Recently, in reading the book "Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering" by Sarah Buckley, I was introduced to the idea of BRAN in labour and birth. Today, I came across the same idea again but with an added "I", making it BRAIN. This is what it stands for -
B - Benefits
R - Risks
A - Alternatives
I - Intuition
How does this apply to birth? Well, when taking the journey of pregnancy and birth within our medical system many choices and potential interventions may come toward you. There may be times when it doesn't seem you have a choice or that something is the best way based on how it is described. These are the times when you are called to listen within and slow down for a moment. It is always your right to ask questions, take time, and choose. This is your body, your pregnancy, your birth, your baby.
Benefits - You may ask your care provider what the benefits are of the proposed test, intervention, etc, so that you can make an informed choice.
Risks - Knowing the risks vs. the benefits of something will always help you to tap in to what is most important to you. Remember that you have a right to say no, to ask for more time, and to take space to connect with your partner (or Doula) before you make any decisions.
Alternatives - Sometimes there may be other ways to achieve (or attempt to) the same outcome that are more in line with your wishes, visions, and values.
Intuition - This is where your deep innate feminine wisdom gets to come forward. Go inward, connect with your baby, with quiet space, to feel and hear the knowing that doesn't always get value within the medical model of care.
Nothing - meaning you DO NOTHING. What would it be like if instead of doing something you practiced trust, patience, and deep surrender instead? What if you did your research, weighed options, felt all the feelings, tapped in, and then instead of acting you did nothing and waited. What if you trusted your body and your baby..?
I encourage you to practice this during your pregnancy, and life in general. The act of slowing down, making space, listening to the inner whisper, and waiting for and trusting the answer is a powerful practice.
All at once I knew
what I wanted to force myself to know
That quiet is needed
the internal looking a deep part of the path
All at once I knew
that I didn't have to do anything
Those few minutes of stillness
bringing me back to my grounded heart centre
I knew I could stop
that I would be ok
That I was doing my best
and that I shine and this light is seen
I knew she would be ok
this sacred soul that I watch over
That she will blossom in her truth
because I am there in full presence
I knew that my wounds are blessings
teachers along my path to full being
And that those wounds, when illuminated
have the capacity to heal
That when I name those things, buried in the dark
she also grows, heals, and knows
All at once I knew
we are going to be ok
Because my heart is open
and my intention is strong <3
From the pink of my cupboards to the smile in my daughters face.
I love my life.
From the spider in my closet to the stack of dishes in my sink.
I am grateful.
From the giant gas meter on my patio to my far away parking spot.
I am exactly where I need to be.
From the way the computer overtakes my evenings to finding myself on the mat.
I am always doing my best.
From my flashes of inner truth to stirring self care intentions.
I am in love with myself.
From an ended marriage to another year of peeling apart.
I will love freely again.
From the depth of my soul to the way my daughter released when I fully hear her.
My Mama soul shines with intensity.
And from the tips of my toes to my beaming crown chakra.
My light illuminates my darkness.
I am love.
Today upon getting out of the most lovely and uninterrupted shower, I noticed my favourite, sacred, loved earring missing - it's partner along with my flower of life ring lying on the floor. I immediately went into grief. It had been lost. My favourite earring had been lost, and my 2 year old daughter was the one who lost it. Then... I lost it. In my own gentle way, I lost it. I let my daughter know how upset I was, how special that earring was, and I called upon her for help. The more I got caught up in my head about how it would never be found, the more upset I became. Then, the tears came. I cried tears for the loss of this sacred item. I let my daughter know that I was feeling so sad, and was releasing through my tears. I called out to her for help again... I couldn't focus on anything but finding this piece of myself that was lost.
Within a few minutes, I found this sacred little lotus petal OM earring, a deep part of myself, hiding behind the toilet. I continued to communicate with my child, who was concerned for both me and herself. I let her know that I loved her that it was ok. That she was ok. I allowed her in, this time, on my process, emotions, and internal dialogue. She was with me the whole way.
We went on about our day. I made the mental note that no, she wasn't ready for me to have my jewellery within access.
As I sat quietly this evening, just before writing this, I realized the depth within this experience. This earring, sacred, precious, and unique, was a reflection of my own essence and self. Those pieces of me that have been lost, or have been covered up by my child, are mourning and yearning, craving to be uncovered. Becoming a Mother means a certain un-becoming of self. A surrender to the deep and innate needs of your child, an unraveling of the Woman you once knew, who will one day be weaved back together again... Again and again.
Separation is tricky. The sticky peeling apart of two entities that have become one. The loss of identity. The comfort within the discomfort of unhappiness. The separation I speak of is that within a marriage and partnership. One that has ended long ago but kept at comfortable closeness, as to not feel the feelings that come from loss. The gentle, glue like, heart tearing, peeling apart of two soul's and lives entwined.
