Learning Your ‘Why’

 

My life has paved the way for my WHY to take shape. When Sam and I got married, I was a CNA, working in a dementia/alzhemiers care facility. I loved the work and knew I wanted to be a nurse. A year went by and the duties of the job were taking its toll on my body. I’d wake up sobbing at night because of horrible migraines. Some nights I’d seriously just sit in my bed staring off into space because I couldn’t take the stress anymore. I had no control over my emotions and there wasn’t much I could do at work to improve things. But I couldn’t quit my job because we were living paycheck to paycheck. I did not have a degree and was working a dead-end job. Going to school to be a nurse seemed like a far-off dream because the physical demands at work were too much of a load. This is a situation I think many of us have been or are currently in. I don’t want that life for anyone. I think there are some good lessons to be learned when in that situation but it isn’t supposed to be permanent, though many of us can’t seem to get out of it.

I wanted to be a mom eventually. After some thought I knew I did not want to work outside of the home. I wanted to be at home with my kids. That decision eventually led me to doTERRA. This company offered a solution to all of my needs. I could work at home, be my own boss AND help others find solutions to their problems. After much experience and coming to understand myself better, I know now that, by nature, I am a healer. That’s where my passion lies. I used to think that being a CNA was the greatest! I was making money doing what I love to do. The reality was that I was making a pittance doing something I loved that was so demanding it was destroying me physically and emotionally.

It’s been quite the journey for me going into a job that requires selling something. It doesn’t feel like a sales job though. A lot of my insecurities have centered around that concept though. Selling something…yuck. No way, man. The thing is, helping someone find a solution to a physical ailment they’ve dealt with for years, or providing relief from chronic emotional baggage is what I do and that’s not sales. That is providing solutions.

Despite how many may feel, we were not meant to live a life fully concerned with financial obstacles. We were not meant to hold back from what we really want out of life because it is seen as unrealistic by others. How about the opportunity to thrive; To live not only being happy but to experience joy every day? That is what it should all be about.

I remember sitting at my friend Karen’s house listening to her sister talk about her life (she’s a top-ranking wellness advocate for doTERRA) and I had to ask her what it felt like to be in her position. She said the words “financial freedom” and something in me clicked. First of all, I cannot imagine a life without financial concerns. But that doesn’t mean I don’t want it or think it’s not possible. doTERRA for me is not just a job. This is my opportunity to do something I love (helping people heal) AND get paid for it. That’s a sweet career right there.

So, what is your why and why is having that in mind so important? Well, doing this stuff isn’t always easy. You need something to get you through the hard times when you’re wondering why you’re still doing this. It’s not a get rich quick scheme, but more of a marathon. Right now I am finding that it really takes grit to stay in and having the sheer faith that things will eventually work out even when chances seem dismal. I have been dealing with such deeply rooted insecurities that after a year and a half I am just now starting to get a handle on being able to really get into the business. What kept me going was my ‘why.’

I have dreams, people! I want my farm. I want to live my life in the service of others while at the end of the day sitting in a really nice lawn chair, drinking lemonade and just being at peace. I want my kids to have more opportunities than I had. I want them to see the world with me. I want them to know that they can reach as high as they want and with hard work and determination, they can get it. I want them to know that they are absolutely worthy of success in every aspect of their life. I want you to know that also. You ARE worthy of success. You CAN have success and you WILL have it if you keep it up. I am on this road right with you and I can see the light at the end of this long dark tunnel I have been in. At times I have felt that all I have ever done is give and seeing nothing in return. That was my lesson in gratitude and it was a long one.

During convention every year, there is an event called the Gala where you get to dress up, eat fancy food and eventually dance you butt off. My kind of event. It was my first time going to convention. With all of the crazy fun and amazing experiences I had, the Gala was my favorite. This is why: During a good part of the Gala, you get to watch all of the people who have reached higher ranks walk across the stage to a song they chose. It’s their own personal moment of victory. Watching those people walk the stage with huge smiles on their faces, sometimes with their spouses or children, sometimes with a brand new baby in their arms was my favorite part. Karen told me as I watched them, “These are just regular people.” They weren’t born into riches. They didn’t pay their way up the scale. They got to that stage because they worked hard and they went through what I have been going through. They’re doing what they love and they are making thousands of dollars a month living that kind of life. I want that.

