Birth is an Invitation

“You are the only one who can make it happen for you. Others can support and encourage you, but you have to find the energy and power within in order to step into the center of your own life and take charge.” – Lynda Field

Birth is an invitation. During labor, time and space are no longer relevant. Minutes are hours and days and lifetimes…

You exist as a portal between two realms. The spiritual and the physical world unite within you. It’s always been this way. That power has always existed inside you.

As your body opens, everything shifts into alignment with your spirit. Everyone in the room can feel the energy change. They follow your lead as you guide the way into the deep. You are the trailblazer. Even though you’ve never been here before your body knows the way.

Birth brings us to the end of ourselves, to the bowels of our being. Not one of us discovers the depth of our soul in the same way. And when we think we’ve pushed ourselves as far as we can go, we dig just a little deeper. One last time. To that final place. Where we find the light within that no other person can show us. Where we literally birth ourselves anew.  

The Labor of Birth

The work of labor and delivery most simply put is to ‘open’ and to ‘let go’.

Labor is an opening and birth is a letting go. 

What makes this process so different for each woman is what they’re opening to and what they’re letting go of. I’ll give you a hint, it’s rarely the baby. By the time labor comes around, most women are well acquainted with the idea that their baby will soon be here. Instead, the baby acts as a tool or a catalyst as the mother grows into herself and prepares to be born anew.

Some mothers open to the unknown. Some open to receiving help. Some open to their own courage. Some even open to the reality that they’re not in control, no matter how bad they want to be. 

Similarly, mothers experience a letting go of exactly what is needed for their own birth to happen. Some let go of self limiting beliefs. Some let go of fear. Some let go of unhelpful but well-ingrained thought patterns. Some let go of the wheel…

Women labor and deliver not just in their bodies, but also in their minds, in their hearts, and in their souls.

Birth is not only about making babies

“Birth is not only about making babies. Birth is about making mothers — strong, competent, capable mothers who trust themselves and know their inner strength.” 

—Barbara Katz Rothman

It’s important that we pay attention to what’s showing up for us during pregnancy and birth. Even while trying to conceive. The journey of motherhood is a spiritual one first and foremost. As we begin this journey, many things rise to the surface within us. Examples might include; finding our voice, setting boundaries, learning patience, trusting our gut, standing in our truth, surrendering, or receiving help. All things designed to better equip us for the other side of birth.

See, where there is birth there is also death. And as the Mother, you are no longer who you once were. You can never go back to your old self. That self has to die in order for this one to be born anew. And with that birth, everything shifts. Your perspective. Your priorities. Your relationships…

Resistance to this transformation can be painful. It’s better to honor and trust the cycles of life. To surrender to what is. More to come…

Matrescence

I’m over five months pregnant and have been doing a ton of research on all things labor, delivery, newborns, and motherhood. But there’s one area in which research is lacking and that area is called, “Matrescence”. The term was coined by Dana Raphael, Ph.D. (1973) and it remains a largely unexplored area of study. In fact, I conducted a survey on my social media pages and 82% of women (mostly new mothers) had never even heard of the term!

In short, matrescence can be likened to adolescence. It refers to the process of becoming a mother. The developmental passage where a woman transitions through pre-conception, pregnancy, and birth, to the postnatal period and beyond. It recurs with each child. Of course, we all know that during pregnancy a woman’s body is changing rapidly and inside a tiny life form is taking shape to be a completely unique and individual human being upon birth. But what we often forget is that the woman herself is also changing rapidly and taking shape. Not just in a physical sense, but in a bio-psycho-social-political-spiritual way.

Yes, the mother gives birth to a child. But the child also gives birth to a mother.

Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh said it best, “The moment a child is born, the mother is also born. She never existed before. The woman existed, but the mother, never. A mother is something absolutely new.”

I’m currently working on a series about Matrescence, including a poem, which will be the first of its kind. I can’t believe no other artist has delved into this topic before! I hope that you’ll stay tuned and share this information with the women in your life. New mothers, expecting mothers, and women who want to be mothers. May we all be comforted in knowing that we’re not alone.

New Year, New Me

Do you want to live out the phrase, “New year, new me”?

