I lay in bed the other night, unable to fall asleep. If I did fall asleep, it wasn’t for long. I lay, mostly submerged in my thoughts: dark, disconnected, worried, and terribly mean thoughts. It seemed as if my inner critic had been given an intensity enchantment. She and I have been together for a lot of years. I know her pretty well. And she felt different. An intensity enchantment is the only description that fits.
Through physical tossing and turning and the mental churning (and churning), a moment of respite would arise. Some part of me would remember to breathe, to tap into my inner resource, to tap into Source around me. A part of me would chose to imagine all of the people in my life who are grounded and strong. That part would call on their strength and on the strength of our connection.
And then the moment would pass. My churning thoughts would return. But that part of me that had remembered to breathe stayed with me. With one part spinning around, the other part remained steadfastly watching, holding, witnessing, accepting, and trusting. Even as my inner critic intensified, my ability to hold steady in the storm remained.
And so the night went. A part of me was struggling. And a part of me watching and breathing and watching and breathing, calling out for Source and support whenever I could. Eventually, I slept.
I woke thinking about birth. I have given birth twice. Each one differently intense. One was slow, full of starts and stops, challenging my trust in myself and the process. The other was a non-stop sprint of intensity, challenging my capacity to hold still. Each reflected a different aspect of what I was able to bring to my tossing, turning, painful mind of the night before.
My birth lessons: Calling out for Source and support when I am struggling Bringing absolute presence and patience to the struggle Knowing that the struggle is worth it
The themes of my first birth were desire, disappointment, patience and trust. I wanted to meet this human so badly. Even though I had sat with women as they birthed…even though I knew that birth can take a long time and can progress unsteadily (which mine did), my first birth rocked my faith. During transition, I went to the “I can’t” place. I can’t do this. I can’t go on. I didn’t know how to trust.
From this place, I made a choice. I lay in bed, gripped in fear, and called on every woman who had ever given birth (living and deceased), every woman who had just given birth moments before, every woman laboring right at that moment. I called on their strength to fortify me, to bolster my trust. They met me, held me. I felt a surge of supportive energy come. And, my water broke.
Trust came, swept me up. I moved to the warm tub and several pushes later, Isabella swam to me.
My second birth. Andre. My boy who was so ready to be born that he came early (at over 9 pounds) and furiously. During his birth, there was no easy-to-find space in between contractions. They came one on top of each other, and they were big. I have described his birth (which lasted less than two hours) in terms of being caught in the ocean, tossed on the waves of a huge storm, unable to get a breath.
If my first birth taught me to reach out for resource, my second taught me to bring absolute presence to every moment of challenge. I never knew when a contraction would ease so I had to be fully aware. With that awareness, I could gauge when the intensity diminished and an opportunity to re-charge would present itself.
A part of me watched and waited even as my uterus contracted non-stop. I knew that what felt like forever was not forever. There would be a gap, a space, an ease. And I would be ready for it. So, I struggled and watched, struggled and watched. And when the opportunity arose to take a full and deep and rejuvenating breath, I took it.
One hour and a half-long contraction later, he was in my arms.
I am profoundly aware that this current intensity is another birth. When my kids were born, I knew several things about the outcome. They would be children; they would be my children. Who they would be and how they would change my life was a mystery. That they would open and expand my view of the world, that they would change me for the better, these things were never in question.
And so it is now. The mystery is deeper. I no longer know what is being born. It won’t be children this time. But something is coming, something is stirring. The struggle is a harbinger of birth. So, I treat it with the same reverence.
I bring absolute presence and call on Source and my many avenues of support.
That it will open and expand my view of the world, that it will change me for the better, this is never in question.