rethinking modern birth series - part 7 - relationships and decisions
One of the most critical steps you can take during pregnancy is to examine your existing relationships through the lens of loving empowerment.
This one might sound silly, but it’s actually foundational to empowerment in general. Other people are like mirrors, in which we can best see - and learn about - ourselves.
So, who are the most important people in your life right now? Who do you spend the most time with?
Who are the people who uplift you when you are around them, and who makes you feel drained and nervous when you’re around them?
According to author Tim Feriss, you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with, for better or worse - so conscious choices are especially important in our relationships!
The answers to these types of questions are even more important as you plan for your birth, and your new role as a parent.
Do you want your mother or your partner’s mum to be with you for the birth?
Do you feel that your partner is going to be fully supportive of your labor choices and decisions, or will they be dealing with fears and limiting beliefs of his/her own?
Also, be sure you know where the answers to these questions are coming from.
Are they anchored in your true self, or are your perceived expectations of your social role within family and friends influencing you a bit too much?
Examining your relationships thoroughly can be very helpful in making sure that your inner peace is not challenged during your birthing time.
Your parents or in-laws might want to be notified as soon as you’re in labor so that they can be there immediately to see the baby--but what do YOU want?
This may be quite challenging for you, to unearth your own true desires in between the expectations and pressures of family and friends. However, you don't need me to tell you that you shouldn’t always be deferring to your loved ones.
In my courses and support circles, we’ll do some inner journey work to get at the root causes of these types of feelings (since they are fairly common) - and work to reprogram those thought patterns with more positive, life-affirming ones.
Guard your decisions from people who may not be supportive.
There’s no unwritten rule that says you have to share all the details of your choices with everyone - and that includes your family.
If your cousin or auntie thinks breastfeeding is gross or homebirth is scary, you don’t have to volunteer that information to them.
If you think your parents will become fearful at the thought of you refusing some prenatal tests or making choices that don’t align with their ideals, then just don’t mention it.
You are not obligated to take on their fears.
You are not required to set yourSelf on fire to keep others warm.
Their opinions are just that - opinions.
If your girlfriend thinks that her epidural was the best thing since sliced bread, you don’t have to open Pandora’s Box regarding everything you’ve ever read about natural birth.
It might feel uncomfortable to many of us, but the fact is - in certain scenarios, the peace of mind gained from a lie of omission can be worth its weight in gold.
Since when did we need be constantly, zealously ready to defend our every choice against the vague and nebulous “they” and “them”?
The mental and emotional stress of having even one person in your social circle expressing their fears or anger at your choices can be really difficult to manage--so why invite anyone to pick apart a decision you’ve already made, and that you feel confident in?
This has nothing to do with being weak or afraid of fighting for what you believe in - it's about conserving your resources and recognizing that some battles aren't worth your time or attention.
Your life is YOURS, and you don't need to win anyone's approval or gain anyone's permission to live it the way you see fit.
Even if you’re blessed with a network of unwavering support, you might not want to answer a barrage of questions as your pregnancy progresses. The opinion of those dear to us does affect us - so make sure to surround yourself with supportive, life-affirming individuals - and stay out of conversations with folks whose aim is to drag you down!
For example, I learned the hard way to just not tell anyone my due date - because my babies tended to arrive pretty late.
So instead of being subjected to questions, phone calls, and inquiries of “Have you had that baby YET?” for the last month or more of my pregnancies (which would in turn make me anxious!), I simply told everyone a date that was about 4 weeks away from my actual due date.
If you’re terribly worried about unwelcome advice, pressure, or nagging from well-meaning friends and family, a good policy to adopt might be, “Ask me no questions, and I’ll tell you no lies.”
Tongue-in-cheek? Certainly - but it has its place!