Of course you do! You’re likely following my site because you’re interested in personal growth, and this means we’re continually trying to improve ourselves in order to be the best human beings that we can. (Which, of course, involves giving ourselves lots of grace. Grace on grace on grace. 🙂

So here’s my big insider tip: Make goals. 

Dig within. Write down what you want to happen in your life this year.

What do you want to accomplish? What good would you like to attract into your life? What blocks do you want to remove? Where do you want to grow? Where do you want to go? Be specific!

This is how you do your part. The rest takes care of itself.

See, goals give us direction. They send out a powerful message to the universe on a conscious and subconscious level. They serve as an affirmation for us, our life, and our ability to choose.

New year, new me? Make goals.

5 Ways to Avoid a Holidaze

The holidays are upon us and it’s the busiest time of the year! Maybe you dread this season because it’s stressful for you, or lonely, or triggering. Whatever the case may be, here’s 5 ways that you can ensure your holidays don’t become a holidaze. I hope everyone has a joyful thanksgiving!

1. Manage expectations. We can’t be everything to everyone. And we can’t be in multiple places at once. So once you have your plans in place, learn to say no. Try spacing plans out when you can, allowing yourself even more room to just be. 

2. Practice gratitude. Take time each day to recognize what you’re thankful for. Better yet, write it down. And watch how your day improves. Practicing gratitude can relieve stress and deepen joy, so why aren’t we doing this every day?!

3. Serve others. The holidays are a wonderful time to give back and help others who are less fortunate! Volunteer opportunities and donation needs abound. When we serve others, we’re less likely to become absorbed in our own problems or preoccupied with our own stressors. It’s a win win! 

4. Take time for yourself. Self care is always important, but especially so during the busy holiday season. Even taking just ten minutes a day for yourself, can do wonders for your mind. How are you supposed to be there for others, if you’re never there for yourself? 

5. Avoid hot topics. These past couple of years have left us more polarized than ever. The holidays are a time to come together, so don’t ruin them by bringing up hot topics. Everyone is allowed to have their own opinion, and it’s important for people to research, think critically, and form their own opinions. But the holiday table just isn’t the time or place to be sharing them. 

Making Hypotheses About Others

The way the brain works is this: We make a hypothesis about someone, and then our brain searches for information to verify our hypothesis.

For example, if we decide that someone is untrustworthy, our brain will find information to support that belief. In other words, we actively make our beliefs true.

If instead, we choose to believe that this same person is a flawed but good human being who is simply doing their best, we may find proof to back it up.

Be mindful of the hypotheses you’re making.

Balance

“Balance is created by equal forces pressing in on an object.”

This is well known in yoga where we practice balancing our bodies.

So what can we learn from our bodies?

Often, we try to find our balance by eliminating the pressures on our life. The demands of work, friendship, and family can all feel so heavy.

But what if all this pressure isn’t what’s throwing us off, but actually what’s holding us steady?

 

When You Start to Feel, Do.

Recently I have been reading, Carry On, Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing some of my favorite passages from her book, ones that I find especially wise and/or inspirational.

The below is paraphrasing but I think her point remains.

“When you start to feel, do… When you start to feel unloved, go find someone to offer love. When you start to feel unappreciated, go find someone to appreciate and acknowledge. When you feel unlucky, make yourself write down two recent blessings.”

The point is, to not let yourself wallow. This strategy of, “When you start to feel, do” is fascinating and new to me. It seems to be based on the underlying premise that we’re all connected, a belief which I hold dear. It makes sense to me as a concrete and tangible way to sidestep wallowing and overthinking ourselves into despair.

When you start to feel, do.

I Don’t Believe in Advice

I don’t believe in advice. So when someone comes to me and says, “I need advice,” what I think they’re really saying is, “I need love.”

And offering love looks a lot like being quiet, listening, empathizing, and letting someone talk long enough until he/she discovers that they already know the answer they’re looking for.

The thing is, we each hold the answers right inside of us. Sometimes, people simply need a safe place and some time to discover what they already know. So I think offering advice is essentially just trying to hold that space and time for folks in need.