i never had kids.

the simple explanation is this: no man has ever wanted to marry me.

the longer explanation is this:

let me begin by saying that there is no one on earth who loves children more than i do. i will concede there may be some who love kids as much, but no one loves them more.

i have direly wanted kids my whole adult life. like, pain down to my soul, i have wanted children so much.

being in the presence of children–or even just looking at photos–makes me want to cry happy tears. children are fascinating and inspiring. they are so sweet and innocent. so full of potential with so much unknown lying ahead in their futures. they are unsuspecting and optimistic and absolutely invincible.

i am choked up just writing this.

so…no one ever wanted to have kids with me. and, if you are like every single person on earth who knows how much i love children, you are thinking right now: so, why didn’t you just have children on your own?

right?

the reason is two-fold.

first, i honestly never wanted to do it alone. you may be thinking: then, you never wanted children that much. i hear that all the time. and…no. i just wanted a husband to have children with me. and i assumed that if i was meant to have children, i would have been given a husband. i am a fatalist.

second, even if i wanted to do it alone, i earn most of my money travel-teaching. the only reason i could even afford to have a child on my own is because i travel about half the weeks of the year. so, the catch-22. either i continue traveling and have to have someone else care for and raise my child (if that someone else were a husband, great! but since it isn’t, (see #1), not great), or i stop traveling and i can’t afford a child.

this isn’t meant as a judgement of anyone or the parenting choices they make. i truly have the utmost respect for women who have children on their own. my choice is not about good or bad, right or wrong. it’s just about right for me.

as i close very quickly in on my 50th birthday and no man in sight, to boot, i am very realistic about the fact that kids are not in my cards.

does it pain me? yes. every day.

but!

it also enlightens me!

that’s right…it enlightens me!

and here’s why:

i believe everything happens for a reason. i believe we get exactly what we are meant to get and experience exactly what we are meant to experience in each lifetime.

i used to get sick thinking, “why me?”. almost every human being on earth has children. why not me?

and then one day it struck me. and it struck me hard.

the universe never gave me children because if i had kids, i could not love other people’s children as much as i loved my own.

in 2002, i started mini yogis yoga for kids so that i could spend my time not only with children, but actually making a long, lasting, positive impact on their lives. children’s yoga is ubiquitous now, but to put this in context, in 2002, there were hardly a handful of people outside of india teaching yoga to kids. but it was a calling.

people who see me teaching kids call me the child-whisperer. there are very few kids that i cannot connect to on a soul level because i teach from pure love.

it would be impossible if i had my own children to put a stranger’s child on a pedestal. i can tell you that even within the context of the unbounded love i have for my niece and nephews (who i consider my own, but their parents somehow see it otherwise…go figure), it sometimes feels traitorous to love my students as much as i do.

but i do.

and so, ultimately, this is a story of faith. as the great prophet mick jagger once said:

“you can’t always get what you want
but if you try sometimes, well, you might find
you get what you need”

10 Comments

  1. Jennifer Payton on August 8, 2020 at 2:00 pm08

    Shana-
    These milestone birthdays seem to force us to reflect on our lives. Thank you for your honest reflection and for sharing your heart. Our lives all unfold so uniquely. I was set on my ideal path; college graduation, career, marriage, 3 children… and then I took a sharp left turn to divorce. I’ve now been a single mom of three kids (13, 17, 20) for 11 years. 11 years! These 11 years have been full of growth, sadness, stress, joy…and every emotion between. So, sometimes the ideal path doesn’t always lead us on an ideal journey and sometime a wayward path takes us exactly where we are meant to be. I agree with you: there is a reason our lives unfold the way they do. There are so, so many children who need people like you in their lives. People who see them when those closest to them don’t … so thank you! Thank you from the single mom who couldn’t always fill all the needs of my own three kids. It is people like you who have helped me influence, encourage , and guide my kids to be the awesome humans they are. As the saying goes, it takes a village, and I appreciate you.

    • Shana on August 9, 2020 at 2:00 am08

      Wow, Jennifer, your comment gave me chills.
      Thank you so much for this deeply personal and heartfelt message.
      I am certain you have met all the needs of your children because, ultimately, all they deeply needed was your love.
      Blessings to you and your family. And thank you, again.

  2. Charles Underwood on August 9, 2020 at 2:00 am08

    Awww, that is so sweet, Shana, and as a classical musician, I can relate. I have never had children either…..but having them as groupies, students, and as the audience at “young people’s concerts” is so enriching. The expressions on their faces, the love and enthusiasm in their eyes, the hugs we get from them when they see us in the lobby, or outside the concet hall, the letters we receive, the joy exhibited by their parents and teachers….. And when we give them very high quality — perhaps even spontaneous instruction — or maybe just high quality “pointers” — on how to play their instruments (and sometimes ours), the rewards can be indescribable. I’d love seeing you working with children. Please take care of yourself; l know you’ll do so for your kids.

    • Shana on August 9, 2020 at 2:00 am08

      I love this, Charles! It is amazing how many different ways we can touch children’s lives. And we are enriched as much as they are in the process.

  3. Charles Underwood on August 9, 2020 at 2:00 am08

    Precisely, Shana.

    And l hope people are aware of how well classical music — especially the music of Mozart — fulfills children, developes their cognative abilities, and programs their minds. This can begin as early as birth, or before. Kids can simply be hearing the music in the background, while doing whatever else they wish. And any parent can access the music.
    It’s all over YouTube and elsewhere on the Internet. And no instruction required. Mozart will speak to the children himself.

    • Shana on August 9, 2020 at 2:00 pm08

      Mozart, the private life coach. ❤️

  4. Erin Forsyth on August 12, 2020 at 2:00 pm08

    Thank you Shana for sharing your very candid and personal Journey on having kids.

    I was privileged enough to witness you working with kids for 1 hour when I travelled to take your mini yogis course in Scottsdale last March. I can definitely say that you are definitely a “child whisperer “! The way you connected with children you had just met…and the way they responded to you was beautiful and amazing.

    Not only are you able to teach kids in such a special way; through your workshop you reminded me not to overthink everything and tap into my own inner child and imagination! Not to take things so seriously ☺️.

    Coming back to Canada right after that workshop…right on the brink of the quarantine coming ahead (March 9th). I honesty feel that I had the tools to make it through the following 3 months of inevitable home schooling thanks to that workshop! As a mom of a 6 and 8 year old living in a remote location, imagination and playfulness got us through the tough times! I credit your influence for those times and thought of you often.

    So I’d like to say thank you Shana! For your work, your inspiring drive and love for yoga, and your awesomeness with our kiddos.
    Even though my kids haven’t had the privilege of meeting and practicing with you, they have still benefited from your amazing spirit and influence. All home school days started with 15 mins of yoga…including “The lion sleeps tonight”

    I hope some day you can come back to Winnipeg. I would be happy to hook you up with my home shala. ✨

    Stay safe, healthy and happy,
    Erin Forsyth

    • Shana on August 12, 2020 at 2:00 pm08

      Erin, thank you so much for this deeply touching response! Truly, this made me choke up with tears…of joy!
      It was luck that allowed us to squeeze that one last training in before lockdown and I am so humbled you made the trip down.
      And I am so heartwarmed to hear it helped you and your family navigate this challenging time.
      So, thank you! And a big virtual hug until the day I make it back to Winnipeg!

  5. Sonal on August 25, 2020 at 2:00 am08

    ❤️ you are an inspiration

    • Shana on August 25, 2020 at 2:00 am08

      Thank you!

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