Birth metaphors are endless in life for me. Here is looking at the “Transition Phase”:
I am moving my family to South Africa. Saying goodbye to a life we created on one side of the world, California, the last five in San Diego. We are going to explore and experience our other homeland, South Africa. I feel mostly gratitude for all I have learned and experienced in the past 9 years. Especially for realizing the doula in me, as I support my girls and family through this time of extreme change and transition.
So here is the cold hard/ugly truth about transition and why I love it and how I make sense of it.
I have always found times of change excruciatingly interesting. Then I had a couple babies crown from my body and I had a whole new understanding for the process of creating and transitioning into the reality of the dream, project or person.
Some of us throw up, gag, defecate, give up, believe its impossible, that it was all a false idea and we are crazy for even considering it or us, worthy. Its a horrible, very physical and insane experience… I felt it in my body, the need to give up right as it was about to become real.
Then the sweet relief when my babies came into my arms. How flabbergasting, how calm and remarkable the sense of it all.
After my very physical experience with childbirth I couldn’t help but reflect back and review my life as I have experienced it. I notice a pattern.
I look back and see with all my heart and hard projects I wanted to give up as soon as I was getting somewhere, as soon as there was about to be completion. Only if the right people were in it with me or collaboration presented support, could I see it through. In the same way childbirth wouldn’t allow me a way out, and I physically, mentally and emotionally experienced myself being the most uncomfortable I have ever been during any project or process. In collaboration with my body, baby and support team, I was safe and could again see it through to completion.
Looking at the major stresses in our human experience: creating or destroying relationship, loss in all its forms, Having children,moving or relocating, and changing jobs, you name it, the stress shows up in its full glory during the actual transition, this is what I notice. At first the idea, the event might be so incredible or overwhelming, staggering or relentless in its action that we might either be reluctant to acknowledge it or we might be very excited. We work to put the practical in place, the plan, the people, the time, and… I have learned more important than almost anything, the support. As the transformation or change is about to finalize or become our new reality, we hesitate, we turn around and say; ‘no’, we try to claw our way out of what ever is happening, hoping someone else will take over, the urge to run or sometimes to fight becomes overwhelming, and for some of us, the urge to fall apart is blinding. Then the support rises up and reminds us of our dream or reason for doing or creating what is becoming. That moment requires breath and presence. Thats all. Stay close and see the fruit fall, the new path open and the light turn on. Feel the sense of calm as a new remarkable reality is revealed.
The examples from my own life that has made me super aware of how I recognize and experience transition in all its glory and horror is so clear in my mind I can still taste it. From dealing with the loss of death to just the change of my mind. It all remains some of my clearest memories.
Labor and Birth has given me such a clear sense of how it manifests and why. It has given me hope and understanding of our power and capacity. Having been an actress before I became a mother, I experienced similar feelings when creating a film or theater piece. The nausea and physical experience in my body before I step on stage or have a project of mine revealed is astoundingly similar to when I was about to birth my babies and hit what they call the “transition phase”.
Transitioning from the role of Quinne to a character on screen or stage, and then to Quinne, the wife and then again to Quinne the mother. And now its about integrating it all. Creating opportunity for it all to amalgamate.
We are moving our family back to South Africa. It was clear and the plans and activity to make our dream a reality exciting and distracting (it still is). As the reality of the move creep closer, I feel my heals dig in, fear rise in my throat, and my limbs go weak. I see it now and can’t seem to stop the avalanche of feelings that accompany me through transition, but I do now recognize the signs of transition and understand that it truly is just a moment. That I can only remain in motion and allow the space for its expression.
It is the raw moment before the new experience and path is revealed, thats all. So I sit with the discomfort, practice to stay present and share with my support team. I allow love and light to guide me. I acknowledge that we don’t have to do things alone, and having our process witnessed creates more compassion and less isolation.
Being a doula, being with a woman in transition, still is one of my most empowering and passionate callings. Witnessing someone, including myself, finding their way when it is darkest. Trusting the support of the body and knowing that we are not alone. Every human will experience the stress of transition differently, some of us only need to know support is available and some need to have active support in the moment. In summery; we all flourish with support one way or the other. No flower grows without sun, soil and water. We as humans are not much different.