In a way I want to begin this post by apologizing for my messy house. But the truth is, I’m not all that sorry. I don’t enjoy cleaning and scouring and don’t get the thrill of accomplishment, satisfaction of a job well done, etc., from cleaning- generally speaking.
So when I got up before 5 a.m. on Black Friday to get to a sale to buy a mop, my husband was baffled. (But other than his initial query, he knew it was better to not mention the fact that I don’t clean the floor very often.) I got to the store around 5:30. They had opened at 4:00- needless the say, the one in the flyer was sold out. But…
I found the last box for a different version of the same mop, also on sale. Woohoo! Success! (Not quite as cheap, but the cleaning pad was bigger and this makes more sense since 90% of my house is tile floor.)
I finally got the mop out of the box and put it together Sunday morning. I even read the directions (mostly about how not to electrocute yourself using water with an electrical appliance) and then ran the sweeper over the kitchen floor. I powered up the steam mop and then ran to get the camera to document the power of steam…
An hour later my husband found me kneeling on a towel, scrub brush in hand, bucket and rags nearby, scouring the kitchen floor, battling against the dirt (and winning!) So what happened?
The steamer worked pretty good. There were a couple spots that needed a little extra attention (the directions said that would be true) and I had applied a vinegar/water mix to clean them up and suddenly I was inspired by the mostly clean floor to really go all the way- to really get the floor super-super clean so I can keep it clean with my new mop. I’ve never been inspired to clean like this, so I was nearly as surprised as my sweet husband (who kept suggesting I take a break and watch football with him).
As I scrubbed with satisfaction, uncovering a much cleaner floor than I ever thought possible, it occurred to me how important inspiration and the idea of “ease of use” are in life- and in birth.
See, I think a lot of women are looking for “ease of use” in pregnancy and labor. So hypno-birthing, epidurals and other methods to make things simpler are attractive. For my first birth, I made sure to follow the hospital’s protocol for the epidural prior to my labor, so I would have a choice of how to manage the pain of my labor. I didn’t know what to expect, what it would feel like, and I wanted options. It seemed like a nice, easy alternative if things (like pain) got out of hand.
It gave me a kind-of safety net in my mind. I didn’t really want to go that route, but because I had that back-up plan, I felt I could manage better and longer. In some ways just having the choice available gave me inspiration to continue with a drug-free labor. Like knowing the steam mop would clean most of the dirt, an epidural might lessen most of the pain, but because it was there, I didn’t really need it. I knew I could do it, and the satisfaction at the end was a high unlike any other I’ve experienced. (It wasn’t the satisfaction of not having an epidural- it was the choice to believe in myself and follow what I really wanted.)
I was inspired to stay on track because I recognized I had options. What’s really great about recognizing options is then seeing how options for birth are everywhere. Even at home. So when my second daughter was born at home, the full cognition of my options made everything possible, all over again, even without an epidural standing in the wings.
I had chosen for myself. I had options available. I was free to make informed decisions for my care. I was inspired to believe in myself, to follow my gut, to trust birth. And this is what I wish for all birthing women- options limited only by your heart’s desire accompanied by trust in the process of birthing your babies. (And a clean floor might be nice too!)