Skip to main content
AcceptanceGrief and LossTransformation

The Courage to Let Go

By April 15, 2013No Comments

“Enough is enough. It’s time to let go,” my body told to me.

A month earlier, I had woken up with the flu. I was nauseous, tired, and had a fever. I was also in the midst of yet another early miscarriage with terrible cramps. Trying to have a baby was taking a huge toll on me. It was becoming clear to me I needed to stop.

I had held onto hope for so long. Even though I was getting older and my window of fertility was closing, I had a dream several years ago that I would have a baby when I was forty-five. On both my mom’s side and my father’s side of the family, there were women who had babies well into their forties. Also, I frequently felt the baby’s spiritual presence with me, and assumed that it would come into life form and be a part of our family. It’s what my heart wanted.

Now at the age of forty-six, the thought of surrendering my dream scared me. What would happen if I stopped trying? I would surely never have a baby. Will I regret not trying harder? Who would take care of me in my aging years if my husband were to die before me? Would I feel like a failure? Deep down, I believed that having a baby would prove that I was acceptable and worthy, a real woman.

My fear of letting go was also equally met with a feeling of relief. Finally, I would be able to get on with my life. I would be able to direct my creative vital energy towards my writing and engaging more with my passions. I would feel more at peace, and be able to enjoy the simple things in life.

I recently attended a lecture by Marianne Williamson, a best-selling author and motivational speaker. She is also a teacher of A Course in Miracles. Marianne spoke about our purpose being about love, and she encouraged us to “step up” in our lives. I walked away feeling inspired. She helped me to see that caring for a baby was only one way of expressing my love. I could direct my love and energy in so many ways, like in my healing work with clients.

As part of the process of saying goodbye, I decided to burn the letter on my altar that I had written to the baby’s Spirit…“Dear baby, I am so excited about the possibility of uniting with you. I have longed to hold you, connect with you, and love you…”

I took several deep breaths before lighting the letter over the fire pit in our back yard.

As the letter turned into gray ash, I was surprised there were no tears. Apparently, I had already done most of my grieving.

Walking back inside the house, I noticed a hawk circling overhead. That’s strange! I don’t normally see hawks around here. It must be a sign. Everything is going to be okay.

Instead of feeling sad, I felt dizzy, as if my world had been turned upside down and I experienced a huge void. I hadn’t realized how much space this “attachment” had taken up in me over the last eleven years. I also felt lost, and questioned my identity and purpose. If I am not meant to be a mother, then who am I? What am I here to do? So much of my identity had been wrapped up in the idea of being a mommy.

I found myself re-evaluating everything. Was I truly happy? What did I want out of life? Where did I want to focus my time and energy? But I also felt like a heavy burden had been lifted. With this new freedom, I could re-invent myself and my life.

Upon reflection, I have come to understand that my deep desire to have a baby was not only about wanting to be a mother, but also about experiencing unconditional love and joy. And, it was up to me to cultivate these feelings within myself all along.

 “We can travel a long way and do many things, but our deepest happiness is not born from accumulating new experiences. It is born from letting go of what is unnecessary, and knowing ourselves to be always at home. “ – Sharon Salzberg

Leave a Reply

Close Menu
Karen Mehringer, MA, MFT - Grief support, counseling and life coaching in Santa Cruz area.