It's time. Time to let go, allow integration, pain, grief, and the unfolding of a new life. Time to allow a beautiful child to know her father in her own way. Time to settle in, cry, dance, trust one self, and call in what awaits.
I am ready. On my knees, face hot with tears, heart open and beating. I am ready. May I feel. May I release. May I simply be in my truth.
May my daughter feel this shift. May she know the loves that surrounds her. May she be supported. May she integrate in the way that she needs. May she walk forward, reaching for my hand, reaching for her father, and settling in herself. A whole soul, in a small body, complete and capable, vulnerable and needing to be held. Mama is here. Holding space. Guiding. Containing. Loving without judgement. The gentle peeling apart.
I have easily judged myself. I ended my marriage just over a year ago. I have kept him close. Not wanting to feel. We have a child together, of course we need to see each other. I have stayed in a comfy place. And yet this place keeps my light dim, keeps me in the place of hovering in between who I was and who I am going to be. My truth awaits. My life with my daughter awaits. The light that will illuminate Motherhoods over the world awaits. It awaits my ability to process, feel, grieve, and allow the unfolding. Today I choose to burn within my heart fire that which no longer serves. I hold my daughter, I hold myself, and I hold my ex-partner.
I love him. I forgive him. I accept him. I release him.
May our lives flourish, together in the way they need to, and apart. May my child and her father find comfort in their solitude together. May I find strength and words to support this transition for her. And within this process, may I allow the space and gentleness for myself to process what this means.
I am a Mother. I am a woman. I am alone. I am deeply supported. I sit in community with my tribe.
I step forward, my heart open and broken.
Today I was blessed with a day all to myself. A precious empty house left for me to fill with sounds and smells of my own. With this I remembered the joy and release in a long forgotten self care routine. I have hovered back and forth, loving myself for some weeks, and forgetting for many months. So today, before I had my shower, I warmed up some sesame oil with organic rose geranium and sweet orange essential oils mixed in and rubbed myself down from head to toe. In the Ayurvedic tradition, this is called Abhyanga - self oil massage. Not only was the experience of being oiled up and rubbed down purely blissful, but it set me up for a day of self love and a feeling of peacefulness. This simple act of love for myself allowed me to drop more fully into ME throughout my morning, my food choices, my choice to pray and meditate, and my choice to go slow and inward.
Since I found out that I was pregnant, it has been an interesting and bumpy journey. There have been many emotions, many of those on the darker side, and a general disconnection from what and who I am. Now that I step out onto the other side of this, what I experienced becomes more illuminated and I am able to see it as a journey, and as a part of something meaningful and with purpose. It is all part of the cycle. As I step out onto the other side, and as my mind and energy shifts, I find my desire to be with myself much stronger. I want to care for me, love me, nourish me, and with this comes the very deep and instinctual knowledge that this love, care and nurturing goes directly to the gentle spirit and fetus that grows within my womb.
One of my deepest teachings, lessons, and offerings in life is being present in ones body. My experience for many years was being disconnected from my body. It wasn't until about a year ago that I was walking down the street and heard a voice say to me "You are not in your body." This was a shocking statement for me to hear, and it also made so much sense. I had a body, I had a mind, there were emotions and experiences present in my awareness. Yet, they didn't seem to be connected. My body was going through the motions - showing up to yoga class, dancing, showering, making love, and taking part in every day life. What was missing then? Life is so much juicier when you are feeling each sensation of it and using the gift of your body to do that. I share this because soon after this internal dialogue started, I realized the important and sheer lusciousness of self care. Of sitting with myself, naked, and just knowing what I was. Of exploring my body, with both my eyes and my hands, and being present to it. I believe that when a disconnect happens between physical body and other (emotional, energetic, spiritual, mind) bodies, it becomes difficult to actually feel what is going on. Your lover may touch you, yet you do not truly feel it. You may be walking down the street, practicing yoga, cooking dinner, yet you are not truly present to the experience. Maybe in this moment you want to ask yourself - Am I feeling my body?
I find myself hovering in that space between who I was and who I am going to become. This space can be uncomfortable, and confusing if that is the feeling that I allow to be stirred. It can also be a place of deep growth and deepening. When I find myself here, I find myself asking the question "who am I?" and "what am I doing?". I find myself second guessing my choices and the path that I walk - which not too long ago was a path I was absolutely positive about. I find myself in a bit of a darkness.
