It is involuntary, but you signed up for it the minute to decided to birth something.
I have always said in my life that I have birthed three things, my first child, my second child and my business.
When the idea of having a family became part of our awareness, it was exciting and created a vision of this picture perfect family we could have with matchy-matchy family photos, great conversations around the dinner table with our four course meal and picturesque family outings to really nice places. These visions were encouragement enough for us to actually make having a a family happen. I was in Bliss.
I had fabulous pregnancies, I looked great and felt better than ever. After Hunter, I was aware that my body was built to create/carry children with ease. However, growing a tiny human is a rollercoaster-ride-and-a-half because your body goes through so much and you can’t sleep, your emotions are reading like an EKG, and those last few weeks before birth, feel sooooo long. Then there's the excitement and nervousness of realizing you’re in labour, you’re going to meet a tiny human soon and yet you have no idea what labour will look like. This shit is kinda scary!
Contraction is the dis-ease phase of birthing. Your body is pushing you, without conscious effort, and you have no control over the rhythm of the contraction, length, intensity and sensation. Your body is doing the work and you have no choice but to show up and let it take over. You must physically be ready for the magic that is about to unfold.
Birth. Birth is the phase where you’re already in it to win it and done the work. You’re physically ready, your body says it’s time and boom. This is where you really mentally have to show up, trust that your team has supported you to their greatest ability and trust that your body has prepared you for this over the last 30 hours of contractions. Surrender.
Bliss. Contract. Birth.
I remember waiting for my epidural with Hunter. There was an emergency in the ER. The anesthetist was on his way but called to manage this emergency and so at 4cm I waited for hours. As the contractions came on stronger, I remember switching from laying down to standing and rocking back and forth waiting for the next one, while I entertained the nurse and Jeff with hilarious stories and funny scenarios. Mid-scentence, I would put my hand up, close my eyes, and I would take a deep breath, tell everyone to hold on a second and go into my zone for what felt like eons. Eyes closed, so uncomfortable, trying to stretch it out. Deep breath and I was back to socializing, normalizing and being hilarious. With each of these contractions coming on stronger and stronger so came thoughts of "I can’t do this anymore", "the pain is too intense, I can’t do this”, and “how do I keep going if it keeps getting more intense”. The contractions came more frequently and more intensely the closer I was to the birthing process. One final, real long, surmounting contraction and oh look, a tiny human. Cute. I wasn’t sure what he’d look like, or sound like but I had an idea of what he’d be like, I had a name and couldn’t wait to give all my love to this tiny human who would grow into a man someday.
Birthing a business (or two) and a brand is very much so a similar process. Truthfully, any creative process in life, or heck life in itself, mimics this process.
The real truth is that the cycle of beginning a project, business or creative task is parallel to the experience of birthing. Any creative endeavour at that, is much like the birthing experience. Just as we hold the ideals of the "Leave it to Beaver, Mrs. Cleaver" style family photo we yearn to have, we hold the idea that our business will be something reminiscent of jet setting and cocktail lounge meetings, delegating petty tasks to an assistant and an office with views and high backed leather chairs. Let’s think more realistically like goal setting and number crunching, late night tears over setbacks and celebrating minor wins.
The idea of having a business seems dreamy at it’s inception. Bliss. The idea that you could be your own boss and answer to no one, what is better than that? Flexible work schedules, boss-babe status, and the unlimited potential to have sooo much abundance! Creating a business is a rollercoaster just like growing a tiny human. You read lots of books, you sleep less and less the closer you get to birthing and you glow with giddy and excitement to see where your hard work takes you. You’re nervous and ready all in the same sentence, you’re asking for some stories from your loved ones so you can plan for things you haven’t even thought of yet, and you’re building your birthing team of doctors, nurses, doulas, or mid-wives and in this case maybe a business mentor, bookkeeper, lawyer, support staff, so on and so forth. Yet from all this discomfort and dis-ease our bodies go through, we come out the other side and do once again find bliss.
Contractions are the things that push us and shape us into our new found realities. They are experiences that are painful, unexpected and cannot be predicted no matter how well you keep track! These are profound signs that you’re getting closer to launching a creative project, business or even birthing a baby!
Contractions require you to sway, dance, and especially breathe. They keep you on your toes, bring you tears and sometimes take you out. You need a hand to hold, a shoulder to lean on and someone helping to get you through because you don’t know how long they will last.
Contracting gets so intense, you want to give up. Every damn time i do something new, I go through this phase and the more I choose to be in my flow of “yes this, this is what I want” and “I created this, this is so cool” it gets really intense. The contractions get more intense, more frequent, signalling the culmination of the hard work is near. The I can’ts family sets up their family reunion camping trip in the back of my mind, parading around with their illegitimate statements to try to see if I’m going to turn around and try to back out. Contractions may make you sleepy, unfocused and unmotivated. It may bring about challenges you never imagined and hurtles you have to get through (not over or around) in order to make it to the next phase of birthing. The contractive phase is shapeshifting you and preparing you to take on this next phase and therefore, cannot be skipped. No matter how uncomfortable you are there is no going back.
Contracting can feel terribly scary because the unsureness of what’s on the other side of the contraction is much bigger than we are in our current state but I promise you if you’re just to hold on long enough, be brave enough and have the faith, the product of your birth will be beyond your expectations. Maybe it won’t be matchy-matchy, "Leave It To Beaver" feeling famjam vibes, but maybe it’ll be greater than you could ever imagine! You'll go right back into a phase of bliss. Loving the very thing you created, contracted and grew. You are never the same for you cannot undo what you have done.
Every period of growth goes through this same cycle of bliss. contract. birth. As human beings were always striving to be better, evolve and grow. You can’t skip one integral part of this process so it is safe to say, it’s a part of the creative process formula and frankly part of shifting in your life to be great. Have no fear, theres only about 1,445,390,394 others going through it just the same, in their own unique way. Their experience may vary just as every birthing experience does, but that's the beauty of the journey, building a story and allowing us to all bring our war stories to the campfire. Xo
Bliss. Contract. Birth.