There comes a time when you’re moving from one phase of your life to another, when it becomes inevitable that something has to shift, and you become painfully restless.
You’ve hit that time when how you’ve been living your life becomes so uncomfortable, the thing you’ve been avoiding seems the better choice.
It’s raw with emotion, it’s unbearable to be in your body, it makes you nauseous and it’s fucking scary!
Just like labour.
The first stage of labour is when your body works to open and clear the passage for the baby. When things are ready, you move from dilation mode to the 2nd stage: pushing that baby out into the world. Between the two you hit transition.
I remember so clearly from the birth of my 2nd son: I was so distraught with the pain, nothing I could do, no position I tried, helped. I hurtled myself aimlessly around the living room of our apartment, throwing myself onto the couch like the over-dramatic heroine of a bad Victorian novel. I crawled around on the floor begging for relief. With my 3rd, I secretly wished someone would whack me over the head with a baseball bat.
Why does it have to be so terrifying?
The fear is two-fold: partly it’s the inevitability of the situation. You’re at that point of no return – there’s been no going back from the moment that little embryo latched itself so snuggly into your womb.
What’s really scary, though, is that you’re barrelling full tilt into unknown territory and a life you never knew. Your life will never be the same again, for better or for worse. Even if you’ve had babies before, each one is completely different. Not to mention, women have died doing what you’re about to do.
In life, the point of no return happens with a commitment. Consciously or not, a seed starts to grow in your psyche – in your soul. A dream you want to fulfill, a relationship you know needs to grow or end, or the unavoidable metamorphosis of your body as it ages.
The decision to embrace and move forward with this transformation is no longer a choice. Scary and uncertain as it is, the one thing you do know is that the life you’re now living doesn’t feel right. Maybe it’s become a little too snug like that old pair of jeans you wear out of habit, or maybe the decision gets made for you when the rug got ripped out from under you.
Something’s got to give – you either buy a new pair of pants (consciously alter your life with a new career, listen to the little symptoms that have been nagging you to take better care of yourself, improve or leave your marriage) or the zipper blows out while you’re walking happily along a downtown street (you get fired, you have a health crisis, your husband leaves you for his young assistant).
Once that decision is made. Once you make that commitment, there’s no choice but to move forward into the unknown.
The pain of transition – in life as in labour – lies in the resistance to the process.
When delivering a baby, the wisest thing you can do at this point is get very quiet.
Turn inward, connect to the baby who’s likely just as freaked out as you are right now, and trust your resources to get you through this birth safely. You’ve spent months eating right and tending to your needs. You’ve read and listened and shared with friends and professionals. It’s time to trust your body and trust your midwife.
Resisting the pain of the movement you’re in and flailing around looking for some miracle solution only intensifies the pain.
All that resisting and flailing only dissipates your energy and puts you at greater risk of hurting yourself.
When giving birth to your new life, the wisest choice you can make is to focus inward, connect to the woman who will emerge from this chaos and trust that you have what it takes – in your body and heart, and trust in your support system. (Oh and breathe!)
When a woman comes to me for help, it’s because the status quo with her body has become too uncomfortable and she’s ready to take the necessary steps to renew both her physiology and her life.
My role in that regard becomes that of a doula. A woman in service of other women, offering practical advice and the emotional support she needs to move through the chaos of the transition safely. Using the language of her body as a guiding light, we access the needs and desires of her soul, to find the solutions for her body and her life. I hold her hand and stand witness to the process. You might call me a soul doula.
In the 3rd stage of labour – the afterbirth – a good midwife feeds the new mother a nourishing snack, full of the electrolytes and protein she needs for recovery. She will bathe her and let her sleep – the coming days and weeks will be a challenge, at least she will start out feeling held and ready to take it on.
Once you’ve landed in your new life, do the same.
Rest, recharge, eat nourishing food and find help where you can. The new road is long and may have a few bumps; allow yourself to start with a hand to hold.
If you want me to be that hand, click here and we’ll get started.