On Birth And Transition

A few weeks ago I stood witness to my sister’s power. I watched someone else give birth. I watched life break forth out of darkness. I watched pain tangle and untangle itself. I witnessed transition and transformation.

I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it.

There was a truth that surfaced there in that room, a truth that I’d known and experienced in my own labors, but could only begin to fully understand in observation.

In the midst of the most painful moments we always want to escape, but attempting to escape heightens the pain. When we focus on what we can’t do, on the thwarted desire, on getting out from under the pain, we begin to panic. We loose focus. The pain overtakes us. We contract. And the pain truly becomes worse.

But, when we go into the pain, into the darkness, something shifts. It’s still unbearable. But accepting our place and position in that moment, accepting the pain, even welcoming it, well, that expands us. We find when we breath into that pain, instead of trying to avoid it, that we can hold in the midst of that which we thought was unbearable. When we trust in our bodies ability to birth, when we trust the pain to do it’s job, when we enter into deep trust in the process, we find that we can hold up under it.

We don’t find strength and power in avoidance, or escape. We don’t find it in trying to rush through to the happy ending, to the joy at the end of the struggle. We don’t find it in trying to fake happiness in the midst. We find strength and power when we rest in the pain, when we let the unbearable wash over us and we hold our position within it.

These past few weeks have been full of new questions for me. Full of new fear and new uncertainties. Full of darkness and dissent. But it’s felt different than ever before. There’s a spiraling cycle of peace and fear, but above all else there has been trust. There has been breath. There has been an acceptance of the darkness, a willingness to enter into it and an ability to acknowledge it’s temporary state.

In birth there is no going back. There is no controlling the pain, not really. We try to breath, we have all kinds of techniques for pain management, but really we just have to feel it and keep going. We make it through one contraction at a time. One breath at a time. And that is all.

That is life amidst pain as well. That is life amidst stress. That is life amidst darkness. There is no getting out from under the pain and the stress. Trying to do so only makes it more unbearable. There is only entering in. There is only making it through this day. This breath. This moment in time. Putting one foot in front of the other, doing what needs to be done, and by degrees discovering that you are seeped in ever so much more strength than you ever could have dreamed.

And in the end there is life. Life that was not there before. And there is transformation. A woman who is no longer what she was before.

That’s what I want. I want that kind of transformation. So, I breath and I enter in, and I embrace the waves of fear, and stress, and pain. This is my transition.

Rejoicing in the journey, Bethany