The moment we become pregnant our lives change forever. What was once a life all about ourselves, suddenly becomes about someone else. We think twice about that second cup of coffee, swear off sushi and walk with the knowledge that we are nurturing the life of a little soul.
Once that first contraction comes, we stand at the gate of labour and realize that we are now entering a new journey, one that is both unknown and one that we know will change us forever.
In my classes I talk a lot about birth as a labyrinth. Unlike a maze, labyrinths don't need to be figured out. They have one path in and one path out. We can walk them with a quiet mind, letting our thinking mind go. As we allow our feet to take the twists and turns, we know that all we must do is trust the path in front of us. We are always allowed to take a rest, even in the midst of the path until we are ready to continue. Once in the centre (which represents the birth) we pause and look back at where we have come from.
The journey out of the labyrinth represents the postpartum time. Unlike in our culture that says after 6 weeks you will be fine to continue life as usual, the labyrinth acknowledges the time it takes to unwind. Everything from getting to know your baby, breastfeeding, negotiating sleepless nights, changing relationships and so much more. Many women find it takes about 2-3 years to fully exit that labyrinth, certainly a substantial journey, one full of surprises, challenges and awakenings.
Motherhood is a journey, something that continues through the rest of our lives. We all experience it differently, however we all share a common thread. It is challenging, amazing, wonderful, tiring and asks us to surrender on a daily basis, always being willing to release attachment to our ideas of "what should be" to "what can be." Just like the journey of the hero (think any epic story-Lord of the Rings for example) motherhood takes ordinary people with extraordinary ability and transforms us into something so unexpected. So whether you are standing at that gate getting ready to step through it, or you are in the labyrinth making your way out, remember to be gentle with yourself and know that you must do nothing but trust your inner wisdom and follow the path before you. This is your journey.