So many of you wrote thought-provoking, inspiring essays on fertility unrelated to childbearing that it was really hard to choose winners. Of course, we all win when we share our innermost thoughts and wisdom with other women. That’s when we truly know that we are not alone; we’re growing together.

And now, drum roll please, the winners of the Fertile Goddess contest.

First Place: Barb Sasaki

Second Place: Lynn Frank

Third Place: Anne Wheeler

So we don’t have to scroll through comments to find the winning writing, I’m publishing them in this post. More pearls can be found if you take the time to peruse the comments after the last two blog entries.

Barb Sasaki writes:

At age 48 I find myself wondering. Wondering if when I wake up sweating if it is just because winter is coming to an end or if it is my own body entering a new season. I know that my mind and body are both changing but I decided many years ago to celebrate the heck out of my birthdays because I had lost a dear friend at the young age of 32 to breast cancer.

As I age, one of the most wonderful things I am doing is to explore my passions. I have always been a passionate person, and I do not mean that to equate with sexuality. But true passion. I don’t want to know what someone does for their JOB….but what do they LOVE to do? It is usually a very different answer…and much more interesting.

So I have been getting to know myself and ignore those voices from my past that said my sister was the artistic one, and the voice of my ex that boomed that I would never make it without him. If , after 18 years, he had only known me…truly known me, (*sigh*) he would have known that those words would only make me determined to not only survive but to thrive!

Today my life is more exciting than I ever remember it being. I have started my own business and have amazed myself with how well it is doing in this economy. For the first time in my life, that I recall, I have started allowing myself to dream, and dream BIG. Some days I even dare to say my dreams out loud! (gasp!) I find my mind is a fertile ground for ideas and designs.

The goddess I could relate to most is Sri Lakshmi. She shows how beauty comes from within and how through diligence we can rise through the mud of adversity to flourish like the lotus. She is also the patroness of lofty goals which surprised me a bit because I thought that was my job! ha!

I also love the fact that she is the goddess of prosperity and wisdom because I believe that when you do find and follow your passion, and work really hard, the rest will work itself out. There I go dreaming out loud again!

Lynn Frank shared:

Yes. A Menopause Goddess can be and is fertile, because one cannot exist and without change and growth. And growth cannot happen without being "planted" in something that nourishes you in some way. While entering the peri-menopause phase of my life this winter, I learned that I was grounded and fertile in ways that I had not known and could not anticipate. Facing my fears about, what appeared to be, the death of my libido, the inability of my body to regulate its own temperature, my loss of control maintaining a weight I was comfortable with and the simple assurance that I could get through each day looking professional (not flustered and drenched), made me realize this.

At first I was frightened. What was happening to me? I had always eaten well, exercised, been careful about what I put in my body! Then I was angry. How dare my body do this to me! How could I possibly work any harder at taking care of it? Why is what I’m doing no longer enough?

Then I accepted. That is when I first felt the fertile ground beneath my feet. And that is when the new growth began. I grew in the knowledge of other wise women who had been there, each stepping forward to calm me with assurances that I would not have to follow my mother’s path to hormone replacement, breast cancer and disaster. Assurances, as one woman put it that: "I got through it. You will too." The quiet patience these women had with me, and themselves, spilled over to my soil and made it more fertile and able to nourish me then it had before.

I grew by celebrating what had been, accepting what is in this moment and realizing that this new phase signaled that something more was to come. The understanding that, what waits for me down the road is entirely up to me, was the largest part of this growth segment. Though I learned that I cannot always control all the small things in my life that I once thought were important, I was learning that there were other things that had more validity–that were more genuine–that I now valued and focused on. In these short months, peri-menopause has taught me that I am strong, capable of change, able to learn greatly from other women, have a depth of flexibility I didn’t realize and that my relationships with those I love, those I can help and things I enjoy are deeper because of the fertile ground I now find beneath my feet.

The results have been a deeper, closer relationship with the man I love, a supportive affection for my daughter who is leaving the nest (the panic of losing her is gone,) a renewed calling to reach out to others with volunteer projects I have enjoyed in the past and a new dedication to my personal goals and dreams.

After a 20-year break, I am once again a long-distance runner and preparing for my first 5k race: the Susan G. Komen "Race for the Cure" to be held on Mother’s Day. This new fertile ground has led me back to a sport that allows me solitude, reflection and the excitement of achieving a goal. So yes, I am believe that Menopause Goddesses can be the most fertile seeds in the earth. I intend to see just how tall I can grow.

Anne Wheeler wrote:

I related to Benzaiten immediately, bec/ I have always been a fierce protector. I am the eldest of 10 children and this has always been my role. I am also a nurturer and took the greatest pleasure in being a mother, but the dragon slayer comes first. I grew up in the desert and so always felt an affinity w/ water, and ached for the ocean through my first 18 years. I now live in a wonderful area, 15 mi from the sea. I’m not always eloquent, except when I write. I still nurture people as a nurse practitioner, and I’m trying to become more like Quan Yin and Lakshmi, and Yoga is my favorite spiritual practice. But I can’t change too much after 56 yrs. Thank you for helping me see myself as still fertile!!

Just because the contest is over doesn’t mean we don’t have more to share or ruminate on regarding our own fertility. I, for one, am going to keep this in the forefront of my mind and heart for those times when I feel non-creative, unmotivated, and "infertile". Thanks to all the goddesses who responded and all who supported them.