Our daughter Zoe’s life is imbued with a deep and rich celestial mythology – one which began long before she was born. It’s hard to know where or how it began, but it’s like anything else: once you notice something, you start seeing it everywhere. Zoe and stars, stars and Zoe. I don’t even know what came first.
Before we decided to embark on the journey of trying to have a baby, I remember thinking that “if it’s written in the stars that we’re meant to have a baby, then I know we’ll have one.” When we found out we were pregnant with her, I thanked my lucky stars.
When I was pregnant with Z, I loved to listen to and sing to her Madonna’s beautiful lullaby “Little Star.” I felt like the luckiest mommy in the world when we conceived Z. That feeling got even stronger when the doctor confirmed we were pregnant – but weeks before we went to the doctor to be sure, we already knew. I literally felt her cells’ implantation in my uterus although I didn’t know at the time what the feeling was.
We also knew very early on, instinctively, that she was a girl – long before it was confirmed by ultrasound. We hedged our bets and thought up boy names too, just in case our hunches were wrong, but both of us felt a strong female presence. Let me rephrase that: we both strongly felt a presence that was both strong and female!
We chose for her the middle name Bellatrix, not because of J.K. Rowling’s magnificently ruthless character, but in spite of her. The name means “female warrior” in Latin and it perfectly captured the feeling we were getting from our little one in utero. Bellatrix is also that of the third brightest star in the constellation Orion – perhaps Z’s most tangible connection to the stars.
Z was an early and prodigious talker and storyteller. By the age of three, she enraptured us with tales of how she came to choose us as parents and be our daughter. She would point upwards with her little chubby hand as she told us how she came to us from the stars to live in my belly. She told us of others there in the stars, friends and family members – including her own three daughters who will come one day to live in her belly.
If reading this story gives you chills, believe me when I say it does me, too – even though I heard her tell it multiple times. Each time our young daughter told the story, I would ask her questions and she would answer with clarity and consistency – until her little toddler mind grew tired of the discussion and demanded a snack or nursies or to go outside and play.
I was awed enough by it to google and see if any other children had similar experiences. In so doing, I found a query by an author researching a book on this exact topic. I reached out with our story and shared what Z had told us, and heard back not long afterward that it would be included in the book upon publication.
Sure enough, Zoe was quoted – or rather, I was quoted as paraphrasing the story Z told us – in the book called “Memories of Heaven: Children’s Astounding Recollections of the Time Before They Came to Earth” by Dr. Wayne Dyer. You see, Z’s story is not all that unusual or unexpected, as countless kids around the world have reported similar experiences and memories.
Nineteenth-century British poet William Wordsworth expressed the idea that we gradually lose our intimate knowledge of heaven as we grow up, observing that “our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting” of our previous heavenly existence.
True to Wordsworth’s thought, by the age of six, Z had completely forgotten her memories of heaven. She knows the story and recalls me telling her that she came from the stars to live with us and be our baby, but she has no memory of that story actually originating with her.
And the thing is… I do remember believing that she came from the stars even before she told us she did. I remember feeling so grateful that this little being had come to us from the heavens to be ours. I clearly remember how sacred, blessed, mystical and miraculous that felt!
I remember feeling her move in my belly for the first time, long before the baby books said we’d be able to. We were babymooning in Maui and I was about 13 weeks along, listening to the Pacific ocean waves crashing on the beach beneath starry skies that I could see through our open window. The sounds of the surf were so soothing, and then I felt the strangest fluttering in the oddest location – just to the left side of my stomach. I knew instantly it was her, but it felt so small and delicate, like a frog or a butterfly rapidly moving in me.
I didn’t feel it again for another 7 weeks, until the 20-week mark when the books and doctor said we would. Many people told me it likely wasn’t her but more likely gas. However, when I felt her move the second time weeks later, and all subsequent times, it felt exactly the same. That’s when I knew for sure that it had been her that night in Maui, lulled by the stars and the waves into making her presence felt.
Since Z’s amazing soul transformed our lives, I constantly feel drawn to stars and galaxy imagery and literature. I loved Z getting to find her “very own star” while we visited the Kennedy Space Center in Florida earlier this year. I marveled when we heard the Olentangy Chamber Choir perform Jacob Naverud’s ethereal “Lunar Lullaby” last Christmas – a song commissioned by a couple for their daughter. I felt as if I could have written the lyrics myself:
The moon settles in the dusky sky.
The gentle eyes of the north star rest upon
your sleeping face and the heavens gaze upon you.
In this moment, I know;
You are not from the ground on which you tread, but of the stars.
You are my radiant, my celestial child.
As night is drown’d by morning you remain at my side,
accompanying the sunrise until night swells again across the sky.
Then, dreaming, you return to the stars.
For some time now, I’ve struggled to come up with a tattoo idea that will honor Z. I know it must have something to do with stars and so far that’s all I’ve got. As soon as I figure it out, I’ll make it happen! For now, every star mention in a song or movie or TV show is a reminder that I need to write down our beautiful star child’s story and find a way to honor her on my canvas. Maybe now that this story is on the page, I’ll finally be able to dream up the visuals to match.
Do you have any magical, mystical or mythological stories about your own star children? I can’t be the only one. I’d love to hear your stories in the comments below or over on Facebook.