Growing up, I learned about planning – a tool that created structure on the path into the unknown, towards my goals and dreams.
In order to succeed, in order to reach a goal, I must learn everything I can about the steps required to reach it. I must lay out a map of how to get there and then follow that map to its destination. Easy. Right?
It worked. It worked for processes in which I had a large amount of control. It worked for processes that had a specific, linear structure. It worked ~ pretty well ~ until I embarked on my transition into motherhood.
While I was pregnant, I followed what was successful for me in the past:
I set the goal: I want to be the best mother I can be.
I gathered everything I’d learned in school and in my naturopathic practice about having a healthy pregnancy, labour and birth and about healing postpartum and getting started with breastfeeding.
And, I sought more learning.
I laid out the plan. In this case, it was my birth intention. (I couldn’t bear to call it a plan, because deep down, I knew this process couldn’t be planned.)
I really wanted to give our baby the best start possible ~ a natural birth and breastfeeding were priorities.
And, in the midst of it all, I sensed a craving for more.
I’d done a lot of learning.
My brain felt full but I still didn’t feel ready.
I didn’t feel ready, because while I knew a lot about pregnancy, labour, birth and breastfeeding from a physical and medical perspective, I didn’t know what that journey would look like for me.
I was stepping into the unknown, into a process that I could prepare for but couldn’t control. And, with that realization came fear.
Several years before, I’d watched a TED Talk by Jill Bolte Taylor: Stroke of Insight. In this video, Bolte Taylor, a neuroscientist, describes the right and left hemispheres of our brain:
“The right hemisphere is about this present moment – right here, right now. It thinks in pictures and learns kinesthetically through the movement of our bodies. Information, in the form of energy, streams in through all of our sensory systems and then explodes into an enormous collage of this present moment… We are energy beings, connected through the consciousness of our right hemispheres as one human family…in this moment we are perfect, we are whole and we are beautiful.
Our left hemisphere thinks linearly and methodically. Our left hemisphere is all about the past and it’s all about the future. Our left hemisphere is designed to take that enormous collage of the present moment and start picking out details, details and more details about those details. It then categorizes and organizes all of the information, associates it with everything in the past that we’ve ever learned and projects into the future all of our possibilities. And our left hemisphere thinks in language…it’s that little voice that says ‘I am.’…a single, solid individual separate from the energy flow around me…”
While I was preparing to become a mother, I felt the nudge to watch that video again and I suddenly realized that all of the learning I’d done, all of the preparation and planning I’d done, had nourished my left brain ~ it was strong and vital and a little overwhelmed.
And then, another moment of clarity:
Pregnancy, labour, birth, breastfeeding and mothering are rooted in instinct, intuition and inner knowing ~ they are right brain processes.
In order to prepare for what was ahead, in order to prepare to step into the unknown, into a process that I wasn’t in complete control of, I had to nourish my right brain ~ my inner knowing.
Several tools and processes supported this right brain nourishment ~ art, music, healthy breathing, yoga, labyrinth meditations.
Our son’s journey into this world was not the natural birth I’d intended. It was a physically and emotionally challenging journey, filled with medical interventions that led to a Caesarean birth.
With this type of physical outcome, some might say that all of the preparation I’d completed, didn’t work ~ that I’d wasted my time.
Those people are wrong.
All of the preparation I’d completed allowed me to reconnect with my right brain, my inner knowing, at each twist and turn on that journey. This reconnection allowed me to release any expectations I’d placed on the process and return to the flow of it. It allowed me to realize that my body was protecting me and our son. For some reason, at that time and in those circumstances, it wasn’t safe for him to arrive vaginally.
Despite a labour and birth filled with medical intervention, the reconnection with and nourishment of my right brain allowed me to step into my early mothering experiences with confidence.
I knew that no matter what those experiences brought, I carried the wisdom to move through them healthfully.
This deep, enriching experience, has guided me throughout my mothering journey – with each twist and turn, with each dose of the unexpected, I’m encouraged to reconnect with that inner wisdom, to nourish my right brain – with a variety of self care practices.
And, I have become dedicated to supporting women to engage in informed, intuitive mothering ~ a balance of nourishing the left brain and the right brain, from preconception care, through pregnancy, birth and beyond. We work together to explore reliable information and use natural therapeutics, while supporting a strong connection with your natural, inner wisdom, as you move through the joys and challenges of your unique healing journey.