Motherhood Reimagined: When Becoming a Mother Doesn’t Go As Planned
At the age of thirty-nine, Sarah Kowalski heard her biological clock ticking, loudly. A single woman harboring a deep ambivalence about motherhood, Kowalski needed to decide once and for all: Did she want a baby or not? More importantly, with no partner on the horizon, did she want to have a baby alone? Once she revised her idea of motherhood—from an experience she would share with a partner to a journey she would embark upon alone—the answer came up a resounding Yes. After exploring her options, Kowalski chose to conceive using a sperm donor, but her plan stopped short when a doctor declared her infertile. How far would she go to make motherhood a reality? Kowalski catapulted herself into a diligent regimen of herbs, Qigong, meditation, acupuncture, and more, in a quest to improve her chances of conception. Along the way, she delved deep into spiritual healing practices, facing down demons of self-doubt and self-hatred, ultimately discovering an unconventional path to parenthood. In the end, to become a mother, Kowalski did everything she said she would never do. And she wouldn’t change a thing.Motherhood Reimagined is a very different look at motherhood to what you would traditionally expect. Author Sarah Kowalski suppresses her young maternal urges with a high flying law career and a single lifestyle, followed by a disability that changes her life, leading to her becoming a Somatic Life Coach. Through introspection, spiritualization and a holistic system known as Qigong, Sarah turns her life around and finds the mental stability and inner peace she needs to decide to go ahead with having a child. The problem is, she’s single, over 40 and already perimenopausal. There is no doubt that Sarah is in denial at this stage and desperately seeks to find a solution that doesn’t involve heavy medical intervention. But all the meditation in the world can’t turn back the biological clock. This book is a twofold journey; how she mentally has to come to terms with her denial and self-doubt and find the confidence and determination to pursue her dream of motherhood through any means possible, and the actual physical problems presented by that, ultimately resulting in the use of a sperm donor and a donor egg. Motherhood Reimagined is a very honest book and at times, was heartbreaking to read. I know all too well the struggle of wanting to be a mother, yet having to accept that for whatever reason, the body has failed to provide that most natural of things. It’s also an uplifting story of fighting for your dreams, of struggling and believing in yourself and of course in the miracle that is modern medicine. When you think that IVF has only been around for 40 years, it’s incredible how far we’ve gone with fertility treatments. With such an extensive spiritual background and training, Sarah bravely goes deep into her mental processes and is brutally honest about this journey. It’s rare that someone is so in tune with their hidden fears and we often don’t question why we have certain thoughts, so it’s refreshing to see this discussed so openly and frankly. I’m not a big follower of the spiritual ideas presented in this book, but I like to keep an open mind and it’s always interesting to read the thought processes of someone who has a unique approach that I wouldn’t have thought of. For me, this book was a reminder that no matter how different we are as people (because I am certainly very different to the author!) we are all still connected in some way and when you dial us back to the core – to our hopes and dreams and fears, it’s amazing how similar we can be. If you are interested in being a single mother by choice, infertility procedures, conceiving at an older age or in alternative therapies, Motherhood Reimagined will captivate you and perhaps provide you with some insight and strength for your own journey. Having spent 8 years myself battling infertility before giving birth to my son, I think anyone on this journey needs all the strength and support they can get. That being said, despite having a fair amount of information on infertility and spirituality, you don’t need to be interested in either to enjoy this read. It’s a very personal story written in a very relatable way and I think you’ll be rooting for Sarah every step of the way, regardless of whether you’re invested in the theme. I would actually love to see Motherhood Reimagined as a movie, as it’s an unusual journey that often takes part behind closed doors that I think is well told enough to draw in the general public. People need to know the struggle that some women go through – but also other women in this situation need to know there are options and there are choices that can be made. Note: I was provided with a review copy of this title on Kindle, via NetGalley.