I am thinking of my favorite movie of all time: Braveheart. Good ol’ Mel Gibson running his (at the time) fine-looking hindparts up and down the battlefield yelling “Freedom!” Yep, that’s my why. Thank you, Mel…and thank you Scotland for The Kilt.

In order to find your ‘why’, think about why you are doing this. What made you want to pursue this? What is that thing you love to do that makes you feel fulfilled beyond anything else? What are you passionate about? What does your ideal future hold in store for you; Not necessarily just what you will have but what you will be doing?

Take the time to dream.

 

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Time to heal

I remember vividly a religion professor telling us students one day that if it hasn’t happened yet, someday we will encounter an event in our lives that will slap us in the face it will be so unexpected and change the course of what we thought our lives would end up taking. I couldn’t help but feel like that had already happened to me.

It was a month after I got married, making a life-altering decision and suddenly I was taking care of my dying grandmother. It was a series of days that blurred together in territory I had not previously known. At the time, I was working at a soul-sucking facility that cared for many with Alzheimers and Dementia. That’s as far as my life had gone and I had no thoughts regarding what the future might hold. Children were not in the picture and I was wrestling with the plan of becoming a nurse. With that one desire to take care of others, I was thrust into a part of my life that lead me unable to simply take care of myself.

The dying part seemed natural and near logical. She had become a bleak statistic in the affliction of colorectal cancer. Medicines were given at a certain time of day and comfort measures were being addressed. The gradual physical decline in a woman I had only known as independent and wise, accompanied by the unexpected role-reversal as I became the nurturer was taking a silent toll on my mind. I could sense it but I didn’t know what was happening. It was as if I was reading a complicated mathematical formula, understanding nothing, and yet I had to continue onward with the tick of the clock. Events and were being absorbed in the place of feelings that were yet to be experienced so that I could continue forward for the time being.

It was all so dignified. There was a sweet positivity in the air. The house seemed almost a sacred space. I had dreams after she could no longer communicate that I’d like to think resonated with her feelings toward her family. It was all very well “done.” I saw her last shallow breath and remember the feeling in the room as I knew there was now one less person present.

The one event that cemented my mental well-being, or lack thereof, in place was the scene of the quiet men in suits placing her in a black zip-up bag, and her small, thin face poking out of it. There was something about seeing a lifeless form being moved upon by a living person and the unnatural movement it caused hers to make. As they carried her off in the dark of early morning, with only the light from the porch shining on her, it made her skin appear even more pale than it already was. Then she really was gone. Something in my body told me to look away when this was all happening. I can’t explain it but I ignored it since it’d be the last time I would see her.

People have been mentally scarred by far worse. I didn’t think I was supposed to be having so much trouble with this. As time passed, I noticed a stagnant pattern that I chalked up to the onslaught of monthly hormones, or the first-year struggles in a marriage, or moving away to a strange place to go to school. I keep thinking it was returning to the house to get it ready to sell and the drama that ensued from uncooperative family members. Whatever it was exactly that kept me from processing her death turned consecutive memories into painful shards of glass, each glaring slice a vivid, emotional memory that I could now and feel and live over and over at random unexpected times. It wasn’t getting better. That shattered memory, along with my shattered emotions just remained like a continuously open wound that I simply got used to.

It wasn’t until three years after the incident that I had to admit to myself that there was a problem. I easily could have continued on in my life, ignoring the effects it was having on me, my marriage and relationships with others. But I knew deep down that there was no shame in seeing a councilor. Though, it still felt weird.

My councilor was awesome. The resulting pain from each session was not. I found that it did help, though, and that those shards of glass were coming together into a message that told me it was okay to feel how I felt and I didn’t need to feel sorry or embarrassed for it. That messaged revealed to me that it wasn’t all completely my own “crazy” self either. Patterns are perpetuated through family lines and I could see that. Grief can sometimes turn into a defective record playing over and over again on a turntable. I was not flawed at the very core of who I was and that belief is still taking time to sink in.

