Sunday, March 29, 2009

Letting Go of Fears & Embracing Freedom

*If you are bothered by the discussion of placenta consumption,
you may want to skip this post!

One of the major benefits I have received from going to yoga is the relaxation period at the end of each class. It seems to be the only time where I am completely free to relax in every way and be with myself and my thoughts/feelings/fears/dreams/etc. There is something so special about being far away (and by that I mean far enough that no one can disturb me!) in a safe place where I can let go of needing to be so hyper-aware of everything and everyone around me. Months ago I would've likely said it wasn't important for me to have that kind of time set aside but it is so beneficial to me and everyone around me. Not because I'm away from everyone, but because I'm with myself. Something I can't seem to do unless I make an effort at it. I'm the kind of mom that sleeps with one eye open, always feeling like I need to be on call just in case. It's just how I am and I know that about myself. It's a good thing in many ways and I'm not looking to let that go, however, I am learning how to embrace the need to find a time/place/space where I can just be with *me*. It's amazing how much different I feel about myself, my life, my family and my time. I am so much more relaxed these days about... well, everything! I've looked in the mirror (figuratively) and faced all sorts of things I didn't even know about myself. Fears and deep rooted beliefs that have been showing up all over the place in my life without my even connecting the dots. So much of life can be lived on "auto pilot" without our awareness of it. Many of our decisions are not made by our authentic selves but our belief systems that were put in place long ago and have been secretly governing our lives while we ignorantly feel in control of it all.

I won't go into many of the things I've been discovering about myself because the details are very personal and the healing process is for me alone. But there are some things that pertain to pregnancy and birth which I'm always happy to talk about. For instance, I've spoken about the issue we faced after Justus was born, with his cord bleeding out even though we delayed cord cutting for what I considered to be a sufficient amount of time (not to mention his cord had been white, and limp for a while!). I've been shaken up about that since his birth. It took long time for me to even think about it without feelings of terror rising up, and all the "what if's" that my mind couldn't really handle. I vowed that I would never interfere with the separating of future baby's and their placentas! Can you blame me, really? Still it was a fear, and fears are not the ideal place from which we should make our decisions.

I'm not sure how many of you know this so I will tell it as if you're hearing it for the first time. With Justus's birth we had planned in advance to dehydrate the placenta and encapsulate it for me to take as a supplement during the postpartum period. We used a TCM (traditional Chinese medicine) recipe and followed it precisely to ensure the best possible benefits could be obtained. The outcome was incredible. I felt fantastic after I began taking the capsules. My bleeding slowed down considerably and I am a VERY heavy bleeder! My overall moods were lifted and my body bounced back quicker than it ever had before (I don't mean the size necessarily, though that happened as well, but rather the feeling of being back to myself in an incredibly short amount of time).

Justus's birth had left me rather confused about whether it is more beneficial to leave the placenta attached or take advantage of the benefits of consuming it. My fears had me leaning HEAVILY on the side of leaving it alone obviously, but those fears have been withering away as the time draws near. I found myself searching for information about the benefits and once again considering it a possibility. I'm still intending to leave the cord attached WAY longer than I did with Justus, but I'm no longer holding on to the belief that I have to have it one way or the other. I can have both, and it's o.k. This is freedom. The place where the best decision can be made. Where irrational (or rational) fears aren't governing my every move.

We went out yesterday and purchased a mortar and pestle to crush the placenta with once it's fully cooked and dehydrated according to the recipe. It was very liberating! I think Ivan is happy to be once again in charge of the process. He really enjoyed it last time around. It is important to have positive energy flowing while the placenta is being prepared (which takes anywhere from 10-12 hours total) so he was on guard the entire time making sure if any of the children needed something from the kitchen that they were in a happy place before entering (that is, if he let them enter at all! LOL). I watched as he crushed the dried pieces into powder form, not at all an easy task! And he made sure I never missed a dose and watched as I healed faster than I ever had before, feeling good about his efforts and their wonderful outcome. So much for a father feeling helpless as their wife births their child, huh? Ivan is anything but helpless when it comes to my births. He is a rock that I gladly lean on, I wouldn't want to do it without him!

So yeah, plans have been slightly adjusted, and I'm feeling really good about that. It's been quite the journey with this little one so far :-)

One of the other fears that I was holding on to had to do with two factors that are not at all related (apparently the mind doesn't care! lol). I have what I call an active uterus. Perhaps the medical community would call it an "irritable uterus" but I don't jive with the negativity contained in that term. I don't consider it a problem, but rather a benefit. My uterus is active and toned and NEVER fails me when the time comes to deliver! I've always carried to term and my cervix is strong and unchanging until it is time, so it's obviously not an issue. The other factor is my water breaking days before true labor kicks in. Again, another variation of normal, that would be considered a medical emergency, if of course, I went that route. Anyway, I have been aware throughout my pregnancies of a tensing up that happens when I have contractions. A slight fear that perhaps one of those contractions may cause my water to break long before baby is ready. I mean, this is totally rediculous because nothing in my history would make this fear rational at all. I'm a 40-41 weeker for crying out loud! But yet here I was feeling a little anxious when I had a contraction. Totally NOT what you want when you are preparing for a relaxed, pain-free, pure birth!!!

So, peace I have found with this as well. In my quiet time I focus on what's real, and let go of what is not. I practice changing my experiences by conciously changing the way I think and feel. It's amazing how if I fear contractions they can be uncomfortable or even painful, but when I consider to them to be pleasurable, and connected to orgasmic feelings, I get that result! Our minds are amazing pieces of machinery. A little time and energy spent considering what our highest possible outcome could be and we can change the course of our future! You get what you settle for, and there is no need to settle for anything in this life, that is something my mother taught me when I was a little girl. I didn't really believe her, and I don't think she even believed herself! But she was right.

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