My little toe is burning.
The acupuncturist is holding a burning bunch of Chinese herbs near my little toe in hopes that my breech baby will turn. The smoke somehow smells fresh and acrid at the same time. I close my eyes and talk to my son. My mantra rolls over and over in my head.
I love you buddy. I am here to help you, not to fight you.
I try to visualize him in there, curled up and comfy.
But there is an image that keeps trying to take over my calm. I see my Mom in the hospital. She is swollen with pregnancy and rage. She is screaming and tearing at curtains.
I keep trying to bring myself back to my son. Back to my mantra, but this story demands to be heard. It keeps tearing open my meditation like a stubborn child. I realize that I cannot enter into this birth experience until I let go of the fear that I have harbored from old stories. So I surrender to it.
I was born amidst chaos.
My Mother, a diabetic her whole life, was hospitalized for the last weeks of her pregnancy with me. One day while resting she overheard a doctor telling a nurse that he would be surprised if either of us survived the birth. His comment broke open a frenzy of fear in my Mom. Panic and desperation swept the room as my Mom clawed at her surroundings. She yelled and screamed. Hospital staff ran to her aid. Holding her down. She was sedated and I was delivered by emergency c-section. My Mom was sterilized. She almost died on the operating table, and while she did survive, my Mom went blind having me.
My mom awoke into motherhood with a new baby girl who had robbed her of her sight. And while she has never said so, I know that having me was a huge sacrifice for my Mom.
She would never again drive a car or play tennis. She would never again get to sit in a quiet room and read a book. She would never see the love and devotion in my eyes as I cooed at her as a child. The loss of her sight meant a loss of a certain amount of independence. But she lost beauty too. She lost the color of a blue sky and the lush greens of the forest. She lost the bloom of a garden and the sun shining off someone’s hair. And while I know intellectually that this is not my fault, the story of my birth, and the sacrifice of my mom’s sight has been etched on my psyche. It has become part of my belief system about my own body.
When I had my son Dedrick I labored for 13 hours. During that time I was violently ill. I was told that he was too big for me to deliver and that I should have a c-section. I jumped at the chance. I never even questioned it. Of course I would hand this process over to someone else. Someone who was more capable. Someone who knew what they were doing. Deep down I don’t think I ever truly believed that I could birth a baby. Birth was about fear and sacrifice and pain. I happily signed the papers and had the doctors cut me open.
While my son’s birth was not the gory, life-threatening event that my birth was, it re-enforced a small dark part of myself that didn’t believe that I was good enough.
Since my son’s birth I’ve done a lot of work on my body image. When I look at my body now I look at it with love and kindness and grace. I’m in awe of what my body is capable of and I know that no matter what, growing this sturdy boy inside me now is an amazing thing…no matter how the birth goes.
But if I can (no complications) I’d like to birth this boy naturally. I’d like to feel every part of the experience. I want to embrace the empowerment of what a woman’s body is capable of! We were made for this and I trust my body to do it.
So, I cancelled my scheduled c-section. And a day later I found out that my pesky little boy had turned breech (head up). I think it was his way of telling me that I wasn’t quite ready yet.
You see, ever since I started to entertain the idea of having a natural birth I’ve been trying to find ways to control it. How can I make it happen sooner? How can I get my cervix to soften? How can I bring on the contractions? How can I ready the house for this boy?
But the truth is I’m not in control of this process, he is. He will come when he’s ready. My need to feel control just speaks to the part of me…deep down…who still thinks that I’m a failure at birth, both as a baby and as a mother. So, if I can just control everything then it will be ok.
It is not in control that we find our strength, it is in our vulnerability.
So, I need to let go of these old stories. I need to say them outloud so that they will loosen their grip.
Brene Brown says that “Shame cannot survive being spoken.”
I turn on my other side and the herbs are warming my other pinky toe. I hold my belly and I tell these stories to my son. I tell him so that they no longer hold the power over me. So that he knows that I’m am letting go.
I feel him squirm and wiggle inside me. I no longer feel afraid of what will happen. And I know now that we are a team working together with love and acceptance, no matter what.
Note from Movement Duets: What stories are holding you back? Did something happen in your childhood that has created a part of your identity that is no longer useful for you? Have you been harboring negative thoughts as a result of unkind words spoken by someone? We have found that sometimes some of our clients even struggle with letting go of weight because of an old story that continues to define them. It is not until they can let it go that they are able to make progress.
Take a few minutes in a quiet space and write a letter. You can write it to yourself, or even to the person who might have been a part of the story. This is not a letter to send. It is a letter to cleanse. When you are done writing it burn it or tear it up. Tell yourself that you can let go of those old stories. You no longer have to be a victim to that event or those unkind words. Spend a few minutes letting the relief set in and congratulate yourself for having the strength and courage to let go.
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We help moms move naturally, eat primally and take unapologetic ownership of their place in this world.
We are both Mobility Experts, Personal Trainers, connoisseurs of spandex and practitioners of the Beautiful Adventure we call life. With over 20 years of combined experience in the fitness industry we encourage our clients to strive for holistic health through fitness, nutrition, relationships and a connection with nature. When we move well and feel well we are vibrant, happy and can do amazing things! We are always seeking new ways to move, play and get fit. This often involves our families. We strive to wake up each morning with a renewed sense of curiosity and wonder and go to bed knowing that we did what we could to learn, teach and leave the world a better place.
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