I thought that after those sessions, I was done healing. I was wrong. There was some residual scarring and I didn’t know this until I was sitting in a training session for what is obscurely called energy work. Never in my life did I think I would be doing this sort of thing, but it also wasn’t something I had heard much of before. It turned out that this training was the key to being to completely move on in my life. The core issues were found and addressed. I still cried a lot, but I noticed that the pain wasn’t as brutal as before in the more traditional therapy.

Fast forward a couple more years and this practice of energy healing is becoming a little more accepted. During those two years, I was able to sharpen my skills and gain more confidence in the entire thing. It took a while to feel that this wasn’t some crackpot device that uses the placebo effect to its obscure, selfish advantage. As I’ve been doing this work on various friends and family, I have noticed that it actually helps them conquer areas on their emotional and mental roadmap that they couldn’t have previously done. I don’t understand it, but it’s helped them in a very real and beneficial way.

Doing this work has only solidified my conviction in the absolute fact that every single person has baggage and that it is very important to address that baggage (when we are ready) so that we can move on and progress to reach a potential we otherwise wouldn’t be able to. There are people out there who think they have no such problem. That’s not the reality and it’s only damaging to them and the people in their lives. Either those people have become so entrenched in a self-medicated life comfortable to them in order to make themselves believe everything is okay, or they are adhering to the deeply-flawed stigma against seeking mental health. Or both! I am digressing big time…

I don’t know why I felt the need to actually put this very personal part of me out there. Maybe someone needs help and traditional therapy hasn’t quite “finished the job.” If that is the case, then I am happy to help in any way I can because everyone deserves to feel safe and worthy of healing. If one of you out there hasn’t been able to accept that, then maybe think about beginning that journey, when the time is right.

I am a die-hard realist (notice I didn’t say pessimist) in that I believe our lives will not be getting easier with how chaotic and noisy the world is becoming; Not to mention life throws us curveballs. I think it’s a good idea to do some self-maintenance and take care of those personal burdens we carry on our shoulders so that when life gets harder to deal with, we can have the tools and the strength to keep going.

 

There is No Place for Anger

In LDS theology, there is much care given to emphasize the importance of where we came from, what happened there, and why. Before we were born, we lived with our Heavenly Father and mother, with each other and we were given lessons in order for us to proceed through an importance process that would refine us and facilitate the all-encompassing goal of becoming like our Father. At one point, there was a council held where a decision had to be made regarding how we would continue to progress in a way that we could not experience while in such a perfect place. Two plans were presented: One plan included an earth life of free agency and a Savior who would sacrifice himself in order for us to make amends from our mistakes. The other plan included an omnipotent ruler who would let us live without the option of free agency. The following event has been causing me to think deeper lately and make comparisons to what is going on these days: A war occurred. It wasn’t a physical war with tactical weapons, but a war of words and ideas. A decision had to be made and the consensus ended up being in favor of having free agency, and a Savior to help us return back to our heavenly home. The minority group left the presence of those who chose agency and a Savior.

I have been thinking about what exactly that war would have been like to experience. I feel like it might have been very similar to what is going on now. Today there is very much a war of words and ideas, personal philosophies and political stances being proudly proclaimed as if no one is listening. So many are feeling the need to yell, scream, kick their way into being recognized. Was that how it was before? I don’t know anything for sure, but the main part of this I am concerned is, that amidst all of this, how did people deal with the contention? I feel like some probably felt like they were losing their minds, unable to cope with the chaos. Would I have been a part of that group?

I find that as long as I am resisting the urge to argue with people, I feel more at peace and it baffles me that so many people find no value in filling their lives with peace and actually WANT more contention. It’s actually proclaimed proudly by many that they will not sit quietly, and will not be calm. They want the chaos and disorder. Have we not learned throughout history the effects that constant chaos has on our minds and our bodies? Our relationships? Personal conviction is good. Standing for what you believe in is absolutely our right.

