Is pregnancy a metaphorical practice run for parenting? Testing our patience, relinquishing control over things out of our reach, slowing down our pace, making challenging decisions, trusting support, taking care of ourselves amidst chaos, learning to live on less sleep, snacking throughout the day (though throughout pregnancy I snacked on healthy, well thought out snacks...now I shovel Cheddar Bunnies and Veggie Sticks in my mouth like its my last meal...) Anyway, can we look at these 10 months as a trial for the next 20+ years? If so, let us learn the art of Surrendering. A challenging and rewarding act that can gift us space, time and ease- in both pregnancy, parenthood and beyond.
So often as a doula, I suggest, practice and challenge the role of Surrender. It has a kitchy connotation these days, printed across yoga shirts and painted on meditation rocks... but I think theres good reason behind its popularity. Surrendering in its own right can be a difficult task. Its asking you to essentially let go of the responsibility at hand and trust in yourself, your provider, the universe, your faith, whatever serves you, that what will be will be. And moreso, that you will accept the outcome. It doesnt mean throw your arms up and not care-- but really, throw your arms up and say, I've done everything I can to facilitate the outcome I want- and now I accept that there are limits and they start here. What feelings does that bring up? Fear? Anxiety? Relief? I think its safe to assume a bit of everything. Try acknowledging those feelings and see what happens if you practice Surrendering. With practice, Surrendering can have the ability to ease tension and open you up to new ideas, feelings and even opportunities. What are some ways we can try to surrender?
Movement: Taking space to move our bodies can unlock and challenge our status quo. A change of scenery, a change of heart rate and an increase in blood flow supports creative thinking and problem solving and a refreshed outlook on a situation. Walking, Running, Prenatal Yoga or Pilates. Gaining new perspective on a situation and taking time and space to think clearly about whats going on may often give you the ability to surrender.
Tapping (Emotional Freedom Technique or EFT): Tapping's roots are in ancient Chinese Medicine and use the same foundations as Acupuncture or Acupressure. By physically tapping on different energy points on your body and repeating a mantra you create over and over either silently or outloud, you literally 'tap" into your own energy points and release tension and move energy around to relax the body. Combined with relaxed breathing, it can be a powerful way to relax and surrender. Interested in learning more? Call me or take to Google ;)
Intentional Relaxation: For some, Meditation creates a space to think clearly about situations and offers a clear path to surrender. For others, taking an herbal bath creates the right environment to release and accept new ideas. Massage, acupuncture, a nap, affirmations, guided meditations or music, bodywork, shopping, cooking etc. Carving out time to do something that feels good can refresh and restart you. Then it may be a good time to check in with yourself and see if you can let go of some feelings that no longer serve you and embrace new ones that do.
Support: Call your doula! ;) One of the biggest reasons and benefits of hiring a doula is to have a non-medical professional support you (and your family) through pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum. Doulas are trained both classically and through experience, in all pregnancy and childbirth scenarios and can offer perspective, unbiased education and support. We know the power of knowledge combined with Surrender and do our best to offer all the information we have while supporting you to come to a decision you are comfortable with; and therefore learning your limits to surrender. Having someone by your side can give you the confidence to address your situation and give you the skills to create a new path to surrender.
The art of Surrendering is certainly not without its challenges. It seems to be a lifelong exercise and one that takes support, understanding and sensitivity, both from yourself and from those around you. When you feel like you cannot control a situation you're in or you have no ability to control an outcome, take time and space to make sure you've done everything within reason you can to feel comfortable, and then, surrender. Allow your brain permission to stop tackling the issue. Allow your body permission to soften. Allow your heart permission to open. Release your anxieties and surrender.
I soften, I open, I release. Most notably, a mantra that speaks to your cervix during childbirth. But now, a mantra that speaks to your mind, body and soul-- as you check in, let go, and surrender.
I see you. I feel you. You are not alone in your journey.