My life isn’t particularly pretty at the moment. In fact, it’s a giant messy, muddle. I’m in the middle of huge transitions. I’m undergoing shifts related to my basic security in the world, base chakra issues. Changes are happening with career, my husband’s business and my car. The most stressful part is that I really have no way of knowing how these shifts will impact my life. But I do know that my life will change in fundamental ways.
Anyone who has ever birthed a child will shudder with recall, if you mention the “transition” stage of labour. When I started thinking about the similarities between the stages of labour and the stages of life changes, I knew there were some parallels. But when I re-read the description of the transition stage of labour, I couldn’t believe how accurately it portrays what I am going through at the moment.
“Transition is generally the shortest part of labor, lasting 15 minutes to half an hour on average. However, this is also the most intense part of labor.
The major emotional marker for this stage is giving up. It is in this part of labor that most women ask for medication.
Physical signs of transition include shaking or trembling. Nausea and vomiting are also common signs. In addition to these, some women will feel hot and cold flashes or have cold sweats.
Another physical sign is the inability to relax or be comfortable. A woman who was handling labor well may suddenly find that she has no idea what to do and nothing is comfortable any more. At this point, it is the job of her coach or labor partner to assist her into various positions in an attempt to find the one that will keep her most comfortable.
During transition, contractions will be long and close. They may be 90 seconds long and two minutes apart, which gives you a 30 second rest time between contractions. The contractions may double peak, or they may seem to be one right after the other without any break.
Transition is the time when the mother is the most emotionally needy as well. Some women need constant reassurance that they are okay. This may be due to the overall “giving up” and feeling that she is out of control. Most women will respond well to positive encouragements and some require no special consideration other than giving them the physical and emotional space to labor.
The “giving up” or feeling out of control may be recognized by comments the mother makes. It is not uncommon for a mother to say, “I can’t do this,” or “I need something.” Recognize that the mother is asking for help. She can no longer handle the labor the way she has been, and she needs to do something different.”
Giving Up Control
Just like when I was actually in labour, I am “giving up” control. The scope of change facing me, is just to great to pretend I’m controlling things.
When I was in the transition stage of my labour I remember saying things like “I can’t do this”, or “I’m going to die”. These weren’t exaggerations. I really did think I was going to die, the pain was so great. The thing was, when there’s a baby half-in and half-out of you, you HAVE NO CHOICE but to continue. There is no choice at all, even if you hate every minute of it, and it is the greatest pain you’ve ever endured. You must keep going, even just for it to end. I had to trust in my body, and the Universe, and all around me because I had no other choice. Because I had no control, my only choice was to trust.
I’m not in labour at the moment, but there are there are so many changes for me, on such big levels, that it is almost too overwhelming for me to even panic. Like with a half-out baby, there is no point in being afraid, I just have to keep going.
I have no choice but to “give everything up” to the Universe, and have faith that things will work out.
I am still freaked out on a daily basis, as I don’t know where things are going. All I can do is keep going. To get through this major amount of change in such a short time, while I keep doing the best I can, I just have trust that things will turn okay. If I maintain the illusion that I am controlling everything I’ll lose my mind entirely.
Inability to relax or be comfortable
Like a woman in the transition stage of labour, I can’t relax. My current life grates on me and makes me irritable. Parts of my life are no longer a comfortable fit for me, but the new is not here yet so I have nothing to mold myself into. I’m like a crab waiting to grow into my new and bigger shell, but still being exposed and raw from ditching the old one.
I’m out of my comfort zone right now as I stretch to bridge myself to my new states of being. I’m very uncomfortable right now while I’m waiting for the next phase. I just don’t resonate anymore on the old levels any more. So I’m stuck in the uncomfortable phase in between. It is hard for me to relax, because I don’t know where I’m going.
Most emotionally needy, needing constant reassurance
In this transition stage, on a daily basis, it is not clear what my future holds. Like the woman in the difficult transition phase of her labour, I need all the help I can get. All I know is that I can no longer handle the way my life has been and I need to do something different, even if I don’t know what it is or where I’m going.
