Life is messy. It’s constantly changing. Nothing is meant to stay the same. Sometimes changes come in small ways: we try a new recipe, take a new class, meet a new friend. Sometimes those changes are bigger: we change jobs, move our home, get married. Other times those changes are extraordinary: we get pregnant and prepare to give birth. Becoming a mother is an extraordinary change. Like death, it not only changes our circumstances, but it also rocks us to our core. We are forever and irrevocably changed by the experience.
And it’s messy.
And you are experiencing this extraordinary time in the middle of another extraordinary time, a global pandemic.
Talk about messy.
Before a caterpillar becomes a butterfly it turns into a soupy mush in its cocoon. That cannot be a pleasant experience. And it is certainly messy. The caterpillar literally gives itself up in order to become something completely brand new. This is what motherhood is about. I don’t mean that you give yourself up to be whatever your child needs, though there is an element of that. What I mean is that you give up the caterpillar you once were to become the butterfly you were meant to be.
There is value in being the caterpillar. There’s value in becoming the butterfly. And there is value in spending some intentional time in the mush, the mess, not knowing how it’s ever going to all come back together into any kind of recognizable form. Transformation occurs without a lot of effort on the caterpillar’s part. The same holds true for us. Yes, we need to make plans, make decisions, and be as intentional as we can be about our lives (I love using affirmations to do this with - affirmations are like a road map pointing our minds in the direction we want to go). And we also need to balance all that doing with a whole lot of being.
When we can slow down, be still, take the time to really listen to that small still voice within, we can tap into that inner knowing that will take us where we need to go next.
It is that simple.
And not that easy.
If I were a caterpillar, I would be fighting that oozy messy soup-like state with everything I had. And I bet I’d become the butterfly anyway. Life doesn’t seem to care so much about what we want. I wonder if the caterpillar knows that better than I do?
We’re all going through some pretty intense changes at the moment. To me it feels like the world is laboring with a new way of being that will eventually take form. It looks like it’s going to be a long messy labor. The unknown of that is scary. We must grieve for what was and hope for what will be.
Inside a cocoon, the transformation happens alone. Much of our personal transformation is done alone as well. But that doesn’t mean we can’t be with each other, bearing witness. This is what community is for. We all need some support through this. Sometimes we don’t know what support we need. Or maybe we know or have an inkling, but don’t know how to ask for it. Or maybe we do know and we ask for it, and it doesn’t come to us the way we hoped for.
Thoughts on pregnancy, birth and motherhood.