The part I feel people have forgotten is that anger stunts rationality. Anger leads quickly into contention and contention breeds disorder. That’s just how it works. One thing that I know to be true is the importance of not letting the contention of the world enter my home. I’m of course very far from perfect in keeping temper at times but the garbage that is out there has no place within the walls of my home for the sake of my sanity, my children and my relationship with my husband. If Sam and I were to let all of the yelling that is out there gain volume in our family, we would come undone. Contention has only one purpose, which is to destroy. A lot of people have either forgotten or rejected that simple truth.

Another thing: Contention breeds contention. It only builds to lessen and lower anything good and decent. The same goes for paranoia. The world doesn’t need more of this. The people around us do not need to hear anymore personal protestations. We need more peace. Contention will never bring peace. Paranoia will never unite any one or thing.

A big problem is that no one wants to hear what the solution would be in order to have more peace and love in the world, at least as long as it points towards personal mistakes and weaknesses. According to the worldly philosophy of personal worth, we don’t make mistakes or have flaws. We all just need to do our own thing and let others do the same. If everyone did that, there would be so much chaos that society would cease to function. I know that a lot of people would disagree and that is okay. But I won’t surrender that belief in order to appeal to the favor of others.

One more thing: We need less untempered arguing. It is important to discuss matters that are important to us. But it becomes meaningless to have a conversation about what will make the world a better place if we cannot even hold on our own tempers and be tolerant of others in the TRUE meaning of that word.

Many people are losing their minds over the tragedies of the world, which is completely understandable. But letting anger breed within us in order to fight for a cause or to stand for our beliefs is what will destroy us.

Death and taxes.

Growing up, I never thought I’d see the day I turn 30. Now I am almost 29 and I feel a bit like I have turned out to be a stereotypical ‘mom’ type of person. I don’t think this is necessarily a bad thing, though, it has made me wish that my past self had had more confidence in my own personal experiences than I had. That was a lot of hads…

I say this because I am beginning to feel like there is no one single unique experience. I detect that every “group” whether demographic, religious, political, etc. seem to have a lot in common with each other and yet we relate to our respective groups in great excitement when we find someone who has had a very similar experience to our own, whatever the singular experience may be. Countless times I have heard the same conversation in Rexburg when someone finds out where another person is from and the person digs up any name they can from that area in order to make some sort of connection to the person they are talking to.

“You’re from Portland? Cool! Do you know (insert name)?”

“Nope. What part are they from?”

“Hillsboro.”

It’s happened so many times, I have lost count and the question has lost its lacker.

When I got pregnant for the first time, I felt truly unique. I had a little person growing inside of me and all I could feel was special, despite the fact that the citizens of Rexburg own loins of the extremely fruitous kind. I had my baby and had those conversations that all new-ish moms eventually have about their birth experience. I thought I was such a rebel for having taken hypnobirthing classes, and wanting to avoid drugs but then having the earth-shattering experience of giving up on that dream to have the screaming effects of Pitocin shooting through my uterus and eventually an epidural. Not to mention a bad case of halitosis to sicken the strongest of nursing staff. I thought I was unique, and yet, that most profound of experiences has been shared with thousand, heck, millions of other women.

The commonalities can be shared with having a second baby, where the labor was extremely quick, or having a car accident, a fight with my husband, or voting preferences. Nowadays, I fit into one of the hundreds of moms in Southeast Idaho who 1) have children, 2) are consultants for a network-marketing business, 3) am religious, and 4) wish I could lose a few pounds. Is there anything unique anymore?

Our lives seem to follow a pattern. Besides the obvious circle of life, which may include graduating from high school, getting married, having children and so on, there are intricate little phases and nuances that we also usually have in common. Becoming involved in various groups to make friends and socialize. Very scary instances experienced while on my mission were also shared with many others, come to find out. The phases Sam and I have gone through during our marriage. The once more Liberal views adopted by a person in their twenties, tend to shift to the more conservative after they reach retirement. Sociological trends really are telling in many ways. But does the lack of unique phases of life mean that our lives are boring and that we are merely drones in a never-ending theme of death and taxes?

