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Childless by Choice: A Powerful Act of Self Love
by Chenoa Maxwell
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October 2, 2019

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Childless by Choice: A Powerful Act of Self Love

She always knew she didn’t want children, but Chenoa Maxwell was willing to try for the family her then-husband desired. What happened next was a three-year journey that would break her physically, mentally and spiritually. But ultimately, it would lead her to a self-love breakthrough that introduced her to the life of her dreams.

Courtesy of Chenoa Maxwell, Photographer: Chef Jordan Chataun
Courtesy of Chenoa Maxwell

I never wanted kids. It was crystal clear to me when, as a little girl, I was gifted a baby doll called Baby Alive. She could move her mouth and would eat, drink, and wet her pants. You had to actually change her and feed her. The whole point of Baby Alive was that she would turn real mommy moments into “play.” But Baby Alive was way too “baby alive” for me. I remember thinking, this isn’t anything I’m interested in playing with. I knew at that exact moment, motherhood wasn’t for me.

But Barbie, on the other hand, that was a life I could get into. She came with beautiful outfits, friends, Ken, sports cars, horses, and –– wait for it –– a dream house. Now that was something I was interested in playing with and dreaming about.

 

Even as I grew older, not having kids was the through line constant for me. Listening to girlfriends speak about their dreams of motherhood and parenting, it just never resonated with me in my heart and soul. I thought, maybe it is a process. Maybe it is about growing into love and partnership or the “click-in” to the mother gene. Whatever the “click-in” was, it never happened for me. My life without a child, or the desire to want children, manifested through a soul-defining journey.

As an emotional intelligence expert, I’ve learned that it’s all about listening, tracing actions to results, and reconciling that result. Do you have a good life result or a bad life result? The key for good results is to create intentions that are in line with your true heart, and then connect them to your brain. Those intentions then drive actions to achieve those results.

This is universal in every instance of life –– business, family, friendships, love, relationships, and parenthood. The measure of those actions is subjectively categorized as successful or not, good result or bad result. Sounds simple and formulaic, right? Absolutely…not. If it were that mathematic you would be living a utopian life, and the world would be free from a litany of crap.

You see, there is a little thing called authenticity, and that actually plays the major role in the outcome of every single moment and action in your life.

God, Creator, Buddha, Muhammad, Rha, The Universe –– whatever you call your higher power –– one thing is certain and constant: when you move in action against your authenticity and your true heart, that higher power conspires to reset your actions until you restate your intentions.

That was never so clear as when I acted against my authentic true heart and began the process of pregnancy for my ex-husband.

Let me be clear. Just because you step forward in action inauthentically doesn’t mean you are not operating with the greatest of intentions. But even if you have the best of intentions, that doesn’t mean you are operating from your “true heart.” Get the distinction?

My ex and I began the slow unspooling of our marriage when we both deviated from operating from our authentic “true” hearts. When we married, my ex-husband knew I didn’t want children. I was true heart clear and communicated that, so I assumed he would believe in that authenticity and take it as gospel. But, I believe my ex-husband assumed and felt that because I am a very nurturing soul with a massive well of love to share, that I would naturally, at some point, focus that energy into building a family with children of our own. The mother gene would “click-in.” Our intentions to have an incredible marriage, friendship and partnership were, very much so, aligned but with two very different ideas of what that looked like:

One was the Barbie life, and the other was Baby Alive.

 

Courtesy of Chenoa Maxwell, Photographer: Chef Jordan Chataun
Courtesy of Chenoa Maxwell, Photographer: Chef Jordan Chataun

So you’re probably asking, “Well, ok, if you were authentic and knew you didn’t want kids, why change your mind and try?” That’s an excellent question –– one that I’ll deep dive into during next month’s column. There, I’ll share my story and thoughts about how I knew divorce was the only answer left for me. For now, I will say this, it was not the reason we divorced, but it did reveal why it was the only answer left.

Trying to have a child for three intense years did break me physically, mentally and spiritually. I went to experts in fertility, umpteen doctors, IVF specialists, and nutritionists. I went to an acupuncturist, joined fertility circles, got fertility dolls, took herbal remedies. I even had surgery to clear my uterine scarring and restore my womb. Anything and everything –– I did it and tried it.

