While some people scoff at things like intuition and gut instincts, I had to learn the hard way that there are often consequences to ignoring those subtle cues. Looking back on my life, I can honestly say that all of the good things that ever happened to me were the direct result of following my intuitive voice, while all of the horrible things were the result of my ignoring it, even when it was screaming at me to listen.

I do not believe that our lives are fully scripted, that we are trapped by fate or destiny to a predetermined end. Instead, I believe that we are all here to learn, to evolve, to do the best we can with what we are given, making the world just a little better for those around us in the process. I also believe that the Universe has a way of letting us know if we are on the right path, through that little voice or feeling or sign, called intuition.

All we have to do is learn to listen.

Steve and my decision to start a family was one of those decisions that had been left hanging in limbo. We both agreed that we were in no rush to have children, as we had just moved, gotten married, and were settling into new jobs. We had just taken the plunge and bought our first home, and soon after, our friend Foerth had moved into our spare bedroom, while he tried to settle into his new teaching job and find a place to live.

We realized right away that once you get married, the questions of, “When are you going to start a family? You want kids, right?” start immediately. In fact, I’m pretty sure that Momma Dawn asked about kids at least once before our wedding reception was even over. For the next year and a half, we fielded the questions (which slowly began to sound more and more like blatant demands) by smiling politely and cracking jokes and making excuses. We said we wanted to own a home, then bought one in July 2008. We said we wanted to wait until Foerth moved out, and he left in March 2009. By the time Steve and I got around to discussing our readiness to have our first child, it seemed that most of our die hard hopefuls were finally giving up on us.

I’d been taking birth control pills since just before our wedding, my doctors writing out prescriptions that allowed me to get refills for up to a year at a time. Steven and I sat down and did some calculating. My last refill before I needed to go in for an exam and get a new prescription would be in August. We decided that maybe it was a good time to just let the prescription run out and allow nature to take its course. I wanted to have our first child before I turned 30, and everything I read and heard said that it would take several months for my body to get back to normal.

So, we had a plan.

Now, I’ve always had a problem with plans. Not your trivial, “Hey, let’s meet at 8:00 and go get pizza” kind of plans. Those are easy. My issue has always been with bigger plans, life-changing plans, because those are the plans where I have had my intuition take over and suddenly hijack the road map, leading me down a very different path than the one I’d originally chosen.

Steven, on the other hand, is the type that desperately needs a plan. Without one, he tends to go a little stir crazy. How his uber-organized personality has been able to mesh so well with my chaotic existence is something of a natural wonder. While the figures may not add up on paper, there has always been something about the two of us together that just makes sense.

I can’t quite pinpoint when my feelings about our carefully crafted Family Plan began to change, but it didn’t take long for the subtle whisper to become a constant, nagging whine.

I wasn’t sure how Steven would react to my sudden request to modify our Baby Blueprint. Honestly, I expected him to protest the four month amendment, that I could only justify by saying, “I don’t know, but I just have a feeling it’s time.”

To my surprise, Steven just laughed and shrugged his shoulders and said, “It’s up to you. If you’re ready, I’m ready. And it will take awhile for your body to get back to normal, right? So, no big deal.”

We didn’t breathe a word to anyone about our plans. Part of me was afraid that my years spent abusing my body with an eating disorder might have caused irreparable damage, and I knew Steven was wrestling with his own concerns, because he kept making jokes about us getting ourselves all geared up when we didn’t even know if either one of us was actually fertile. Neither of us really wanted to get our own hopes up, let alone anyone else’s, so we kept our secret to ourselves.

On April 20, 2009, I took my last pill and started my last cycle, and that little voice that had been nagging so mercilessly fell suddenly silent.

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