I don’t think so. “The fulfilling life” as I like to call it, is made up of these patterns for a reason. They bring the most meaning into our lives; the struggles we go through, the joys we find in making a home, that first year of marriage that tends to be pretty difficult…It has a reason. We learn in patterns. Learning means evolving into quality people. Humans naturally tend to want to “move forward” in life and when we are in ruts, we feel troubled and not in-sync with the rest of the world. But ruts are also a part of life.

Personally speaking, patterns tend to help me feel like everything will be okay, despite the seemingly never-ending “limbo land” Sam and I seem to Couples are meant to have financial hardships. If they don’t then they remain those naive twenty-somethings with no clue as to the practicality in buying used furniture or the fact that babies really don’t need to be as expensive as the more materialistic-minded people say they are. We make choices and we adapt.

I don’t mean to sound like I am talking only about people who get married and have babies. This goes for all people, though I am merely speaking from life experiences that a certain group of people have in common. I fit into the group that says, like Buffy Summers: “All I want to do is graduate from high school, go to Europe, marry Christian Slater, and die.” Okay, maybe not Christian Slater because he’s kind of a crappy actor, but I hope you see the point in all of this.

Life is meant to be a learning experience. No matter what we do on this Earth, we follow some sort of pattern and it is for the important reason of growing from the present moment, constantly in motion towards some aspiration we each have and it is okay if we feel we are sometimes stuck or out of sorts. It’s all a part of life.

 

 

Breaking out in the Biz

I can be a pretty cynical (actually, I like to call it Realism) person, which I think would explain my overall fear of pursuing to promote a certain product. In all truth, at least where I live right now, it is hard trying to grow a business. There are so many women my age, in the same life situation, with the same desires in life. Rexburg is a very community-based town as is, and so if someone needs something, all they need to do it pop online and ask for it. When it comes to essential oils and photography (ironically my two business pursuits), dozens of “pick me!” replies emerge in under five minutes. I would be lying if I said getting into this thang has been easy. But let me digress and say that it is suddenly becoming worth it. What changed, you ask? Oh, well I shall tell you, my eagerly awaiting audience!

Like I said, I am a cynic. I am comfortable being a cynic. Cynicism is where it’s at! But if I continue being comfortable, I’ll still be sitting on the couch, watching some stupid show on Netflix, a bit unfulfilled. The real challenge has been fighting the negative voices; The “you cants” and the “you’re crazys.” Some people may think I’ve gone off the deep end but luckily sleep deprivation and two little boys that take up most of my time have kept me from continuing to care! Life has become too fast-moving that it really has felt short. So it’s time to adopt that dumb YOLO philosophy and get going with what I am wanting to do.

Oh yeah, so with this whole part of me that’s a cynic…

I will get nowhere with that mentality in the business world. Nowhere! I suddenly felt the urge to start looking into some self-improvement in the form of self-help books; those things you read that are meant to realistically build you up. I consulted my awesome upline and she suited me with a book called The Big Leap. I am only a few pages in but I can already tell that this is what I have been needing. It basically has to do with overcoming personal obstacles in order to let myself enjoy personal happiness and prosperity. It’s been a huge help already and I cannot wait for more.

The main idea here that I am taking forever to convey is that this whole pursuit with doTERRA has become more than something I am using to meet new people and network. It has become an entire pursuit in becoming a better person. THAT is what this business is actually all about and THAT is something I can get behind. I don’t care about the controversies that surround the subject of essential oils. I’ve seen how it has helped me and I want to give that gift to others. But in order to do that I need to remain positive and hopeful. In order to do THAT, I have to change some things about myself. Helping others s what this is all about and if I am going to willingly lose myself in this endeavor, then I need to be able to let some personal issues go.

That’s what this whole doTERRA thing has become. I had no idea what I was getting myself into.

Introducing: Sir Bruce!

I should be in bed, catching up on much needed sleep. After pumping and gorging on a bagel I finally feel like, through the past three weeks and all that happened, I can finally write about my birth story with baby #2: Bruce William Proctor.

