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What Looking for Love and Birthing a Baby Have in Common

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Childbirth's a lot like finding a marriage material mate: some pain, and then bliss.

There are so many women I care deeply about —both friends and clients — who are holding themselves back from bringing love into their lives. Are you one of them? Are you saying "I want a fabulous man in my life" and "I know I'm a catch," yet not doing much to actually reach your self-described all-important goal? Are you doing the same routine each day, expecting things to be different? Are you staying closed in your head and your heart, unwilling to learn to better understand and love men...and yourself? If that's you, I can bet you haven't found him because of "Fear of Fill-in-the-blank." We all have different fears, but it comes down to the same thing: a big wall between us and what we want in life. And for you, it is to love and be loved.

Well, the New Year is starting. Let's face it, girls; the clock is ticking. I'm here to encourage you to get laser-focused on this goal and go for it. And the best way I know how to help you do this is to help alleviate your fears.

That's where childbirth comes in. (Stay with me on this one.)

I have no biological children of my own, so childbirth is kind of a foreign concept to me. One thing that's always stood out about the process is how a woman could be in such incredible pain and suddenly…POOF! She was A-Okay. It seems that once a gorgeous child enters the world, women forget both the pains of pregnancy and the horrors of childbirth. I can only guess it's because of the strength of their love for that child.

That describes exactly how I feel about dating and finding love. I was reminded of this last weekend as Larry and I shared two distinct but telling experiences.

On Sunday Larry and I were uploading images into iPhoto and spontaneously spent over an hour going through our honeymoon pictures, reliving our wonderful wedding and honeymoon. (It WAS amazing!) We took the opportunity to remind ourselves how lucky and loving we are. I kept thinking that it was such hard work to find this man, but now that I have it's changed my life...forever and for the better. Meeting him is truly the best thing that has ever happened to me in my entire life. It was through this lens that we made some decisions about where to go together in 2012.

On the flip side, the next day we moved my mother from an apartment she's been in for five years into a residential facility. It was a very emotional day for me and my brother, but Larry was right by my side the whole time. He worked his butt off physically by helping organize and move my mother's billions of things,. On top of that he really understood the emotional difficulty of the situation. He supported me even though there were multiple times he was frustrated beyond words at our slow pace. His patience with me is beyond what I should expect. And then he let me whine about the experience the whole way home. And most days thereafter. (I'm pretty sure I'm done. Thank you , honey.)

These two experiences—one that was heartwarming and one that was horrible—emphasized how incredibly fulfilling it is for me to have found a great grownup relationship with a good man.

This brings me back again to how dating and looking for love is so very much like birthing a baby. Now I know the deep pleasure of having meaningful love in my life and the comfort of having a life partner who lets me share devotion and trust in both good times and bad. It's incredibly fulfilling, and it's somehow managed to essentially erase the pain and frustration of dating I endured for almost 30 years. (Until I figured out how to enjoy it and meet the right men.)

That's right. There's no more anger toward the guys who failed to phone for a follow-up date. There's no more bitterness at the guy who only wanted sex. The hurt of being alone on the big holidays is a distant memory. My loneliness, my hopelessness, my frustration; they're all gone, and replaced by this incredible gratitude that it all led me to exactly where I am.

I know that it took a lot of effort on my part to grow and change so I could find a great guy. I had to be courageous and overcome a lot of fears. I had to experience some painful moments. But in retrospect, it was totally worth it…because it led me to this magnificent man and this wonderful life helping others —which is precisely where I always wanted to be.

I'm not one for New Year's resolutions, but it's time to decide what you want to do and make a commitment to do it. Are you ready to feel the momentary pain* to get what you've always wanted in your life? What are two things you'll do this week to start on the path to finding your loving life partner?

* The truth is that it is mostly perceived pain. Finding your loving life partner really doesn't even have to be painful...but that discussion is for another time.

Bobbi Palmer, founder of Date Like A Grownup, is an internationally recognized Expert helping women over 40 find grownup, lasting, passionate love with the right man. As a first time bride at 47, Bobbi shares in her free video series "The 4 Devastating Mistakes Women in their Search for Love" at DateLikeaGrownup.com.

This article was originally published at Date Like A Grownup. Reprinted with permission from the author.

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