I had a wish to have a child. I was married and went through 4 years of infertility. The fertility clinic, the naturopath, the acupuncturist, the doctors, the tests, the miscarriage, the anguish, the tears. How many times did I ask myself when will I become a mother?
I was struggling in my marriage and super depressed about not conceiving. I found a spiritual coach who started to help me get in touch with my intuition again. I had a very strong dream about a week after my first session where I woke up with a voice in my head screaming,
“Get Them Out!!”
I sat bolt upright and jumped out of bed. ( I am not a morning person, and I used to always stay in bed until the last possible second before having to get ready to go to work.) It was 5 am and the house was quiet. I dug through some papers I had at my desk and found this teeth chart a holistic dentist had given me that showed I had infections around my teeth implants. He had told me that I should take care of other things and then those would probably be fine, but now with this dream in my mind, I was obsessed with getting my titanium teeth implants taken out.
I went through a ton of dentists and oral surgeons trying to find someone who removed teeth implants and finally in exasperation went back to my next session of coaching and told him that I was frustrated as I thought this is what I needed to do, but no one I called said they would do the procedure. He had another client who had gone to a holistic dentist that was also an oral surgeon and he gave me a business card. As I started to get my health back on track and my dental work taken care of, my marriage fell apart.
I was sitting one day in our huge half-empty house that we were about to sell, reading the book The Secret and visualizing what I wanted in my life. I drew a circle metaphorically around me on the carpet in the empty room that was meant to be for our future baby. I wanted to see who my child would be or how I would get there. I had a vision of a friend of mine, Greg stepping into that circle and I saw a little boy also as a toddler running up to me. This little boy soul was watching over me and waiting for the right circumstances to come into this world with me.
I got used to talking to this soul that would be my child. I told him he should help me choose the one to be his father.
At that time, I thought maybe that father would be my friend, Greg.
One summer a few years later, I was working in my own business as a private lesson teacher and many of my students were on vacation, so I had more time to think and reflect and be creative. I am a volunteer minister with my church, Community of Christ and I used to rotate with others in our local congregation to give sermons. My assignment of scripture that time was the story of Peter and Jesus found in
Matthew 14:25–33 (NIV).
(It’s the story of the disciples of Jesus seeing him walk on water.)
Shortly before dawn, Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear. But Jesus immediately said to them:
“Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
“Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”
“Come,” he said.
Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”
Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”
And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”
The boat is a metaphor for getting out of our comfort zone and going after our dreams. It symbolizes having the courage to take a risk and step out in faith, but also the idea that if we do start to falter, that Jesus will be there to help pick us up when we fall.
Some people listen to this story and criticize Peter for doubting and therefore causing him to sink. But, what about all the disciples that never stepped out of the boat and never took a risk? Peter did take a risk, to do something that seemed impossible.
As I was thinking about this boat story and also thinking about the soul that would someday be my child, I created a watercolor painting. In the painting, I visualized the child being in this boat that was coming toward me, but I didn’t actually paint a child there because I wanted the boat to represent anything you dream about. I titled the painting, “The boat that brings your dreams into reality”. As one of my best friends pointed out, there are some choppy waters in that painting. There was a lot I had to go through to get to that child.
After painting the picture, I heard of a song contest on the local Christian radio station and decided I wanted to enter, but I didn’t have a band to back me up. I figured I could use all my instruments in a multi-track recording to be my own band.
I wrote a song using this same story about Peter and walking on water.
The 3rd verse is: When in the storms of life we are tossed about and the trials we face make us start to doubt. With his faith in us, he calls us on. So, as he calls us to walk on the water and we’re afraid we cry out, “Lord, save me now! Will you hold me up if I start to falter?”
He smiles and says, “Come, out on the water. Get out of your boat and into the sea.” And Jesus says “Come, out on the water. Get out of your boat and set your soul free.”
In one weekend, I wrote the song and recorded six tracks for it with violin, cello, percussion, and three-part singing. My song didn’t win any awards with the radio station, but it caused some powerful vibrational shifts within me.
I now felt healthy, but I didn’t have a partner and I didn’t know how this child would come to me. As the years of being single kept going, I decided that I had waited long enough for a baby. I was done waiting for the right guy and ready to start the process of becoming a single mom by choice. My friend Greg and I had danced around dating, but it wasn’t the right match. However, he was the one I turned to first to ask if he would be a known sperm donor for my single mom plan. I remembered the dream I had of him being the father of my child and at the time that we talked it through, it seemed like the right direction to go in. We drew up paperwork for a known donor agreement and we made plans to meet up when my next ovulation happened and I was back in the country. (When we started the planning process I was still living in India but preparing to move back to the US.)