Starting at week 38, my blood pressure had risen, though not dangerously. It wasn’t until week 40.3 that things got worrisome, since it was not going down and an ultrasound revealed a possible issue that couldn’t be left to chance. My midwife, Marie, entered the room and that everyday, boring feeling of simply waiting in the examination room turned a more serious tone and I knew what was going to happen: Induction. I couldn’t hold back the tears, since it was what I was wanting to avoid all along. The matter was never accompanied with the feeling that there was absolutely no other option. It was either induction or having to do more tests. Either way, I was going to the hospital that night. One step was taken at a time in order to choose the best possible plan. Once Marie told me that she had seen plenty of women have a natural birth following induction, I felt better about the whole thing. Sam coincidentally needed to be picked up at work right after the appointment, so I took off to get him. We made the decision quickly in the car that it was time to go in and get this party started. From there, it was an unexpected adrenaline rush. We quickly got Ben’s things together, grabbed a dinner to-go and anything else we needed to stay at the hospital.

8:30 PM

I remember having the shakes, I was so hungry and off my rocker with excitement. I couldn’t believe this was all of a sudden happening. Despite me wanting to go into spontaneous labor, I threw that aspiration out the window with reckless abandon at the thought of no longer being pregnant. The prostaglandin was administered and the waiting began…

I was given a powerful sleep aid so that I could get some needed rest. I slept for maybe two hours but then spent the rest of the night being escorted by Sam to the bathroom (the sleep aid made me too unsteady to stand on my own) and watching movies. Batman was the only one we watched. The rest of the time we just hung out and rested.

5 or 6 AM

I had started to feel cramping, which then turned into contractions, though they were pretty mild. I cranked my neck looking at the monitor, so excited to see the little line rise up with each wave and back down again. It was happening! As the morning went on, the waves got more intense and I was able to use the hypnosis tracks I had been using for months in preparation. This was my dream! It was so awesome to head into a contraction, “turn off” and feel great, especially as the waves got stronger. The hypnosis was working and I felt so great.

8 :00 AM

Marie came into the room and got everything ready for breaking my water. We had discussed this at the appointment the day before but I had only processed up to getting the prostaglandin. My mind was so blown at that point the day before that I couldn’t think of anything beyond that point. It really scared me to have this procedure done. I thought I was in labor already and I was so excited. To hear that I wasn’t in active labor was a serious blow. It probably sounds silly, but it really kind of felt like I got punched in the gut with bad news. Luckily, my doula, Elan walked in at that time. Sam took his place beside me on one side while Elan stood on the other and did all the could to help while I basically had a panic attack. I felt a rush of warm water and some relief that the procedure was over.

8:30 AM

This part was unexpected to say the least. Contractions got intense within a minute or so of my water breaking. I did feel excited, though, that I was getting to experience actual contractions without the use of monocle. My experience with that stuff made me never want to use it again. I quickly headed into the bathroom, shed my hospital gown like it was no big deal to be completely naked in front of hospital staff, though I had already entered into a state of mind rarely experienced where nothing matters except that moment and getting through it. I never once felt unsafe with these amazing women who were charged with my health and safety. I stood in the shower, leaning on the wall opposite the shower head. It was a good time to cry and deal with the whole water-breaking incident; Elan talking through it with me. Everyone else entered the room shortly and Sam sprayed nice warm water on my lower back while Elan got me started on finding my rhythm, smacking my hand on the wall with each “step” I took up the incline of each contraction. It got difficult pretty quickly so we headed into the room next to mine that had a jetted tub.

I got in, shocked to find that the water only went up to my hips (leaning forward on all-fours) and that the tub wasn’t wide enough to spread my knees to a comfortable span but there was no time to think beyond noticing. I leaned on a “peanut pillow” which was basically Mr. Peanut (minus the monocle and top hat)  if he was made out of exercise ball material. That pillow quickly became my best friend as I leaned on it to rest the short time I had between contractions. The waves got more intense and it got to the point where I lost myself a couple of times in tears and the desire to give up. I remember thinking that even if I wanted an epidural, it would take too long to get the anesthesiologist and sitting on my bed sounded even more unbearable than the contractions. I hit that wall that most women in an unmedicated labor inevitably hit when they feel they can’t do it anymore. It was just too hard. Elan, Marie and Sam all pushed me forward and got me through each intense wave.