The years of treatments and chemicals that ravaged my body and my spirit left me facing hard realities of actions that were not aligned with my “true heart” authentic self. Even for me –– being highly practiced with the tools I honed for years after my difficult childhood –– I began to lose self worth, belief, femininity, sex appeal, and most importantly, self love.

Two rounds of surrogacy, and no baby later, was the final straw. It was clear that a child was not in our collective future.

I was not honoring my truth and authentic true heart. To correct this, the universal constant of higher power made me reset my actions and restate my intentions. So I listened. To renew my self love intentions it was time to redraw the lines that I had blurred. I was clear. I had been pouring out my entire being to a commitment I believed was for we, but I was not being refilled with the passion, emotional, spiritual and restorative support I needed for me.

Courtesy of Chenoa Maxwell, Photographer: Leslie Hassler
Courtesy of Chenoa Maxwell, Photographer: Leslie Hassler

This was a galvanizing reinforcement of something I had worked a lifetime to master ––  the difference between self love and self care. I was adept at creating practices for myself like meditation, spa days, yoga, hair, nails, shopping, incredible vacations, any self care staple I thought I needed. But I was moving away from what self love is.

It doesn’t take much to distance oneself from the core of self love –– the misalignment of authentic purpose, authentic desire and needs, or the simple absence of the power of the word “no” is enough. These things make up the hard line defined as what I call the “non-negotiables”. Far too often, in my private practice, I see clients abandon their “non-negotiables” and distance themselves from the life they desire. It’s one of the reasons why I have taken up the mission to help people all over the world redefine what self love is for themselves –– to re-establish their life’s non-negotiables.

Self love is about honoring all of who you are and being courageously honest with that assessment.

It doesn’t take much to distance oneself from the core of self love –– the misalignment of authentic purpose, authentic desire and needs, or the simple absence of the power of the word “no” is enough. These things make up the hard line defined as what I call the “non-negotiables”. Far too often, in my private practice, I see clients abandon their “non-negotiables” and distance themselves from the life they desire.  It’s one of the reasons why I have taken up the mission to help people all over the world redefine what self love is for themselves –– to re-establish their life’s non-negotiables.

It’s getting in touch with your deeper needs. It’s understanding what your spiritual path and spiritual purpose is. But in order to discover what that is, you must be available to do what’s necessary to get back on the path of your authentic “true heart,” as defined by you and you alone. You must dissolve disempowering habits and limiting beliefs, and create space in order to fill it with something substantial and meaningful.  That is always your choice. Period.

If you truly want to be remarkable and live a life you love, you must first know thyself. This means living authentically with a deep sense of who you are and what you have to offer the world. You can expand your awareness and strengthen the connection with yourself through introspection. A simple way to get started is by taking a few minutes each day to ask yourself, Where in my life am I being dishonest? What do I need more of? Where am I playing small? What am I accepting that is absolutely unacceptable?” It is exactly where I started once I recognized how far from the practice of self love I was.

Your “true heart” –– your subconscious, your gut intentions –– is always moving you toward the life of your dreams. 

Living a limitless life begins by dissolving any limits you have created about yourself and your life, and creating the space to identify and manifest your desires and true happiness.

As we grow older, this usually means being true to yourself on an issue that may cause a significant change in your life, like owning, for better or for worse, that I did not want children.  That was a hard line, non-negotiable that I set so long ago. The space that authenticity created led to a visceral knowledge of what self love really is. Resting in that truth not only allowed me to walk confidently into the next phenomenal stage of my life, but it created cataclysmic shifts in happiness and well-being for me.

Chenoa Maxwell, Photo by Leslie Hassler
Photo by Leslie Hassler

Life is a series of choices. As adults, it is scientifically proven that we make 35,000 decisions daily. When is the last time you examined even a fraction of those daily decisions when it comes to the most important actions you take? Do you reflect on those actions? Do you claim ownership for those actions? Are you living a life you love as a result of those daily actions?

Owning your authenticity, your truth, takes courage, and I promise you it is rewarded in ways you never thought were possible. Perhaps it’s time to strut confidently into the proverbial mirror to see yourself clearly and to ask yourself some of the tough questions that will lead you to your higher self –– a self living the life your dreams are made of.

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