While I was in Chicago to visit Greg, I was chatting with Mattias online- who I met several years before on travels to Sweden. I told him my dream of having a child and he suddenly showed more interest in me and we started to skype and get to know each other better.
As we started dating and talked more about kids, Mattias told me he had the strong feeling he would have a girl someday. I thought maybe this little boy I dreamed about wouldn’t come to me after all. But, I was ready to accept any special child in my life and family. I thought I had to give up my very specific dream of this boy soul, but I would still have a child.
Once you go through divorce, you find strength and depths inside of you that you didn’t know were there before.
For me planning to be a single mom by choice was another bold decision. It meant I was going to say to the world that I didn’t need a man to be happy. That I could take care of myself and that I could go after my dreams in a non-traditional way.
I was bucking the trend of thinking of the man as the provider and the woman as the nurturer. I could provide for my family and be a nurturing mother. I was determined to write my own destiny.
So, I hesitated a bit on getting closer to Mattias, partly because my dream was so strong and I didn’t want to get sidetracked with a wrong relationship once again. I was house sharing with my friend, Natalie and I remember telling her I was excited about getting to know Mattias better and it seemed like maybe this was progressing in a good way, but that I didn’t want to get my hopes up because I had been so disappointed on many other occasions.
I remember her telling me “Leah, It’s OK to get your hopes up! Now’s the time to dream.”
Sometimes those conversations with people are God’s way of nudging you forward when you are scared.
And I felt a voice telling me, “Let go of your expectations and something better will come.”
Oh — giving up control? That is so HARD!
Once we made a decision to start dating, Mattias asked me to put my single mom plans on hold until we could be together. We actually agreed to parent together before we agreed to be long-term partners through marriage. Because the foundation of our relationship was this shared vision of having a child.
I found a job and moved to Sweden 7 months after we agreed to date officially. Once I moved to Sweden, a few months went by with no pregnancy. I thought I was healthy, but all my fears from before returned. And I started to doubt if this was ever going to happen.
I decided I needed to have some other options, so I looked into the fertility clinics in Stockholm and the clinic that was part of the national healthcare system said they wouldn’t even do testing because I was too old and I discovered that in Sweden you are not allowed to apply for adoption of a newborn after the age of 42. (And my 43rd birthday was coming up.)
I still figured having fertility tests done for both of us was a good idea. We found a private fertility specialist. I made an appointment in December and that got canceled because the fertility doc was in the hospital. I was feeling the heaviness of something else being postponed. “When was this going to happen?”
Soon after, my 43rd birthday arrived in December and I was super depressed. I remember crying every moment that I didn’t have to be actually teaching a class with my students.
I had waited and been patient and I had a good partner and it seemed like my other options were closing off. The year before, I dreamed up the idea to start my own business holding workshops to help people going through infertility. I bought a workbook as a resource and so now I turned to the file of my own ideas as to how to support and help someone.
I read about how much stress affects your fertility and realized I needed to give myself a break. I had major culture shock of immigrating to a new country, starting a stressful job and trying to learn a new language.
I started doing the exercises in the workbook — that I now teach my clients. I had this feeling that all would turn out OK and that I didn’t need to worry. A peace came over me that I hadn’t really felt since I had arrived in Sweden and I figured OK, I’ll put it in God’s hands.
Christmas break came and I signed up for an intense week of a swing dance camp and we had a wonderful time relaxing with family. I ovulated right around the actual day of Christmas that year and when we finally went to our first fertility clinic appointment in January, I was a few days late with my period. I had been feeling nauseous with an increased sense of smell. The pregnancy test came up positive right away.
It was interesting timing that my child was conceived around Christmas as some say that the actual day a soul is born is their conception day. I always had this vision where I imagined myself like Mary, mother to a holy child. I had a CD of songs about Mary that I used to listen to in my car all the time. I had read somewhere that only if you believed that you would be a mother of a special child, could someone like Jesus be born to you. I believed that this high-vibe soul that was hanging around my energy was going to come someday and was leading the way to where to find him/her.
