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We spend so much time planning for labor and birth, that once labor begins, it's difficult to surrender to the process. I spend a lot of time with each client speaking about the word Surrender. And I'm not talking about white flag waving, hop on a train headed for disaster kind of surrender. I'm talking about the kind of surrender that is more of a release. I really appreciate these words written by Sophie Fletcher,
"...surrender in birth is more like giving into passion, losing ourselves in ecstasy, being carried on a tide of feeling. Surrendering in this way involves a positive choice to embrace the unknown – an opening of the heart that accepts and welcomes the events of labour and birth however they unfold. In order to let down our guard and surrender to the moment we need to feel safe – private and unselfconscious, uninhibited, accepted and loved. This allows us to trust in our bodies, our babies, and the birth process."
We spend so much time preparing for birth, constructing birth plans, setting expectations and hopes and dreams, that we forget to surrender and be present for our own experience. Each moment in our lives holds lessons. Each moment is part of our journey. Each moment points to something different within ourselves. When I speak to my clients about surrender in childbirth, I focus on letting go. Letting go of expectations, fears, anxieties, worries, etc. People who have birthed before hold on to an expectation that their next labor will be like the one before, while many birth workers know that every birth is as unique as the child you are birthing. I speak on the word "surrender" to let go of those expectations and to encourage my clients to open themselves up to something new and amazing. This is especially powerful for healing wounds of the past.
Why is surrender so important? Well, if you are not surrendering, you are fighting, correct? Fighting evokes connotations of tension and turmoil. Labor does not need to be a war with one's self. Labor is a miraculous moment when one feels Divine Power move through one's body to bring forth life. Going to battle with this force often leads to a reckoning. As a support person, I want to take my clients on the path of least resistance. Everyone's journey is different and this is a unique path for each mother. But the most important goal is Surrender.
I want to challenge everyone out there to meditate on your lives. Take a quiet moment to yourself this week and sit with the word Surrender. Clear your mind of everything. Steady your breathing. Slow.Steady.Breaths. With each breath in, breath in the word "Surrender." With each breath out, release your worries and fears and anxieties. With each breath out, release all of the tension in your body. Relax your face, let your shoulders drop, open your palms in acceptance, and feel your whole body go limp and lose. After 5-10 minutes of meditation, take a few moments to journal. Think about the worries that came to mind that you need to let go. Think about the Divine Force moving through your life and what they are trying to accomplish. What do you need to Surrender to?
These lessons aren't just for birth. These lessons are for life. “…the labor with which we give birth is simply a rehearsal for something we mothers must do over and over: turn ourselves inside out, and then let go.” –Susan Piver (Joyful Birth)