The “not knowing” is very uncomfortable. But like the woman in labour, my only option is to keep coping one moment at a time, getting through each day, and keep looking for clues about my future.
Like a labour coach, my current coach is devoting extra time and attention to me at the moment, to ensure I keep an even keel and keep going. My birthing coaches had to constantly reassure me, and keep saying things to me like “You can do it”. I only got through labour by seeing the belief in their eyes that I could keep going, despite my exhaustion, even though I didn’t have the belief myself. With my last baby, the look in my husband’s eye was the only thing that got that baby out. When I didn’t have the strength in my body, I called on the strength he could see in me, to get that baby out.
This support is what my current coach is giving me. When I really can’t see where I’m going or how I’m going to get there, I borrow a her courage since she has travelled this path before me. She believes in me right now, even at the times when I don’t believe in myself. Her belief in me is especially important right when I don’t believe in myself.
Long and close contractions
During my first labour my husband and I had a fight about my contractions. “How far apart are they?” he asked. “I think they’re 2 minutes apart”, I answered. “That can’t be right”, he said, “that’s not what the book says contractions are supposed to do.”
Guess what – the book was wrong. In fact, there is no book that can tell you how a real birth will go in real life. My contractions were overlapping and there were no breaks at all, unlike the books say there will be. There was just five hours of constant unbelievable pain.
My life right now is filled with one demand after another. Yesterday, there were so many changes, creating so much stress I thought I was going to vomit from the tension. The changes are coming fast and furious right now, and I just have to deal with them as they come.
There is no real map I can consult for the journey I am on. I just have to believe that with one foot in front of the other I can get where I’m supposed to go.
Transition is the shortest stage of labour
One of the ways I am coping with my stress is to remind myself that while transition is arguably the worst stage of labour, it is also the shortest.
If my analogy to labour is accurate, after this I should be the “active” stage. In a real labour, the active phase is commonly referred to as “pushing”. Even though it is still beyond painful, a magical force takes command of your body. I gave up entirely, but miraculously, my body just kept pushing the baby out. It as though, once your body is committed to pushing, it is pulled along by its own momentum until that baby is out. Your body is proceeding on one path, and it only has one ending. The baby comes out, and you get to rest.
Like pushing a baby out, getting through these major changes, and making the leap to something new, will hopefully be short. So I’m comforting myself with the knowledge that this is probably the most difficult and uncomfortable part on my transitions.
Once I find a path, I will be able to commit to it, and focus on how to follow it. Once a course of action is determined, I will no longer have the stress of not knowing where I’m going. I will be able to have a rest and be able to regoup.
In the meantime, I’m taking everything one step at a time, and trying to be grateful for everything I have. I’m watching for clues and grounding myself as best I can. And I’m trusting in the Universe’s wisdom and guidance (when I can calm down enough to do so).
Hopefully something beautiful and soul-nourishing will be born. And soon….
If you are ready to hear connect with your Higher Wisdom, I can help you make the Connection. Receive your intuitive messages, waiting for you to retrieve them right now! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to book your journey.
Kara Thompson :: Copyright 2010
Thanks to http://www.birthingnaturally.net/birth/progress/transition.html for the labour information.
About the goddess in the photo:
In Aztec mythology, Tlazolteotl is a goddess of purification, midwives, filth, and a patroness of adulterers. Tlazolteotl was a goddess of filth (sin), vice, and sexual misdeeds. However, she was a purification goddess as well, who forgave the sins and disease of those caused by misdeeds, particurlarly sexual misdeeds. Her dual nature is seen in her epithets; Tlaelquani (‘she who eats filth [sin]‘) and Ixcuina or Ixcuinan (‘she of two faces’).
Thanks to gloria_e_247, for the photo of Tlazolteotl, the goddess of birth, and the Filth Eater. http://www.flickr.com/photos/24517669@N05/2488269128/