I learned everything I needed to know about motherhood before my first child was even officially born. Of course, I need to continually remember and deepen that learning, but it was all right there in those 72 hours of labor.
Yes, I said 72 hours. Of labor.
I started having regular contractions on a Saturday night, and my daughter wasn’t born until Tuesday night. We had planned to have the baby at home, as I have an irrational fear of hospitals and needles. We had the team in place—a fabulous midwife and doula. We had all the stuff—an inflatable hot tub in our living room, ample towels, pots of soup in the fridge for sustenance. We had everything except the baby.
Every time my contractions would start to intensify, they inevitably plateaued again. I walked. I climbed stairs. I went to a café and tried to do a crossword with my midwife. I ate spicy food. I think I even drank some castor oil. Nothing worked!
Nothing, that is, until I locked myself in the baby’s still-empty room and got quiet. I breathed. I focused. I relaxed. I had a full-on conversation with my inner wisdom, and that’s when things started to happen for real. My water broke. It looked like we were in the home stretch.
And then, I started to develop a fever. Fearing infection for me and the baby, we packed up and went to the hospital. The doctor started me on Pitocin and said if something didn’t happen soon, they’d have to do a C-section.
No pressure there, right? I shuddered at the thought of an IV, forget about surgery.
The very sweet nurse said to me, “We’ve started the Pitocin, why don’t we turn on the TV and you can watch American Idol and we’ll wait for the baby to come.” After three full days of contractions, this sounded very alluring to me—to just sit and wait and let the medicine do the work.
And then my marvelous doula said, “Or, we know you progress nicely when you’re quiet and alone. I could turn down the lights, Scott and I could go take a walk, and you could have a little time to yourself.”
As tempting as it was to zone out with American Idol, I chose option B.
Fast-forward 30 minutes, and I very nearly had the baby on my own before anybody else came in the room. Of course, everyone else did come back in the room—it seemed like there were 20 people in there, and with the crowd and the bright lights, my uterus got shy again. I lost momentum, but I didn’t lose my desire. At that point, I pushed through sheer force of will and sweet Lillian Frances was, at last, born.
The whole birth didn’t happen exactly as I planned, but it happened naturally–and only because I listened to myself.
As a Mom, there is so much information competing for your attention on the right way to do things. There’s also so much at stake, and so many little details to pay attention to. It’s not easy to stay connected to yourself, but what I learned in those 72 hours before I ever even held my baby was this:
The most important thing a Mom can do, for her own sake and everyone else’s, is to stay connected to herself.
It helps to have people supporting you, it helps to have the right ‘stuff’, but none of it matters if you’re not listening to your inner wisdom.
And THAT’s my wish for Moms everywhere – the peace, clarity and resolve that comes when you take time to check in with yourself and hear what your inner guidance has to say.
I hope you and the Moms in your life have already got that peace, or that if you don’t have it, this blog can be just the reminder you need to create the conditions that will enable you to trust yourself.
If you—or the friends, sisters, Aunts, other Moms, grandmas—in your life could use a little help in finding that peace, that is exactly what my book, A Year of Daily Calm, is designed to do.
There is just over a week until Mother’s Day. For $22, you can send a beautiful book that helps her feel calmer and more at peace. That includes shipping and a pretty ribbon and card that I will sign to her from you. I’ll also sign the book for her.
I’ll need to get to the post office by Wednesday, May 4 to make sure it gets to her (or you!) on time, and to the US only, I’m afraid—customs will make it take too long.
Click here to buy the book, and then email me at kate[at]msmindbody[dot]com to tell me where to ship it and who to sign the book and card to!