Posts Tagged ‘change’

Ever get the feeling you should (or shouldn’t) do something? It might not seem to fit; it might mean making others unhappy or disappointed; it may mean going back on a commitment because you’ve changed your mind; it may mean doing something you’ve never done- maybe something a little scary.

It might not be convenient in the moment, but usually the feeling (or little voice) inside proves right in the long run.

It’s difficult to justify decisions that come from your inner voice, especially living in a world that is defined by comparing yourself to others on the outside. Your sense of defined logic and reason don’t always match this inner voice. Sometimes it may even seem a little crazy!

But when you learn to pay attention to what your inner wisdom shows you, and to trust and follow that guidance, you’ll find a limitless source of information available to you (at your mental fingertips) that you can access at any time, for any situation or circumstance.

This means that with practice you will intuitively know what to do. The practice then becomes learning to follow this guidance and learning to trust yourself.

Learning to access your inner guidance can change how you approach pregnancy, birth, parenting and life.

So where do you find this voice?

Begin by tuning in to Monday’s show at 1pm ET here: A Labor of Love

The topic is Body Wisdom 101, where I’ll share some basic information about connecting with your inner guidance that you can begin to use right now. Even if you’re not a parent (and have no plans to be one) this information can help you connect with your inner guidance system.

(Don’t worry if you can’t catch the live show. The podcast is generally available for download within 24 hours after the show airs.)


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Where does a woman’s right to make personal healthcare decisions begin? Does it have a finite existence? Does it continue into pregnancy? Does the right to choose to terminate a pregnancy jeopardize her right to continue the pregnancy on her own terms?

Do women deserve support during pregnancy- do they have the right to medical care, even without insurance? Do pregnant women have the right to informed consent/refusal and bodily integrity even at the expense of the baby?

Do women have the right to be respected and honored for the role we play as mothers? Do we have the right to financial support and the opportunity to choose to raise our children personally- even single moms? even young moms? even disabled moms?

Is it a reflection of our society’s views on mothering that there is no guaranteed paid maternity leave in the U.S.? Is it possible that the reason so many college-age women choose abortion when faced with unplanned pregnancy because they know “just being a mom” is not valued as important in our society (women aged 20-24 account for 33% of abortions)? Because they understand they are making not just a financial choice – to become an under-educated mother or continue with education and career goals and create financial stability, but also a choice about their status within society?

Women don’t live in a vacuum. We live together- where every opinion, every soundbite, every prejudice can barricade a woman to “sleep in the bed she made” without tangible support from any part of the equation.

In rhetoric, a woman facing an unplanned pregnancy has 3 options: Abortion, adoption, and motherhood. In a culture that doesn’t value mothers, these options can be depressing.

I know (and love) women who have chosen abortion. None of them felt excited (or even especially peaceful) at the prospect of ending the life of the baby growing inside them.

I remember one friend crying, guilt-ridden, ashamed, heartbroken and completely convinced that it was the only option she had. She described her vision of the future with a new baby and the preschooler she already had. At this time she wasn’t receiving any child support from her ex-husband, and was working 2 jobs just to make ends meet. She didn’t want to live in complete poverty, on welfare, with 2 kids. (Daycare costs for two children was more than she earned- she looked into it before making her decision.) She felt an obligation to the child already born- that child shouldn’t have to grow up living in a dangerous and violent, poor neighborhood.

Could she have chosen adoption? Yes. Did she consider it? Yes. Her conclusion at the time was that there were already too many minority children in foster care needing homes. At one time, she had been one of those children. She didn’t want to bring a baby into this world and then not know if he or she would be loved and truly cared for. In her opinion at the time, it was better for her baby to not be born, than to be born and possibly suffer its entire life with not being wanted or loved. (And having some experience with this in her own life, she felt qualified to have an opinion on which was worse.) Her abortion added to the statistic.

If she had chosen to birth and raise her baby, she would have become a different statistic: an under-educated minority woman on welfare; 2 kids; divorced; living in a public housing project.

I’m not implying one choice is better than another. But one is certainly more private than another.

She doesn’t wear a sign that says “I had an abortion.” But the women who choose to birth their children and raise them, whose choice is supported by welfare dollars and food stamps, most certainly live under the scrutiny of their decision. They are a different type of statistic. They are judged harshly for choosing to raise their children despite their poverty.

