“The Big Letting Go” – AllSwell Creative

“The Big Letting Go”

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The Big Letting Go
by Laura Rubin
The past two years have been a process of stripping things away, of letting go. I said goodbye to the reality of having children of my own. After extensive explorations, a decision was made. I won’t manipulate my hormones in order to bring a babe of my own into this world because no doctor could or would conclusively say that as a breast cancer survivor, it was safe for me to do so. So I’d have a baby but potentially have to fight for my life (again)? My body has been through too much already and it didn’t seem like much of a start in this world for a kiddo, either. This was not a Faustian bargain I could stomach. So I walked away from the tests and treatments, and decided to just live my life.
Do I ever get sad about it? Yes, sometimes my arms feel empty, I physically ache to hold the kids I thought I would raise. And frankly, I am so over myself at this point. I felt ready for this life to be about something other than me, ready to be a supporting role instead of the lead character. But not everyone in every lifetime is meant to procreate. I have so much maternal love to give and that’s a beautiful thing. It is an unusual opportunity to find productive ways to channel that creativity and intent. Maybe that’s the bigger adventure.
Last summer I started communing with a radically incredible group of women once a month. We are all child-free (by choice, by accident, by happenstance) and in full stride. None of us are “young” any more but we aren’t old either. Our lives are full of meaning, explorations, adventure and love. Spending time with them has given me a lot of vision and clarity.
There aren’t many appealing cultural reference points for where we are. The wacky aunt? The witchy crone? Desperate cougars? No, thank you. I don’t feel desperate or wacky. But something else came into focus for me as I spent time with this group of women. It’s up to us to create a new archetype, to do the birthing work of that vision. As women who are fruitful in many ways, we create beauty, community and connection outside the confines of the traditional family unit. Devoid of maternal exhaustion we’ve got a lot of juice. What to do with all that chi is the challenge
Confounding expectations, especially my own, has become one of main pursuits. Why limit myself? I’m not just doing this for myself, but for the young ones who are watching, taking note and witnessing how my generation lives and loves.
One of my chosen little sisters recently told me that she asked her young friends how old they thought I was. Their answers were nearly a decade and a half less than my actual age. She shared it with me as a compliment, and I appreciate the spirit in which it was said. After thanking her for what was an intended kindness, my response to her was this, “I’m trying to reconsider youth as the only means of beauty. What if, as women, we claim ourselves at every step along the way? What incredible empowerment would lie in that choice.” Her beautiful eyes widened. She got quiet. She was paying attention. And so, I take my steps forward not just for me, but for the younger ones. Just as my chosen big sisters have blazed trails for me, it’s my turn to do the same.

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