So we are finally finished with our move. (I think.) We have stopped bringing items from Grandma’s house and started taking things back or giving them away or throwing them away. Each time we move I am astounded by the amount of “stuff” we have accumulated and, since our last two moves have been to smaller spaces, the amount of “stuff” that must be disposed of one way or another. Interestingly enough, I don’t really miss anything we’ve left behind. Oh sure, there are those emotional moments when you first decide that something must go (“Not the vase Great Aunt So n So got at that yard sale for nickel. Remember how she talked the lady down from a quarter? Can you believe anyone would ask a quarter for THAT?! The nerve!”) But then the moment passes and you realize – it’s just “stuff” after all and you let go and your burden is a little lighter. Finally, you are down to essentials. You know, those items you absolutely neeeed. But you don’t really have room for all of those either and so begin the hard decisions. The criteria: Is it truly useful? Do I have space for it?
I know you think I’m rambling here but see labor is a lot like moving. Early on, when you first start to think “Today is the day!”, you are excited. You walk around in a happy daze. You eagerly anticipate each rush as it comes. These contractions are light and easy. They do not demand your attention so you spend your time calling friends, “nesting”, and imagining the moment when you will meet your baby. As the rushes begin to feel like waves gently lapping the shoreline in an ever constant rhythm, your excitement doesn’t wane but it does get tucked away momentarily as each wave washes over you. Wellwishers come and go and between contractions you smile and nod and perhaps even laugh, answering their questions and listening to their stories. Then (and this is where labor becomes like moving) just as you begin to settle into the rhythm of the waves, they intensify. They become longer. They become stronger. Jokes are not as funny and you lose interest in the stories of “when I had my baby…” The activity around you becomes “stuff” that must be discarded. You don’t want to be rude. You want to participate but you have to let go because there is not enough room within yourself for anything extraneous. And within is where you must go. Your retreat brings peace … for a time … until you discover there is “stuff” here too. Fears, hopes, all sorts of emotional baggage. In the constant sea of rolling waves you sort through each item, searching for the essentials. Toss the fear. Release the expectations. Strip everything down and when you discover your very core then you will also suddenly find yourself on the other side of the storm.
The waves will still seem tall because you will be tired but remind yourself that you are close. Reach deep into the core you found and pull out a final bit of strength. Your child is close. You will hold her soon.