In my spiritual belief system, I go with the theory that before birth, in the soul-realm, children choose the parents with whom to incarnate. Whatever they are on earth to learn, they choose their families for those experiences. I know this notion can be considered a white, privileged United States point of view, and even I ask how can I have this belief when there are all those kids in other countries like Haiti and Afganistan and now Japan whose parents have extremely hard lives or were killed at the moment of their birth? I don’t know the answer to that question. I’m not saying anyone deserves a hard life or comes into this world choosing poverty, war, destruction, abandonment, neglect, or abuse. I’m saying I believe in karma, and I think it’s possible our souls have lessons to learn we can’t quite know about but which are, nonetheless, real.
So, our daughter was conceived in one try. I know exactly the day because I had said to my husband, “You know, if we do this, we really could have a baby.” He smiled at me and said, “Let’s do it.” That moment was our only attempt at conception of a child in our sixteen years of intimate relationship.
(And, I apologize here, and not exactly parenthetically, because I know the above information isn’t helpful to those who had to try and try again, maybe even losing a child in the process, or to those who had to test and be needle-pricked and squirt and pay lots of money for conception, and especially to those who just can’t conceive regardless of their parental desire. I am also sorry about the time my husband, who was so proud of his sperm, bragged to our friends, who’d just paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to get their first child, about our luck. For what it’s worth, that couple, five months after their first son was born, conceived their second with no outside help, sort of a two-for-one special.)
Anyhow, my point is, with the quickness and ease of her conception it just seems highly likely our daughter was waiting around for us to become her parents. When I started telling people I was pregnant, most of whom were shocked and thought we’d never have a child, my standard line was “yeah, this baby has been waiting sixteen years for us to get on it.”
My healer friend believes in past lives and karma and, in fact, wants to do a past life healing on me. I’m open to this kind of work, even though her talking about energetically removing from some of her clients “daggers” and “bullets” and things like that challenges the outer realms of my brain. Still, I’ve been on this earth long enough to sense that some of my experiences are not entirely of my own making but, rather, some sort of karmic puzzle trying to work itself out. More importantly, as my healer friend says, the exact details of karmic experience are not nearly as important as feeling the stuck or difficult feelings that go along with them.
The belief that my daughter has been here before seemed obvious the minute my husband set her down near my face after she was finally born because when I said, “Hello, baby,” she turned her head, her little face filled with recognition of my voice and her big gray eyes startled but so alert I was sure she recognized more than just me. I thought right then she was recognizing she still had lessons to learn.
Of course, I wonder about her lessons. Some day I’ll get to the lessons she’s going to have to deal with just by having me as her mother and my husband as her father. Oy. But, I also get there’s more for her to deal with than just us. For example, I remember one day, when she was probably nine months old and we were driving home after being somewhere pleasant like the beach. I had made sure she was fed, warm, dry, and all that before putting her in the car for the twenty-minute ride home. But for the last five minutes of the drive, my daughter started a screaming fit that would not quit – a loud piercing shriek of serious discomfort that, instinctively, I felt had nothing to do with needing something material. She cried and cried and screamed. I breathed in deep the helpless feeling of not being able to help my own child, and said, “Oh honey, what’s coming up for you right now?” I envisioned demons and past life memories or, maybe, even, the painful feelings of being stuck inside me and being yanked out with such violence into bright, unwelcoming light. I felt terrible for her, yet knew her feelings were her own.
Some might say, I’m torturing myself or, worse yet, putting feelings on to my child that are not real. I certainly don’t intend to imprint a needless sense of trauma onto her, and only she will decide if, for example, the difficulty of the birth is something she’ll need to work through, or for that matter the hardship of past life experiences. I’m just saying I’m open to exploration. I want to be here to help her grow in her soul, to allow her spirit to be healed and free, and I can’t do that if I’m rigidly sure there’s no work to do from previous lives.
Besides, my intuitions about my daughter’s karma come from a place inside me that I love and don’t always pay attention to – the place of wonder at the unknowable hugeness of the universe. That wonder, while mysterious and for the most part completely unanswered, is a feeling I’d love to pass on because I think the sense stems from the connected parts of all of us. The parts that say, there is more than meets the eye, so perhaps we can step softly and allow each other to cry and feel our feelings, thereby creating compassion and space for those difficult karmic experiences and hard lessons. What if we did all believed in karma and allowed each other to heal and transform old hardships into something lovely, like beauty and light and love?