This post was originally at my Sister´s Blog space littlecoffeebeans.com
As my sister was preparing to birth her second child, I found myself reflecting once again on my own birth experiences, and the lessons birthing taught me. Birth is a major life event, pushing a woman to grow beyond every limit she has ever known. With each birth, not only is a child born, but a mother is born as well; each child born has its own Mother, for a Woman changes with each birth experience.
I have birthed four children, and while Mothering them continues to have its own lessons, with each child individually as well as how we interact as a family, birthing has taught me what I consider the most primal, and at the same time, the most spiritual of life´s lessons. These are the lessons that have shaped me into the Woman and Mother I am today.
Openness and boundaries, fear and surrender, control and letting go, and the ability to be purely present: these are the lessons, brought to me through my birthing experiences, that I practice integrating into my life every day.
The birth of my first child taught me about pain and drama, about boundaries and openness. To be completely open is to allow life to both move you, and move through you. But you must remain present and listen to your body – if you fail to listen to your body and to act on its impulses, you leave yourself vulnerable to harm from outside. My body told me what it needed during this first birth, and I allowed others to determine what was best for me – I did not have the self confidence to demand my right to act as my body was telling me. As a consequence, I was deeply emotionally wounded, and it took years for me to heal. I have accepted this lesson, and daily I practice opening – more and more – while staying firmly grounded in this body, and trusting what it tells me.
The birth of my second child, taught me patience, trust, and surrender. It also taught me of how closely women brush with death during birth. I learned, too about fear, as it is my worst enemy, and that surrender is the only way to move through fear. Today, I have learned to sit with my fears, to really feel all of the sensations created in my body by the fears that once crippled me. This second birth taught me to leap when the feeling of fear is greatest – not away from, but towards that which I fear.
Birthing my third child taught me to go with the flow, to be flexible, to let go and let god, if you will.
In the words of Robert Burns
“But little Mouse, you are not alone,
In proving foresight may be vain:
The best laid schemes of mice and men
Go often awry,
And leave us nothing but grief and pain,
For promised joy!”
I wanted to birth at home, in the water. I wanted no more hospitals. It didn’t work out that way. I was terribly disappointed, and felt myself once again being bullied into doing what I didn’t want to do. I firmly believe that this bullying stressed me to the point of almost having an unnecessary Caesarean section. Once I let go of how this birth was supposed to be, and surrendered to what was happening now, my body opened, and my son was quickly born.
Though I still occasionally plan things ( and, oh how I love to plan ), I also practice being flexible enough to allow what wants to happen to manifest as each storyline of my life unfolds.
Finally, the birth of my fourth child. This birth taught me the true meaning of being in the Now. Being present with what Is. All previous lessons, being flung me at once: Stillness, Openness, Surrender, Flow, Observance. Allowing my body to birth was a truly spiritual experience. The orgastic and creative forces that were released, and freely accessible when I was fully present, were both the most terrible, and the most magnificent feelings I have ever experienced. As a result, I remind myself many times throughout the day, to Be. Here. Now.
More than any other single event in my life, my birth experiences have transformed me. They have made me stretch, and expand, and grow. With every child I have birthed, I birthed another version of myself as well. And the very best version of myself, is being a Mother.
But that is another story, for another day.