The early pregnancy, I would occasionally have a fear of miscarriage arise in me from all my previous infertility times and one previous miscarriage. But, when this fear would rise, I would listen to my inner guiding voice. This calm would calm over me and I knew that my child would be fine, that this was my miracle child. About 16 weeks or so, I had horrible pain and I couldn’t work. I knew my baby was ok as he was still making lots of motions inside of me, but I didn’t know what was causing all the pain. The only thing that was helpful was complete bed rest for a while. When I had it checked out at the doctors, they discovered I had multiple fibroids (non-cancerous tumors) in my uterus. One was 11x 5 x 7cm. My belly was the size of a twin pregnancy. I had to rest up quite a bit more and dropped to working part-time.
I continued to dream of this baby girl and think around names and ideas related to a girl. I had always had this dream of a boy, but I felt that Mattias had this strong energy of a baby girl and I figured maybe that was the soul that was going to come to me since I was with him.
However, in the 20-week ultrasound, they were measuring the baby and telling me all about my child. It was nice to finally have the focus with the ultrasound on the baby instead of on my fibroids.
But, she moved the camera around a bit and it was, “Yes, you have a boy!” All my dreams about the boy soul I had envisioned before came flooding back. I started weeping. I knew this was the soul I dreamed of. My pregnancy took on a different quality at this point. I started to actually go to the store and think about buying things for my child. I started to really believe that this little baby was going to be held in my arms.
I think up to that point, I was sort of half holding my breath. I wanted to believe that I would give birth to a healthy child, but I was a bit weary from waiting for so long. God was with us all along. My spirit baby and I were a team. And, I researched some herbs to help decrease the fibroids and they did go down by the third trimester.
The day after finding out that we were having a boy and therefore needed boy instead of girl names, I was thinking of all the biblical names for God and when I said, “Emanuel” out loud, I knew that was the name he was supposed to have. It means “God with us”. And it turned out when I told Mattias of my choice of name, he said it was his grandfather’s name. As I was going through my things after Emanuel was born, I found a Christmas ornament one of my students had made for me many years before with Emmanuel “God With Us” written on it.
When Emanuel was about to be born, I was a bit nervous as he was 3 and a half weeks early and we weren’t quite prepared for him. I had waited until the last minute to buy anything for him because it was really hard to go into the baby stores or think that I could actually have a child in my home. It took the time of the pregnancy to really make it real for me. It was really only in the week before his birth that I started to find some things that we needed through an online buy and sell group. We got a bedside crib and we got some clothes and then this one woman happened to be selling a breast pump. I bought it thinking I would use it to have extra milk, but I didn’t know that my son would be in NICU to start and that I would need to be pumping from the first day, around the clock. When I told her I wasn’t really prepared for my child and had very little in the way of clothes and other things, she brought over all of her baby stuff. And when I say all, she had bags and bags of things. Her generosity in sharing what I needed at a small price was so amazing to me.
My son’s middle name of Peter was chosen by Mattias because of our dance instructors. We each had a Balboa dance teacher named Peter and that dance is the reason why we met (a story for another day). But, it wasn’t until I was in labor that I connected the fact that the song I had written was about Peter. This song was for my child that was about to be born.
The labor was rough with induction because my labor didn’t really get going on its own, but what saved me from going crazy was acupuncture that helped clear my brain fog to be able to focus better on my contractions. During labor, I found myself a little sad that my grandpa was not still alive because I wanted him to meet my child. And then I got this image of Grandpa and realized he was actually holding my son through the birth process until he was to be born into this world. We had lots of angels watching over us. And then once I actually got in a tub of water, that’s when things sped up to only a few hours later, right after midnight Emanuel was born. Those rough waters of my boat picture really depicted my conception and birth process. And that song I wrote? The experience with walking on water was also a metaphor for birth. Coming out of the boat of my womb and into the sea of life.
And, with a 4+ hour long playlist, that song started playing right after he was born.
A week or two after giving birth, I decided to attend the local Swedish church for the first time. I knew just enough Swedish to realize that the sermon was about water and I figured Petros must be Peter. Sure enough, the scripture reading that Sunday coincided with my painting and my song and my son being born, they were reading from the book of Mattias (Matthew in Swedish) 14:25–33. I finally met my miracle child 11 years after I first tried to conceive, but it wasn’t at all the in the way that I thought it would happen. Sometimes God gives you something so much better than what you planned.