These mothers are judged as lazy (because everyone knows raising children isn’t real work). We’ve all heard stories of the “welfare queen” living large while hard-working taxpayers foot the bill. And I’m not saying welfare fraud doesn’t exist. What I am saying is that you can’t decide abortion isn’t ok, and also believe living on welfare isn’t ok either. These are the options many women face.

This is one story of one woman. How might it have been different?

To honor the lives of yet unborn babies, we also have to honor their mothers. As a society, we have to rearrange our thinking, our values, and how we see mothers. Until we really value the work of mothering, we can’t expect much to change.

Edited to add:

I want to be clear- I personally believe every woman has (and should continue to have) the right to choose what happens to her body all the time- even when she is pregnant. What I want is for women to recognize that we can stand together to foster the value of mothering- validating and honoring the rights of women during birth (bodily integrity, VBAC, refusing medical intervention), and after birth (paid leave, breastfeeding resources & support, financial means to stay home with kids). And that when society really values the nurture of the next generations, it will make it possible for more women to choose life.

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I did not meet my husband until I was 25. When we married, we agreed we didn’t want children. We both enjoyed our careers and the freedom to travel and come and go as we pleased. We could not imagine life as parents and decided to let others, better suited (we thought), take on that challenge.

A couple years later I realized that my priorities had shifted. The biological clock that I had once joked was “broken” was now ticking away loudly, as if it was making up for lost time. From this beginning, I began to reassess who I thought I was and what becoming a mom would mean to me.

I now understand that every woman must deconstruct her life, selecting carefully what she will keep and what she will discard from the old life, as she steps into the new. And this happens all throughout life.

Here are some ideas that can assist you in deconstruction and reconstruction of identity during pregnancy:

  1. Recognize that you have constructed the paradigm in which you live and that it is not difficult to make frequent minor changes. Every day opportunities challenge you to step into who you want to be: choices about handling conflict at work; defining relationships with your spouse and friends; your reaction to recognition or offers of promotion. Within daily living, you make choices based on your values and your intention (what you want as the ultimate goal.) When you are pregnant or planning a pregnancy, make decisions that support your intention for the family life you desire.
  2. A big change is really a lot of small changes that occur in a relatively short period of time. The challenge of a major life change is that most people view the big picture result and do not see the small steps that lead there. Being present to the small shifts that take place daily, you can participate in the transition, instead of feeling overwhelm at the dramatically changed end result. Being present to your thoughts and feelings during pregnancy allows you to see the inner growth instead of feeling an identity crisis when your baby is born.
  3. Question yourself. Who will you become? Who do you want to become? How can you move forward within your values, so you respect your own decisions and continue like yourself? Almost every woman has fears about the kind of mother/woman/wife she will be when her baby is born and how it will be different. By asking the questions during pregnancy and intentionally defining your new role, you build a comfortable and safe place for yourself.
  4. Surround yourself with adoring fans. Cultivating relationships with people who fully support you as you step into motherhood gives you a place to question who you are and who you want to be as you “grow up” into this new phase in your life. It is easy to internalize self-doubt -Am I ______ enough to be a mother? Can I really do this? Allowing your friends, family and mentors to support you provides a safe place to explore the shift in your life as a woman.
  5. Allow time to grieve the woman you have been.You are acutely aware that your life will never be the same again. This is wonderful. And this is scary. You know who you are right now and that this will ultimately change in ways you cannot really understand until you step into those new shoes. So it is natural and normal to feel some sense of loss over the woman you are proud to be today. Allow this to flow- respect any tears or sadness as part of the process of becoming something new.
  6. Be present to any fears that crop up.We do not know what we do not know, so it can be intimidating and unsettling, especially for women who usually have it “together.” There is no amount of reading or external preparation you can do that can eliminate the need to address your own insecurities. Will you be able to connect with your baby and understand what he/she needs? Can you love your baby enough/the right way? What will it be like to have someone need you so completely like that? Know that there is absolutely enough love in you for this job of mothering, and lean on your cheering fan club. It is ok to be afraid- let the people who love you help you be honest with your fear.
  7. Know that you have within you everything you need. The most important tool you carry is your intuition. Connect to it. Inside, you know what is true and right for you and you can trust this inner guide to make decisions and choices to be the woman and mother you want to be.

You have everything you need within you to embrace the transformation into motherhood. You will shift from one state of being into another way of being. You will not remain the same, even if you try. So instead, bend with the winds of change and define yourself on purpose.

You will be glad you did.

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