Giving Birth – and other times you need to let go and go with the flow!
I am soooo excited!!!! My good friend has just gone into labour 🙂 This will be a friend’s birth with a difference though, because she’s asked me to be there … crumbs! I’ve never been at anyone else’s birth except my own 3 children … and myself of course, though I can’t remember very much about that … childcare has been suitably rearranged, clients put on hold and I’ve made sure to have a good healthy lunch – anyone would think I was preparing to give birth myself! Now I’m sitting here ‘on call’, and whilst waiting what else would I be doing but blathering away at the keyboard – I guess I’m a true blogger at heart.
Now anyone who knows me well will know that I could go on forever about my beliefs regarding the intricate details of pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding etc etc but never fear, I will hold off, for the sake of those who have a problem with anything blood or bodily fluid related, and of course for any gentlemen reading this, a percentage of whom would scurry quickly in a different direction or faint gallantly at the thought – you’re safe! You may read on indignantly and then put me right in the comments section below with your incredible stories of the fastest drive of your life to the hospital delivery room, or how you videoed the whole thing from up close right until the moment you got kicked in the face, ok? (I know, I know, I’ve set myself up for it now )
Now where was I … ah yes, birth. You know, in the personal development field we tend to make a big deal out of the idea that each of us needs to be in charge of our lives. Oft repeated phrases come to mind such as- ‘If you don’t make a plan for your life, someone else will’ or of course ‘Failing to plan is planning to fail’. As a life coach I routinely encourage my clients (and anyone else who will listen) to live with forethought and act with deliberation. Somewhat like James Bond to take calculated risks as opposed to irrational ones. To ‘begin with the end in mind’. To do yearly planning and weekly planning, and to take time to decide on three things you want to achieve each morning. And I strive to do each of these things myself. So it may come as a surprise when I wholeheartedly suggest there are occasions when you might be best off chucking your planning in the nearest river and going with the flow. Giving birth can be one of them. A wise woman friend of mine, Chamutal – and I’m giving her a shout-out here because I think she’s brilliant – see below – has often said to me that “you give birth how you live life”. I think that is true on many levels. I think that in both it is important to plan for what you want, to point yourself in the right direction for getting what you want, and to make sure you set up your environment so that what you want is possible and can get to you. After that there comes a point where you just have to let go.
Control freaks will be tearing their hair out at the thought … ‘What?’ you might say ‘You mean I can’t control every little detail all the way to the end?’ Nope. You see life is rather like giving birth, too. You can plan till the cows come home but at the end of the day you can’t control the weather, or other people, or chance itself. You can maybe guide life, funnel or magnetise it along a certain route, to a certain degree, but at the end of the day the world around you is going to do its thing, and blow you off course on occasion. At that point you could waste your energy yelling at the wind or you could just get back on course. Sometimes you do your best, and you still can’t go in the direction you think you need to. Sometimes the only thing left in your control is your decision as to how you are going to react and what meaning you are going to give events.
It all sounds a bit ominous, doesn’t it. So let me tell you a little secret … sometimes letting go of what you think needs to happen is the one key that unlocks progress again. For example if you want to get into a certain training course and you fail to get in every time you apply, the point at which you eventually let go and say ‘you know what I’ll do that other course instead’ might be the defining moment of your life. Maybe you wanted to be a teacher, and you ended up being a plumber … you could find that you’re a jolly good plumber, get amazing job satisfaction, very little homework, and will almost certainly be richer too!
Sometimes you might not even have a plan B. Sometimes you just need to let go and forget about the thing entirely. Not even wait for it. Sometimes, dare I say it, I think you need to give up. Give up trying to direct the course of events at all, and just surrender to chance or a force bigger than yourself. Let’s be clear, I’m not advocating this as a general attitude to life. I mean once you’ve done all you can and can go no further under your own steam, once you’ve really, deeply and completely exhausted all your options, I think in those cases it is not only ok to give up, I would say it is required. And then something incredible happens. It’s as though existence steps in saying ‘Phew! She finally got out of the way! Now let’s give her what she really needed all along.’ And you suddenly find that things start working again. Like a creaky old cartwheel that has finally got some grease, life starts to move forward again, and you get everything you ever needed, almost effortlessly.
Without quite getting on my soapbox, birth-wise, I can tell you that I think a lot of the work of Michel Odent, a well known voice in the natural childbirth movement. I heard him speak once, well before I gave birth to any of my children, and remember him saying something to the effect that childbirth is something the animal body does pretty much by itself if you give it half a chance. His suggestion was to surrender to the animal side of things, and let your body do what it needs to do, and whatever it needs to do, without letting your mind get in the way.
I think life is the same – sometimes you just have to surrender and let things happen. Sometimes you have to get out of your own way. When you let go, a beautiful healthy baby pops out!
So this week, here’s to surrender and letting go –
Now I’m off to go give birth with my friend – wish us luck!
Update: … and we have a lovely baby boy, Thank Gd! My inspirational friend made light work of the whole thing. It was a privilege to be by her side, and I am profoundly grateful for the experience.
Quick event plug: www.dashofsparkle.com/cocktails_and_consciousness.html
If you are considering joining us for our inspirational ‘girls night out’ event, Cocktails and Consciousness on Thursday evening 9th February- there’s no time like the present! Please follow the link above for more information and to book. Tickets are £15 each, and include one cocktail. If you let me know you have booked as a result of reading this blog, you can claim your complementary life coaching session with me too – 30 mins by phone or skype.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michel_Odent – about Michel Odent
Chamutal Isaacs – is a seasoned doula, teaches natural fertility awareness, natural gender selection and provides coaching sessions on all things fertility, birth and breastfeeding related. She is a well-spring of knowledge in my very personal opinion and you can reach her on 0044 (0)7903 268 551 or at firstname.lastname@example.org .