There is so much we can learn from birth. It really is a microcosm of the macrocosm of life.
From conception and pregnancy, through to labour, birth and the early days of parenthood, the creation of new anything is a spiritual initiation…it can open us to deeper wisdoms if we allow it to.
Conception can be unconscious or conscious, but either way, once we accept it and decide to allow it to run it’s natural course, we are saying a big fat ‘Yes’, to life.
And man, do we have absolutely no idea what we are in for…
No longer are we on our own- we are carrying a baby, and in life this can be a creative baby- an idea that is allowed to settle, take root and begin to gestate.
We can fully enter into the process of pregnancy if we allow ourselves to connect with the growing life inside us, tuning into something that has life but is yet unformed in its fullness.
We can feel the potential growing, day after day, but we can’t yet see the finished product.
So, we imagine it.
‘Carrying’ on the inside anything- whether it be a baby or an idea- is a time of dreaming, connecting, tuning in and relating. And also planning, sorting, organising and preparing.
We are holding our babies physically, but they- physical or creative- are also holding us– emotionally and spiritually….acting as a bridge into the unseen world, a realm of possibility we can’t see with our physical eyes, but can feel very keenly with our hearts.
These impressions can come through to us as inspirations, urges, cravings, new insights.
And new unpredictability!
Our ‘babies’ can also bring up our deepest fears, limiting beliefs, insecurities and all the numbed-out parts of ourselves…all in an effort to coax us into releasing them so to ensure the clearest possible path for their safe delivery into the physical world.
We’re already, at this point, learning about surrender…going with the flow. We’re learning to ‘listen’ not with our ears but instead with our intuition about what body positions, foods, approaches and attitudes this new ‘baby’ needs in order to grow best.
We tune in, we listen and we allow.
And we sleep…lots!
Then, after our creative or physical baby has reached full maturity on the inside and is making ready to enter the world, we experience the first signs of early labour.
An emotional turn.
Maybe waters breaking.
Contractions coming on for sure.
And knowing in our bones that it’s time.
Time to prepare the birthing room, whether we’re ready or not!
Then, early labour arrives.
Contractions at this point are irregular. Our body is slowly gearing up, our baby starting it’s journey into the world. Easing us into things, so to speak.
We can, at this point, still continue functioning. We can speak coherently, move about fairly easily, get the chores done. Nothing too demanding or strenuous but simple tasks can be completed. But, all the while our consciousness is getting ready to move into a vastly different realm.
The realm of birth.
Over hours or days, we gradually come to a point where the contractions become more regular, roughly every 5 minutes and lasting at least a minute long…in birth this means the lifting up and tightening of the uterus and subsequent widening of the cervix. In life, the contractions take the form of emotional tightenings of our hearts and the subsequent opening up of our minds.
At this point it’s hard -if not impossible- to speak during a contraction for the birthing mother, and in life it’s nigh on impossible to think clearly during one…all available energy is spent breathing through the intensity of our emotional contractions.
Things feel closed in, tight, intense. And happen without our conscious control.
Between the contractions though are rest periods, a time where we can recover and regroup in preparation for the next contraction.
The more we consciously work ‘with’ rather than ‘against’ these uterine or heart contractions, the more ‘effective’ they are. They don’t hurt less, but they get more done in less time…the tightenings more efficient, the rests deeper, more resourced, blissful even.
In birth our bodies produce natural pain-relief chemicals after contractions, encouraging us to go more and more inward with each rest period- not to zone-out or escape- because we know we gotta get this baby out!- but to resource ourselves as fully as possible in order to bring more of ourselves into the next contraction. The rests- if really entered into with our full focus and attention and gratitude- can be experienced as totally blissful- small slices of heaven between the often hellishness of the contractions between them.
As we approach ‘transition’, we have gone as far as we can go -physically in birth or emotionally in life- with the rhythmical and predictable nature of ‘established labour’. Now, life wants our conscious mind completely out of the way.
And with it go the candles, relaxing music, and all traces of ladies or gentlemen from the birthing room.
Now, it’s time for the women and men to get red, hot and holy ’cause Transition is in the house.
