Originally published by SMRT Parenting March 9,2015
For me one of the hardest things to tolerate is uncertainty. The more days I live and the more breaths I take, the more I’m aware of how much I don’t know. That has been one of my life struggles.
However, through my years of studying and working, I have come to understand that certainty is bullshit –it’s an illusion – it’s not real. I have learned that things are not black or white—but grey; that’s the truth. The desire to define, and put things into neat little boxes is just a trapping of the ego. I’d say that almost nothing is either/or, but instead is “and” or “in-between”. I have always struggled to find peace with this state of consciousness. Even after all of my self-exploration, I still recognize that lack of control makes me uncomfortable. I have come to understand that it takes discipline to accept the grey, and to stop feeling tortured by it. I have learned that these uneasy situations are where I will find the most growth.
For the last 10 years or so, I’ve been working on being ok in this ‘and’ state of affairs.
I’ve learned that I can break up with someone and still love them.
I can be opinionated and I can still be flexible.
I can love my body and still want thinner thighs.
I can be afraid to take a risk and still take action, putting my fears aside.
These skills of being ok with what “is” were greatly tested during the 2 years we struggled to conceive our daughter. That difficult time forced me to tap into a deeper level of consciousness at warp speed.
The road toward motherhood taught me more than I ever anticipated. The biggest challenges we face prepare us for the future…. as long as we are willing to receive the lessons bestowed.
Getting the hang of how to live with purpose and intention – yet also embracing this in-between state is truly magical. I thought I was totally down with the “unknown”, until the stakes got really big. Until I really wanted something…someone– more than I ever wanted anything in my life.
I ached to become pregnant, and tried diligently for a long time. I did all the things I was “supposed” to do. Weekly acupuncture, healers, herbs, meditation, doctors, relaxation, clean diet, healthy body, charting my basal temp… yep, I did it all. There were moments when I hated this process. When the feelings of “why me” would bubble up, it was hard for me to find peace.
How can I welcome these fears and worries? I even started to convince myself that my feelings of frustration were stopping me from getting pregnant. Ladies out there trying to conceive, please, please, remember that you need not buy into that vicious cycle of self-blame.
As a therapist, I knew I was trying to push the negative thoughts and feelings away. I would affirm the positive. I prayed in earnest. I genuinely made gratitude lists. However, I would still get all twisted up in my head about it. I thought, if I hate this, how am I possibly going to cope with being pregnant? And so I crossed a major hurdle. I gave myself permission to live in a state of mixed emotion. I made peace with my conflicted inner state. I wanted to do what it took to get pregnant and sometimes I hated the process.
Great. Lesson learned… or so I thought. Surprisingly, the pattern reared up again during my pregnancy. I was blessed with a healthy pregnancy and I was grateful. However, I suffered from acid reflux and nerve pain during my entire pregnancy. By my third trimester the pain was unbearable that I wished it would end. Yet , I knew I would miss being pregnant. My expanding shape was helping me expand my consciousness so that I could hold all these thoughts and feelings. Yes, we can hold feelings at the same time that seem to contradict each other.
So again, I found myself engaged in a cognitive tug of war. This time it was more familiar, and I remembered that I could observe the tug of war without getting so worked up about it. Yes, I was so ecstatic to be pregnant, and I wanted it to be over already.
Even now, I love spending all of my time with my daughter and I mourn the loss of my independence. Everything becomes “and”—not “either/or”. As I stated above, nothing is black and white. Yes, I adore spending time with my baby: feeding her, changing her, soothing her. And yes there are many moments where I miss the fact that I don’t have the life I used to have. This is where it gets real. This is uncharted territory —just as it was during our fertility journey and during my pregnancy. It is only when we are inhabiting this in-between space that we can rise up and observe the dualities, and stop placing value on them. There is no better or worse. When we live in this space, our definitions change. Now that I’m a mother my old identity no longer fits me.
It is here that I push up against the edges of the Self I believed to be me. Through that tension, like a snake shedding his old skin — a new container has been created. It is uncomfortable and necessary.