The closest thing I've come to having a kid: dogsitting my Dad's pooch Anouk.

But what if you don't have kids? To breed or not to breed...that is the question.

At least, that’s the question that’s been on my mind this week as I have a lot of downtime to ponder and reflect.

Last week I had breakfast in Tulum, lunch in Guadalajara and dinner in Long Beach California. Travel never ceases to amaze me. I think back to the days when it took the whole day to get from Toronto to Barrie in horse and buggy, coming up Yonge Street, so when I hear people complaining about the “inconveniences” of travel, I can’t really commiserate.

I came here to LA a week before the festival to get out of the humidity (sometimes 100%) of Tulum to make sure I dried my ear out. The one that took what seemed like forever to heal. That being said, you’ll be pleased to know that my ear is healed and for the first time in almost 3 months, I can hear (relatively well) and there is no more infection. Reason: sound healing, essential oils, plant medicine and believing I could heal without antibiotics. VERY exciting. This is super inspiring for me, and I’m on a whole new healing path. Wahe Guru!

My dear friend Nora, who was a guest on one of my Kootenay Retreats a couple of summers ago, offered me her lovely beach house on Naples Island in Long Beach to come and chill before Sat Nam Fest. SO grateful. She has beautiful books, comfy spaces and nooks to read, and this place is quiet. Ridiculously quiet, especially compared to Tulum where I’d wake up in the morning to traffic, construction and or both. I’m sitting on her porch now, surrounded by lavender, listening to early morning bird song, and glancing up now and then to see a light pink pair of roses in full bloom, just to my right. The sun is warming my face, and I’m feeling calm and content.

Back to the whole breeding thing: This morning I was leafing through a memoir by the writer and poet May Sarton, and opened it up randomly to an entry that read the following:

Thinking so much these days about what it is to be a woman, I wonder whether an ingrained sense of guild is not one feminine characteristic. A man who has no children may feel personally deprived but he does not feel guilty I suspect. A woman who has no children is always a little on the defensive.

This REALLY rang true for me. If you read my memoir, “Masala Memories” you might remember a story I relayed about doing a TV interview in India about my music, and how in the first five minutes, the questions deviated away from music, and I felt like I was being admonished about not having a husband and a family. I felt like saying, “Um, hello! If I did that, I wouldn’t be here and you wouldn’t find my journey and story interesting right?!” I was a bit more diplomatic, but definitely felt on the defensive immediately.

 A couple of years ago when I was living in Costa Rica taking Spanish lessons, my teacher and I had a conversation about my decision to not have children. I tried to convey, “Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should” philosophy, and he countered with trying to tell me that my life would not have the same meaning and depth if I didn’t have kids...blah, blah, blah.  It got pretty heated, and at the end, I left the school feeling annoyed and upset. Again, I felt I needed to defend my reasons for not having a child: I love travel, I don’t have a partner (the BIGGEST reason!), and I’m not that keen on being tired all the time, especially with all my health issues with the adrenal fatigue etc. I was tired riding my bike to the Spanish lesson. It was easy for him to pontificate as he taught all day and had a lot of independence, while his wife primarily took care of the kids. The next lesson, I told him that the topic of having children was off the table, and that I felt he needed to be more careful when discussing this with women. He was cool about it and he got it. He’s also conditioned by society and his culture to think that having kids is of the utmost importance.

And so today, I find myself a little emotional due to being a bit jet-lagged, tired of travel, the transition of being in one community and heading for another, and the tried-tested-and-true-emotional roller coaster of PMS. Yup. Good times. I bawled all afternoon in the matinee seeing Gloria Bell. And it wasn’t actually that sad of a movie.

Last night, I looked out to the sky and see the sun setting, and realize that just like the day has finished, my time and chance for having a child is also finished. I know, I know...many people tell me, “Look at Janet Jackson!” or say things like, “You can always adopt”. True, true, but for me, not in the cards, and I’m slowly coming to accept this. Many of you know about my tendency to experience FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) that I have slowly come to terms with over the years, but the whole kid thing tops the list in terms of triggering FOMO once again.

With Nana passing away in January, I started to delve into the loss and grief of making the decision not to have children: Who will look after me? What is my legacy? I then put on my rational sombrero, and realized that just because you have kids doesn’t mean that they are going to look after you. I saw that first-hand in Nana’s nursing home when I chatted with the support workers who were so impressed that my sister, aunt and I were regular visitors, “Some people have no one, or their kids come at Christmas for an hour or so.” Having a kid isn’t a sure thing you’ll be cared for.

And the whole legacy thing? When I think about it, I want my legacy to continue through my music, my writing, my teaching, and my connection with people. I feel like that’s enough. Now that my mantra album is finished, I’m ready to shelf it and begin something new. A new baby, if you will. Which leads me to coming back to my plan I had a few years ago to write a musical. It’s been simmering and brewing for years, and I’ve been taking notes, writing some tunes and dreaming up scenes and script ideas. Not that I know what the hell I’m doing, but hey, look who’s running the USA? That dude doesn’t have a clue, so it gives me hope. At least I’ve been IN musicals and grew up devouring every show we could see. That’s a plus.

I’m now feeling called to go to the couch now with my chocolate bar to watch the movie “Rio” I recorded last night. I’ll probably shed some tears about the fact that I won’t have kids to watch animated movies with, but I’ll also probably get inspired about creating the new musical. Tears. Laughter. Grief. Joy. Music. It’s all part of this journey.

If you feel inspired to share any thoughts about any similar stories about being on the defensive for your lifestyle choice (having kids, not having kids, not working a “traditional job” etc) please share, as that’s what it’s all about: sharing our stories with one another to heal and grow.

Thank you as always for being part of my journey.

Love and Light,
Sarah xo

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