‘Transition’ in birth is when the cervix dilates from 7-10cm. Contractions now are less like rhythmic sets of predictable waves, and more like chaotic messy surges hell bent on breaking us wide open.
Rests are few and far between. Contractions are back-to-back and even overlap each other, doubling up like monster waves, threatening to take us out.
In life, transition is much the same.
We slowly lose contact with our conscious minds as we begin getting ruthlessly tossed about on the high seas by emotional waves that seem to peak up out of nowhere and take intensity to a whole new level.
And we thought we were in pain before!
We are forced – slowly but surely – into the realm of our subconscious minds and deep into our physical bodies- right where birth wants us. Here, we start to- have to- let go of any remaining safety nets- what we ‘think we know’, ‘our perceptions’, ‘breathing!’, just to survive each moment. We let go and we Surrender with a capital S to the process that is now not only happening to us, but that we are becoming one with.
In transition, because there’s so little time to breathe between sets, & the waves are so intense, we get to a point where we either think, say, yell or scream, ‘I can’t do this’.
And that’s exactly where life wants us.
This point of, ‘I can’t do this’, ironically means that, we are.
We have surrendered and birth- life- is having her wild wicked ways with us.
No longer are we sitting upright with eyes closed on our meditation cushions or doing yoga in our pretty spot in nature, and the birthing mother has by this point completely abandoned all decorum -and usually all her clothing- and is on all fours grunting, cursing and looking wildly into the eyes of her partner, lover, doula or spirit guide with searching eyes looking for some kind of….something.
What is it we are looking for in these moments?
She’s not looking for quick fixes, or escape, or answers, or explanations. She’s after stability. A solid safe set of eyes to lock onto. Something thats not moving about so wildly like she is- something to ‘hold’ her while she goes under and into and beyond with birth….to make sure she comes back!
A pair of eyes that are strong and brave enough to lock with her own and say, ‘I’m here, I’m with you, it’s safe to let go, I’ve got you. Now, back to the task at hand’.
This pair of eyes in birth, or in life, hold the power and potential- the privilege– to make or break a birthing mother, or a person in life transition.
They offer solidarity & sureness and state calmly but confidently, ‘It’s ok and good and time to completely surrender, you are safe and I am here’, or they can reflect fear and whimper, ‘stop, you should be scared because I sure as hell am, don’t go any further- or if you’re silly enough too- I’m outta here’.
(If you are a ‘doula’ in someone’s time of transition in birth or life- get really good with your own fears and ideas about transitions, change, growth, breakdowns-to-breakthrough- because a single glance at this time of heightened physic and emotional and everything-sensitivity says a million words and sends a powerful message to either forge through or back-out.)
‘Transition’ is often the hardest part of birth, and life.
It’s when we exceed our current set points- emotionally, spiritually, psychically.
In birth our bodies physically need to open more than they have ever done before.
In life, we need to venture beyond our current emotional and spiritual comfort zones, mark new territory and claim more of our inner land in order to be more for our incoming creations…this is scary shit!
We require the pain (which if we’re smart we’ll soon start relating to as ‘intensity’) in order to force us into an altered state of consciousness.
Because we can only grow, deepen, change in a different atmosphere.
This ‘atmosphere’ is the altered state of consciousness that transition opens us to.
And in birth and life transitions, when we’re giving life to newborn anythings, great change is needed. Huge growth required.
We need to dig deeper to strengthen our roots.
And the faster we get the hint and our heads out of the way, the faster life can direct us as she needs to in order to pave the way for delivery.
We’re moving instinctually now. Emotion coursing through us. Breathing deeply. Fully embodied and painfully and pleasurably physical.
Transitions break us. But they break us open. And in this way, they really do ‘make’ us.
There’s no room and there’s definitely no time for egos or control, for candles or sweet music or people-pleasing. There’s barely enough time to breath! This time is about directing every ounce of energy, attention and focus we have to the job at hand, feeling fully into the intensity and riding the current wave we are on…
…not reflecting over the one thats just rolled us or worrying about the one that’s already rising up in the distance- but just breathing through whatever wave has us now.
Resistance is futile -and dangerous -in these conditions. And here the old adage, ‘what we resist, persists’, holds very true. The longer and harder we fight against life here, the more likely it is that we will run out of the fuel and fire and fierceness we need to get through this stage. And the less likely we are to come out of it holding all the gifts Transition offers us for our use back in our surface world.