Slapping the wall with polite apprehension became a purposeful , maybe even violent, pounding on the wall, as if I was trying to break down the tile barehanded. My whole body went into it. I could feel my bladder screaming at me, as if I had just contracted the worst UTI imaginable. I wanted to pee so badly but could not. At a “giving up” point, Marie told me I must be at an 8 or so. That’s when I started feeling like throwing up during contractions; Not nauseous, but just the urge to throw up, while at the same time, starting to feel “pushy.” I heaved once and knew it was time to get out since I wasn’t supposed to actually have the baby in the tub. A wheelchair was waiting for my, as was a bunch of towels (at least as far as I can remember), but I just quickly wrapped a towel around me and beelined for my shower again. I didn’t want to have a contraction (or a baby for that matter) in the hallway, so I moved quickly. I kneeled down towards the shower head, leaned in a big exercise ball and just let come what was to happen next.

The fear I had always had of pushing a baby out, while unmedicated, made things a little scary. I was honestly just afraid my ass was going to fall out. It’s so stupid, yeah, but hemorrhoids had become my constant, reliable friend during pregnancy and I didn’t want them to have an even bigger presence in my life. Marie told me to not push at one point, I am assuming to prevent tearing, which felt like trying to keep the Hoover Dam from breaking forth.  At the green light, my fears took a backseat and my body basically said, “Don’t worry, I got dis!” The pushing was very relieving. I don’t remember feeling the “ring of fire” but I did feel incredible pressure, still not being able to fathom how this baby was going to leave my body. Sam threw off his shirt so that he could catch the baby. With the third or fourth push, his head was out. The next push brought the shoulders and then he was born. Incredible relief and excitement filled the air and I began sobbing uncontrollably. I remember hearing “He’s so beautiful!” and it felt good to hear that, as if I had a deep-down fear that he’d be a less-than attractive baby…

Sam and Marie passed him between my knees and into my arms, still attached, and we both sat down on the shower bench in an awe that is unique to that specific kind of moment. The baby cried and I cried and I was so glad it was over. Marie ecstatically said “You’re not pregnant anymore!” which echoed exactly what I was thinking at the time.

Bruce was born on August 25th at 8 lbs 6 oz. and 20 inches. It was 9:35 AM.

An unmedicated birth is something I had wanted for a very long time. I wanted to experience the sheer force and power that the human body has within it when it is bringing a new life into the world. I’ve watched countless birth videos of women calmly hanging over an inflatable tub while humming through seemingly relaxing contractions. Now I have no idea how that sort of experience is possible. It just doesn’t seem normal! But I just might go through this again because of how awesome recovery has been. The day after we got home from the hospital, I took Ben with me to Walmart. I never would have been able to do that if I had had an epidural. Breastfeeding hasn’t been easy but it’s been a whole lot better this time around. I don’t know why, but it is. My hormones have still been out of whack but that can’t be avoided either way. Because I could feel what was happening during birth, and because I was able to keep myself from pushing at the appropriate time, I was able to avoid tearing.

One thing that’s been unexpected is that the magical bonding feeling I had immediately when Ben was born, did not happen with Bruce. It’s been a very steady, gradual process. That is apparently very normal for such a quick labor, though. After almost a month, I am just now starting to feel that earth-shattering explosion of love for my son, piece by piece. I catch myself staring at him in amazement at how beautiful he is. It’s amazing.

Because the birth was only an hour long, it’s been a bit of a journey trying to process everything that happened; Kind of like skimming through an entire chapter in order to pass a test, but not absorbing anything I read and then going back to read the chapter thoroughly afterwards. It’s taking time and that is okay. I know that I could not have done it without Sam, Marie and Elan. Those two women were my rock and continue to be my rock as I work through everything. Sam was obviously a huge support also. I would have seriously been missing something if he wasn’t there or not as involved. But there really was something especially important about having two women there completely on board with me, supporting my every decision, every contraction, every swear, and every push. It’s a support I had never experience until then. I honestly feel that if every woman in labor had that kind of support, no matter what kind of birth it would be, the whole experience would be a lot better for her. There’d be less trauma and stress.