It suddenly occurred to me this morning. I have a choice while I am here. I know that this is a place where I hover for the time being AND I have a choice about how I feel while I am here. I can second guess myself and live in a state of disconnection and panic OR I can accept the very simple truth that life ebbs and flows and this place where I find myself is an ok place to be. It is a place that I have found myself before and will likely find myself again. As my path shifts, I consciously know that I have choice, and have opportunity to always check in with my deep soul layer and ask "is this my truth?".
I find in this moment that what is being presented to me in my reality is something that I didn't "plan" for. This makes me uncomfortable. I like to plan. I also like to say I am not a planner, but oh yes do I like to be in control of everything. This is my work - my very conscious work. Letting go of control. Letting go of the need to control. Getting to know what lies beneath that feeling/need to know what will happen next. I was guided into a a meditation recently that had me in a situation where I had to give up control. I was debilitated and could not do anything to choose an outcome for the situation. Many feelings came up, like anger, frustration, and fear. Once I had realized, though, that I was completely out of the loop of decision making and I surrendered, something amazing happened... I felt liberated, relieved, and absolutely excited that the outcome was going to happen whether I liked it or not. It was invigorating and fed me with light. I pose the question - How may I cultivate this surrender in my daily interactions?
More than ever at this time in my life, I am aware that I must surrender to an outcome that I cannot foresee nor control. I must trust that I am protected and guided and that the outcome that is chosen for me is for my highest good. So, in this I put forward a choice. I choose to release the grips that I hold on life, the fear that drives me, and I allow myself to be guided and cared for. I expect miracles and allow them by allowing myself to choose love over fear. I reach out when I need it, and I do not tell myself sad stories (allowing my ego to take over again, the opposite of surrender). When I find myself going back and forth in my mind about why this situation is wrong and why I am not good enough, I will gently bring myself back and choose a loving thought instead. I will nurture the scared child inside of me by feeding her with love and stories of warriorhood. I will honour that scared child by validating her concerns and gently lead her to a place of empowerment. I will birth a woman that knows her worth and her ability and allow the child to be nurtured and cared for. I will be well.
I honour myself while I hover in this space between who I was and who I will become. Between girl and woman, woman and Goddess, Goddess and Mother. May I know all aspects of myself, not leaving any one out, and nurturing each equally. May I be healed and may those around me be healed. May I heal for the greater good of the world and for each unborn child that has not yet joined us. I hover in this space between, embracing my whole self, Girl, Woman, Goddess, Lover, Mother, Healer. I honour that which I am.
Great Mother and Goddess, take me to the depths, allow me to see the darkness that resides within me. Allow me to touch my shadow self and see its many faces and know its many names. Allow me to converse with her and to tune in to her wisdom and depth. Allow me to come to agreement with her for my greatest healing and growth.
May there come realization, shift, integration, growth, and deep peace.
And so it is.
Lightning paced growth has maybe left me in a place of "what now". I spent a beautiful chunk of time evolving and really getting to know what I am on the inside. So much was going on, so many new discoveries, and I was full of new insight and knowing on a constant basis. This was a beautiful time.
Now is the time to allow this to integrate. To truly feel these shifts, knowing that this was not just another venture that leads to more confusion. It was growth, continues to be growth, and always will be a road of growth. I pray for quiet and self love, allowing myself to be in my powerful goddess essence and to unfold into the beautiful and radiant woman that I am.
There is nothing that needs to be changed. Nothing to be plucked, lost, or gained. I am whole and perfect as I am right in this moment. I am accepted, I am loved, I am supported. My dreams are the biggest and most important thing to those that support me on this path. So important that as long as I hold them tight and agree to take that leap of faith, they will come true times 10.000.000. They are that important. They are that real. They are solid. I can almost tough them. They are festering up there above me as I write this just waiting for me to take that leap.
Yes, integration! Maybe integration is important. Allowing myself to see what I am. Living in this sense of acceptance for my full me-ness. This me-ness that can be so big, Giant, HUGE! As far as my energy field can reach, as far as my love can reach, my deepest soul desire is to shine so brilliantly that each feminine soul may benefit, shift, and grow into their own beautiful truth. Me-ness is greatness.
I call out to the Universe, to spirit and Goddess, to love and light. May I find peace in each moment, in this body, and find all that I need to grow forward as to be of service and to prosper. Aho!
What now? Be patient a little longer in the lull. Allow yourself to accept the shifts. See them. Recognise. them. Be in your me-ness. Me-ness is greatness. Know this.
Oh the beauty of children. I dream of witnessing the soul that comes into my life, and how it may evolve and discover. My strongest desire is to be of assistance. To not attempt to mold or make but to simply guide and lead. Beautiful soul that lingers in waiting, I bow to you, I honour you, I see and feel you. May you know that you are loved and appreciated. May you know that here you will find the warmth and support in your journey of growth and evolution. Deep love to you my child.