Even though I wanted to be a mother more than anything during my pregnancy, I was miserable.
Looking back now, I believe I lost myself during those nine months. And what I mean by that is I forgot why I wanted so desperately to become a mother in the first place. Initially, my experience had been so positive. I had felt so elated but those feelings soon turned to a combination of anxiety and fear and I felt like I was being pulled into a dark place.
If you’ve ever read any of my previous Elephant Journal articles then you’ll know that my journey into motherhood has not only been unconventional but also challenging to even get there in the first place.
With the notion that I was soon becoming a “single mother,” I knew I needed to build up a loving and supportive community around me. I invested in the services of a doula. I would love to share more about the value of having a doula—and perhaps in a future article, I will get that opportunity—but for now, let me tell you, this has been the best investment I’ve ever made.
When I finally found myself in labour, my fantasy and reality were two entirely different scenarios and one that I hadn’t expected.
Had I not invested in my Doula, my birthing experience could and would have been extremely different. However, I was fortunate enough to birth my boy naturally (as I wanted), but trust me, toward the end, I was all up for a C-section (Caesarean section).
The whole experience of birthing my beautiful boy has been both magical and incredibly painful. It’s only now since having time to process the whole experience that I’m able to put it into words and realise this was the biggest lesson of my life—and one that I want to remember and share with you.
Before I share with you this huge lesson, I need to first explain a little about me and my life. Perhaps you’ll be able to relate to me, perhaps you won’t, but I strongly believe some of you will resonate with this way of being.
My whole life has been about surviving, fighting, and pushing against the tide that we know as “life.”
For 40 years, I’ve lived with a feeling and way of being that, at the time, I believed always served me. But the truth and reality are that it has taken me further away from what I truly want and, ultimately, who I am.
I’ve been the girl who has “made things happen.” I’ve pushed, I’ve pulled against the tide of life, and I’ve fought it with the heart of a lion. How has this left me? On my knees!
I’ve suffered at the hands of my own actions.
When I think back to my labour, it kicked my arse and taught me a lesson.
Just like my personal life, I had a plan for my birth. It was an expectation that I envisioned unfolding. But giving birth kicked my arse.
I approached my labour in the same way I approached my life. I was willing to barter to avoid this process that was unfolding. I wanted to duck underneath the pain and go over the top of it. I was willing to do anything because I was damn sure I was not going to experience what I did.
I believe, in life, we choose to avoid our pain through social media, relationships, drugs, and alcohol; we basically choose a path to take us away from suffering and that’s how we’re wired.
Yes, I had options and most of them involved still being in pain, but maybe, just maybe, they would take the edge off. I knew that if I chose any of those options, it was not for a medical reason but simply because I needed to avoid the pain at any cost.
Had I been on my own without a support system in place, things would have turned out wildly different.
After 15 hours of writhing around in pain, vomiting, and begging for mercy, things started to shift. I felt a letting go deep within me. Yes, I still hated the surges and the immense pain, but I relinquished. Without realising it at the time, I handed my body, along with my trust, over to God, the divine, the universe—and that’s when I entered the final stages of my birth.
Within a matter of hours, I was in the last stages of labour. I left my thinking mind behind and gave my pain over. This led me to an animalistic behaviour that allowed me to make feral noises. I didn’t push; I didn’t need to.
Shortly after this transition, my baby was born. The experience was so powerful that I cannot put it into words. It will stay with me for life. I feel eternally grateful to have experienced it.
This experience stayed with me. And days later, having processed it a little more, I had an aha moment.
I realised that, throughout most of our lives, we avoid our pain instead of exploring it and being still with our suffering. We run away and choose to take action and do anything but face it.
If we could learn another way, we’d experience something quite powerful and valuable.
So I ask you, the next time you feel that your heart is broken after a loss—before you try to fix it and put yourself back together again—choose to sit with it.
Trust in yourself and your ability without intervention. Hand your trust over to the universe and see what you’re able to birth at the end of it.