I could go on but this is already a very long post. But here it is!

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I’m Waiting…

It’s my due date today. I should not be anticipating any action but my body has really been preparing for this birth, unlike the last time when nothing happened before and after my water broke. But I feel different in a very vague, unexplainable way. I am once again living a nocturnal lifestyle. This is probably the fourth cycle of insomnia that I have experienced during these last four months. It’s okay until I have to be up earlier than normal some morning. Then I become a different, less-pleasant person to be around.

Thoughts going through my mind include daydreaming that the apartment is all intact and clean. Laundry is put away, there are no dishes in the sink and even my herb and spice collection is neatly tucked away in a cabinet. I keep telling myself to just get it done and it remains undone. At least the toilet is clean…for now.

My biggest initial concern has been whether or not I’ll be able to discern when it is I am experiencing legitimate labor. I thought that since this is my second, some of the mystery regarding that subject would no longer be a problem, but the thing is that I don’t know what a natural, unadulterated contraction feels like, and I really have no idea what normal labor is like.

I think my next concern might be whether or not I’ll feel comfortable enough around my midwife and doula to do whatever it is I feel I want to do to be as comfortable as possible. What if I want to go native and strip myself of every inch of clothing? What if I want to meditate? What if I just want to  be alone with Sam? What if I run out of coconut water (gasp!)?

I’ve asked myself before why it is I want to try and experience birth with as few medical interventions as possible and without pain meds. I think it really goes beyond the risks associated with those things and is coming from a deeper level that has to do with that primal physical knowledge our body has. It knows how to do so many things we cannot explain. It does things to keep us alive without our even thinking about it. It’s able to perpetuate its own race. There are processes and depths I want to know about that would otherwise be ignored or passed by if I am to use certain interventions. I want to know what my body is capable of and I want to know what amazing power birth has to offer in its primal progression. This pregnancy has gratefully kept the option open to birth as I please.

So far I’ve known what love for my family is like, how I feel a connection so deeply with my ancestors and how I am naturally affected by certain people or environments. I know our physical selves are sensitive to the emotional sides of others. The body has knowledge we don’t often get to tap into. There are things we feel but cannot explain because they are these instincts we have that direct us through life and the many phases it has to offer. My child birthing phase of life will come and go very quickly, being a very short phase out of most others and yet it can be the most profound and have the longest-lasting impression on me.Why not try and savor it and see the beauty and power in it, without the fear I have been conditioned to have towards it? I don’t like fearing my body’s own natural processes. It is a very important part of me and yet society only offers a very negative, fearful response. It doesn’t have to be this way. It doesn’t have to be so full of pain and fear. Birthing is meant to be a process; a journey. I want to take it on and see what it has to offer me. I want to see how it could change me for the better.

I want to believe that birth doesn’t need to turn us into that scared child about to have antiseptic applied to a scraped knee; anticipating more pain than necessary and imagining the worst outcome, lost in a tunnel of hysteria. Why is it so hard to believe that a sensation such as a contraction has no other purpose than to cause discomfort? Why can’t we believe it is an important sign of progression? I believe that our understanding of birth has been skewed and it’s caused more harm than not. Our understanding of pain has definitely been messed with. That may be why there’s such a huge problem with prescription drug addiction. Pain has become a very fearful event instead of a sign that something inside us needs care and improvement. We are taught to mask it instead of get to the root of the issue. I am majorly digressing…

I guess my main journey through this pregnancy has been getting to the root of my fears and trying to accept that I am in fact capable of giving birth and that this belief I have had all of my life, of my body being an unattractive, defective lemon, is deeply false. The processes it has gone through, the development it has experienced are all normal and just a part of life instead of an abnormal freak accident. Birth may be the answer to help me accept the things I have been unable to accept my entire life, which has caused so much insecurity and low self-esteem. Having a child has made me see that I am capable of loving someone else completely. Maybe birth is there to teach me that I could possibly love myself in the same way.