Kristy provides support for pregnant and laboring mothers and for transitioning families after the birth of their baby.See all posts »
The Lessons We Learn in Childbirth Offer Insights for Everyday Life
Our summer vacation this year is going to be spent with family back East. We’ll be away from home for 6 weeks, and have a huge list of people to see and things to do. The prospect of being with all of my family is so exciting, but the thought of having to parent for 4 ½ of those weeks on my own is daunting, as my husband will have to return after the first week and a half.
How do I prepare for that?
As I was packing I began thinking about the childbirth education classes that I teach. We talk about preparing for labor and delivery by understanding yourself. That means recognizing your needs, your desires, coping mechanisms and comfort measures that would work for you. As we explore these things, we discover real methods to help expectant mothers focus and stay grounded, calm, and comfortable. Your power as a birthing mother is revealed through this process of preparation, and more distinctly through laboring.
Once we understand the science of what is happening in our bodies and with our babies we can move on to learning tools to help us deal with the emotional and physical aspects of labor and delivery, as well as the psychological impacts of birth. This kind of exploration can give us tools to help ease the discomfort of labor and delivery, and help us acheive the calm and focus we need. The ease comes more naturally when we understand how to relax into the process, and learn to trust our bodies (and baby) to lead us.
Preparing for being away from home for an extended length of time, living in other people’s homes, and having to coordinate our daily schedules together is a lot like this. I have to first understand the needs of my children and myself and then be able to articulate our needs to those we are staying with, while at the same time understanding and respecting the needs of our hosts and family. Of course there are back-stories to take into account. Our present relationships and our history with those we are visiting will play a role in how we act with and react toward each other. It can affect us physically, mentally, and emotionally, just like birthing does. I need to prepare myself and my children to stay aware so that we can remain calm and enjoy the time we get to share with everyone.
It’s important to remain flexible throughout this process, as things may not always go the way we desire. Doing things like taking morning walks, making sure everyone gets their naps and some quiet time, structuring daily tasks for the kids, and taking breaks for myself to do yoga or just sit and breathe, read or have some much needed time with my sisters, brother and mother will be instrumental in making sure we all stay grounded.
There is a lot to orchestrate and prepare. However, just like birthing, I need to let go and let the process happen. When I can live more fully in the moment it becomes easier than trying to control everything. There will be a lot of things to take our attention away from our objective of sharing quality time with family and enjoying ourselves. These added stresses and stimulations can prove to be challenging, and will surely trigger tantrums and break downs.
As in labor, when we learn to focus and stay grounded, we can ease through the process.