’ve got to make yourself happy. No-one else will. So figure out how to do it, stop looking for an external source, and find it within you. It is the only way. There is no other way. Not money, not status, shopping, shiny things, books, stuff, dinners out, wine, pills, love affairs, not travelling to far-flung fabulous places, not the glorious cuteness of babies and children in their spectacular sweet, sweet innocence, nope – it’s you. It’s inside you. You were born with it.
Don’t get all frustrated and read this like: WHAT the fuck? Happiness is inside yourself? I can’t think of anything more irritating than that, where is my credit card/glass of wine/new dress/thrilling love diversion? That’s what I would have done a few years ago. It’s irritating because it is true, you keep hearing it everywhere because it’s true, you might not even finish reading this post because it is true.
Only YOU can make yourself happy. Then the world opens up, and you see that its stunning gifts are right in front of you. They were there all along.