As a birth doula I get excited about transition. I know it's crazy to get a thrill to see vomit, blood, shaking, cursing, and general loss of one's s#$%, but to me, it means the baby will make an appearance soon. It means a mother is being born. It is the accumulation of a lot of hard work. However, not everyone shares my love of all things transition... especially a laboring mom. When I talk to my clients prenatally, this is the time of labor which they are most worried about. They worry about how intense it will be, and often wonder if they will be able to cope with it. It isn't always pretty. It isn't always calm. It isn't always relaxed. Coping through transition means you do whatever it takes to get through it. Whatever. It. Takes.
Right now, we are in a season of transition, literally moving from summer into fall. In my family, we are all transitioning back into the regular routine of school. My husband is teacher, so he is back at work. My kids are homeschooled, so we are all trying to find our groove with school work. As I'm writing this, my kids are fighting the crud, so our transition has been anything but smooth. In fact, I'll be honest with you, there have been moments (days) when I've felt what my clients feel like in labor--- Iike I'm loosing my S$%#!! Every year I tell myself it's coming, this transitional season. And every year I loose my s#$%. This year is no different. I'm trying to do what I tell my clients: just take one contraction at a time. Stay in the moment. Just breathe. I'm trying to remind myself that it will be over soon and we'll hit our stride. Perhaps you are finding yourself in this place of transition, too. If so, you are not alone. I feel ya! We can loose our s#$% together and still be ok. Everyone will be ok. And we'll be stronger because of it... I hope!
So whether you are preparing for labor or just going through this season of change,
Here are four ways to move through transition-- either in labor or life.
Labor is a process of movement. Don't worry about how you move, just move however feels right to you. Walk. Sway. Squat. Pace. Circle your hips. Bounce. Rock. Roll. Kneel. It if makes you move, do it. I encourage all my clients to move in whatever way they want throughout labor, but especially during transition.
In life's transitional seasons, movement is key for coping. Get outside and take a walk. Ride your bike. Go for a swim. Take a hike. Do yoga. Run. The more movement you can fit into your day, the easier it will be to cope with the uncertainty of change.
Drink water. Sit in water. Stand in water. Go to the water. Water can be a healer and a soother. It can refresh your weary muscles. It can take the edge off intense contractions. I recommend taking a bath in just about every labor I've attended as a doula. Being submerged in a tub makes you feel lighter, it provides a sense of grounding, and can help relax tense muscles = baby coming!
I'm trying to remember to drink a lot of water during these days of change. I'm keeping my water bottle with me and taking a chug whenever I think of it. I find that staying hydrated helps to feel more energetic and clear headed. Which helps me roll with the punches a little bit better.
Transition can be a time when all of your previously successful coping strategies don't work. It is very common for a mom to look to something greater than herself to get her through. There is power in prayer, and connecting with a force or spirit greater than ourselves. Many women find great peace and solace in prayer. Some moms have even said they aren't usually a praying person, but in labor they sure needed it. Knowing that God is in control (or whomever you pray to), asking for strength, and walking by faith can be a great comfort.
Prayer is a big part of my life, so it is only natural that this is one of my first coping mechanisms when life gets crazy. You may not find prayer to be something that works for you, and that's ok. But,what does work for you? What do you do to connect with something/someone bigger than yourself? Meditation? Music? Nature? Intellect? Don't minimize the power of this connection... it can be miraculous.
Finally, in labor there comes a moment when you just have to say F-it. You stop trying to cope. You stop trying to stay in control or make it look like something you think it should. You let go. This moment is at once scary and freeing. Laboring mothers don't usually go to this place willingly. Often it is the result of exhaustion and the readiness to meet your child. Know that by letting go, you can actually feel better and reduce the stress of labor.
In life, there also comes a moment when you just have to let go and say F-it. Let the chips fall where they may and try to ride the waves. Go with the flow. See what happens. Ride it out. And whatever other cliched phrase you can think of. In these moments, just like a doula, I try to find a little bit of excitement and remember that the labor will be over and the baby will be born soon.
What are your tips or ideas for coping with transition? What worked for you in labor? What works for you in life?