Wednesday, November 16, 2011


I’m generally the type of person who prefers to have a rock-solid plan in place for everything. I like making lists and schedules; I like knowing precisely what to expect. I like feeling as though I have control over things.

But in the final weeks of pregnancy, I have noticed that I must learn to let go. The truth is, there really is very little that I can control. I cannot nail down a plan that gives me an exact date and time, and I have no way of knowing precisely what my labor will be like. You would think that I would feel very anxious when I realize how little is actually within my control, but the opposite turns out to be true. It actually brings me a sense of peace. I can let go. I don’t need to worry about making plans for every little thing. It’s okay if I don’t have the house perfectly clean and organized, or if I don’t have a bunch of meals prepared and frozen in advance, or if I don’t have every little detail all planned out. All those details that seem like such a big deal to my OCD self are really not that major after all, and becoming overly focused on them distracts me from the preparations that are most important–preparing my mind, body, and soul for the hard work and life-changing experience that is ahead of me.

If every square inch of my house is scrubbed and spotless… if I have enough meals stored up for several weeks… if I have a plan in place for every little logistical detail… but my mind and body have not been given adequate time to pause, relax, prepare, and find a place of peace, then I still haven’t accomplished what I need most.

And so I breathe. I pray. I identify my worries and fears, and I work through them. I focus on the beauty and significance of what is about to happen, of bringing a new life into the world, a new person to my family. I lay a hand on my belly and feel little feet pushing back, and I am awestruck by the realization that this new and unique little person will be in my arms soon.

The work of labor will be hard, no doubt. They do call it “labor” for a reason. ;) And while I cannot precisely plan how my labor will go, I can prepare my mind and body for it. I can breathe and relax, two major things that will help my body do what it needs to do most efficiently once labor begins. I remind myself that the sensations of labor, while strong and intense at times, are nothing more than a specific set of muscles in my body doing exactly what they were designed to do in order to birth a baby, and that my job is simply to relax and breathe in order to better equip my body to do its job. I work on releasing fear and tension because I know those things will make labor more difficult than it has to be. And I remind myself that when labor becomes hardest, that is a sign that it is coming to a close and that soon, so soon, I will be holding my baby.

But even when this pregnancy is over, I want to remember these lessons I’m learning about letting go. I want to live my life with less stress and tension over anxiously planning every little detail. I want to find a place of peace in my life where I am better equipped to focus on the things that really are important without getting dragged down by things that are often not within my control in the first place. I’ve been through several situations this year that have reminded me that I can’t control everything, and even though I’ve battled feelings of anxiety and depression as I’ve struggled through them, I get the feeling that I am coming out on the other side with a better understanding of patience, trust, and peace.

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