For centuries, motherhood was considered an automatic decision. That didn’t take away the wonder and joy of creating a life and developing a fully new human being with infinite potential and possibilities, but there was often less choice in deciding when you wanted to do so. It was usually done as shortly after marriage as possible.
That’s changed, as I was reminded when I received a call from Andi. She wanted to know if this was the right time for her and her wife to adopt. This happens a lot around this time of year as we approach Mother’s Day. Women of childbearing age start to think about their own moms. They see commercials rightfully celebrating the mothers in our lives, the women who nurtured and cared for us, and without whom we wouldn’t be who we are.
She felt that she wanted to be a mother, but wasn’t sure if she was ready for motherhood. She wasn’t sure she was ready for that challenge. The heart of her confusion over it was in herself, which is why she called us. “I don’t know if I am ready to affect another life,” she said. “I guess when it comes down to it, I just am not sure that I can make another person into a good and full person.” We decided to do a Tarot reading to help Andi understand herself better to help make this decision.
Andi’s Dilemma: Is It Time?
Andi is 31, married for three years, and absolutely in love with her wife, Sarah. She knew she had a partner for life, and that was part of the problem. Whenever they talked about adoption or surrogacy, Andi felt like the bond she and Sarah had was going to be irrevocably broken, that the happiness they created was going to be interrupted. It wasn’t that she was worried that she and Sarah would be unhappy but that things wouldn’t be the same.
Like so many other people, she had mixed feelings about her feelings. On the one hand, she felt guilty about feeling that way, like she was going against a natural order. She wanted her “not-ready” feelings to be resolved and to go away. On the other hand, she felt that if those were her feelings, then perhaps making them go away would be untrue to herself. It was an endless circle of self-doubt, momentary resolution, and more doubt.
We all feel these things in so many of the decisions that we make. We think, then double back and criticize our opinions and thoughts. This is especially magnified when talking about motherhood. Being a parent, as any parent will tell you, is far more than a full-time job. There is a constancy to it that doesn’t go away for years, if ever. To say it changes a life is an understatement: It is a life. It is fulfilling, maddening, wonderful, exhausting, exasperating, and beautiful all at the same time. Most of all, it makes you responsible not just for the safety of someone, but partly for who they are and how their life turns out. That is a lot of pressure.
This is why the decision to become a parent is one of the biggest choices a person can make. While there is often a biological imperative to the general timeframe in which someone becomes a mother, answering the question, “Are you ready?” comes down to understanding yourself and what you want, and that’s where the Tarot comes in.
The Tarot Reading
I wanted Andi to focus on the question, “Am I ready for motherhood?” by looking deep within herself. We did a standard three-card reading to guide her.
The first card I drew was the King of Wands, which shows a king sitting magisterially upon his throne. He has gained his kingdom not just by being brave or smart, but from being wise enough to learn from experience. When he is in the past position, he exemplifies hard-fought wisdom. In some readings, he is seen as an influencer, someone (of any gender) who helped you get where you are, and whose ideas you might not have always understood until you looked at it from their vantage point.
This brought us to Andi’s mom, who was very traditional and also very loving. To her, her daughter’s relationship with Sarah was a blessing, but she was acutely aware that it was controversial, so she guided Andi and protected her and always worried about the reaction of other people because she didn’t want her daughter to get hurt. Andi and Sarah had trod cautiously into marriage. Andi realized that part of this explained her reluctance to have a baby. Her mom’s loving caution translated into being afraid to take big steps.
The next card I drew was the Eight of Cups, which shows a traveler beginning a long journey, leaning wearily on his staff under the leering light of a beckoning moon. The card feels melancholy until you look closer. The traveler isn’t coming to this sad scene: He is leaving it. The present had him beaten down, but he pulled himself up and is on his way. The Eight of Cups is extremely powerful in the present position. It means that it is a time of exploration. It is a time to make a radical change.
Of course, for Andi, this didn’t absolutely mean she should have a baby. It could also have meant that she should let go of this stress and these expectations, let go of what she was “expected” to do, and take life as it comes. Making a journey doesn’t mean having a certain path in mind. It could just mean veering off the path on which you thought you were stuck, snaggled in thorns, and terrified to move for fear of cutting yourself. All the while, it turned out you could just step away. That’s what Andi was beginning to realize.
Finally, I told Andi, look at The Chariot, which was the third card I drew, in the future position. See the power of the queen, regal on her throne, foregrounded by two Sphinxes under her domain. These beasts of legend subdued. She has won a great victory, so she is dominant and has beaten off any challenges. She reigns triumphant.
This could give Andi confidence in her choice. The Tarot can’t tell her to start the adoption or surrogacy process, or tell her not to do so, but it can help her free herself from what she thinks she should want and just focus on what she wants. She would find it, and when she did, there wouldn’t be any obstacles. She and Sarah would be able to have an open and beautiful discussion about it, freed from prejudices. Like the queen in The Chariot, Andi rose above. She conquered the inner demons that riddled her with questions and uncertainties. She discovered that whatever she wanted was in her already, and she didn’t have to let a cautious past or a stressful present persuade her otherwise. Her future was hers and hers alone.
That’s the true power of the Tarot and why it’s so useful during these advising sessions. It doesn’t tell you what you should do, but it gives you the tools to find your own answers. It helps answer questions about you so that you can answer for yourself. It’s the ancient basis of total empowerment.
If you need help making a big life decision, such as whether to become a parent, a Tarot reading done by an advisor at Keen can help you understand what you want.