When time has caused to have any meaning, when we haven’t slept for days, when hunger is a distant memory, we suddenly ‘come to’.
We’re back in the land of the living.
We look around us, exhausted, beaten up, ground-down- way down- and see we are in the birthing room -and we’re not dead! – and there’s our team around us quietly talking to each other.
In life too, we may suddenly wake up one morning and the emotional surf seems to have abated, our hearts oddly light, our appetite back. Our minds thinking coherently and the clock ticking again.
We touch wood.
We’ve made it through transition. 10cm.
Time for a baby.
We could ‘push’. But really who has the energy at this point folks. We’d still have a baby at the end of it, but tear we may and unnecessary stress may be caused to both us, and our babies- creative or physical.
And if we’ve learnt anything from surrender- pushing is sheer madness.
So, we allow…
We breath our babies out.
Slowly, gently, consciously. Waiting for the next contraction and working with the waves now to ride each beautiful formation of surging water slowly toward the shoreline.
No rush though, that shorelines in sight and not going anywhere.
There’s time enough to take it all in.
Here, at delivery, to a degree, we say ‘when’.
And we continue to breathe through even the ring of fire…that point where we are at our most open…and now without the luxuriously of being in the trance-like state of transition- man, does Life never let up!
We are fully lucid, fully feeling, so much so it’s almost unbearable and we have the growing knowing that we’re about to meet this deeply familiar but completely new being any moment now.
Oh that’s right- this is all for a purpose!
We keep breathing.
Then, in a moment not-so-long-ago so-far-away, it arrives, skin-to-skin.
We’re holding Her. Him. Them. It.
Our physical baby. Our creative child.
A new emotional inner-reconciliation.
An enhanced psychic skill.
A much prayed-for spiritual understanding.
Whatever we’ve birthed, it’s arrived.
They are here. We are here. In this moment, together.
We’re feeling elation, exhaustion, shock, high emotion, deep peace- all simultaneously.
Gratitude, definitely gratitude.
Gosh, we still need that breath of ours even now to process all of this- this is some good shit!
We’ve done it. We’ve birthed our new baby or project but we’ve also birthed new levels of ourselves…we didn’t bank on feeling like a newborn too!
We’re feeling like it’ll be months until we find our feet with this new gig, but even so we also possess the natural calm confidence that we’re the mother or father to this child, we understand the responsibility is ours and that life has charged us with the protection of this new life and what’s more, trusts us with its true unfolding.
So, we must have what it takes.
So, now it’s baby steps- the two of us. Learning, growing, unfolding together. A reciprocal, fluid relationship built on the shared experience of an intense initiation, the dance of conception, pregnancy, labour & birth.
We’ve completed one huge process and now it’s time for new beginnings.
Do we have the energy?
Can we do this?
Where’s the map?
What about my ‘old’ life?
Who am I now?
All these questions float around us daily as we observe our new baby or project doing life on the ‘outside’, but they are all answered with one idea. One attitude. One approach.
We don’t surrender to anything outside of ourselves. We surrender to the relationship between us and our new creation…this third living dynamic that has a life and intelligence all it’s own.
And, we continue to simply breath.
We tune in. We listen. We follow our hunches. We take our knowings seriously. We ask for what we need. We choose our team wisely and instinctively- just like at birth- and we allow ourselves to change our mind last minute if we need to.
We are always allowed to change our mind!
We continue to create and adjust the environment around us wisely- conscious of this new life adjusting to the outside world. And we do the simple things like get enough sleep, eat well, be gentle with ourselves and remind ourselves we are doing a great job.
We got this!
And what’s more- and more important,
Life’s got us.
If you’d like to explore, work with, reflect on or de-brief any past or current birth or life experience or transition, please get in touch (contacts page) and we can tune in together. Re-visiting experiences that still cause dis-comfort or dis-ease in our current lives can allow us to go back and bring our breath into these moments, hear the story, learn what we need to learn, and also retrieve any gifts we may have left behind unopened. We can then enter more fully and peacefully into the present, and start really moving forward and enjoying new beginnings.