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Surrender to the Process
Pregnancy is a process that invites you to surrender to the unseen force behind all life. When I think of pregnancy, I immediately think of gardening. I look at it this way: It is enough for each of us to plant a seed, provided that we care for it, but we cannot make it grow. We can’t actually make a seed grow--a seed grows because of the combined force of our care and an unseen force in the universe that is the energy behind all life. That’s the miracle of life. And the seed doesn’t even have to struggle. We struggle much more than we need to. That is true regarding just about everything.
My grandmother was my gardening mentor. She said there was the joy of harvest, and that’s a wonderful and exciting happening. But, she said, gardening also requires quiet diligence and respect for the whole process, and in a way that is just as satisfying. I was very young, and I loved it when my grandmother talked to me about all that. She had grown blind, but still she had one of the most beautiful gardens I ever saw. Being blind didn’t stop her one bit. Yes, there can be many gardening disappointments and frustrations. Frost may come and wipe out the flowers, or rabbits may eat up your crop. That kind of thing is frustrating and hurts, but, if you’re a real gardener, it won’t stop you.
On your journey to becoming a mother, there can also be disappointments and setbacks. My friend Linda had two miscarriages before she carried her baby to term. After the second miscarriage, she was depressed and asked “why me?” Many times she cried herself to sleep. She prayed for understanding, but she never understood. Then one fall day while walking in a garden with only a few summer blooms remaining, she stopped asking for answers and surrendered to her helplessness. “Life cannot be understood,” she cried, “it can only be lived.”
Mary wanted natural childbirth and had decided on a water birth. She made arrangements to have a birthing tub at the hospital -- it took her months of preplanning. When she had an emergency cesarean, she was shaken, but since she didn’t want her disappointment to interfere with her care of the baby, she talked it through with a close friend and her doctor. As she came to understand that the cesarean was performed to save the life of her baby, she was able to let go of her regret and not blame herself. We may think we know what is best, but often in pregnancy and childbirth we have to surrender to a higher wisdom -- we can’t run the show alone.
Surrender is the melting of your will, the letting go of how you think things should be in favor of stepping into the unknown and trusting the unseen life force that gives the tulips, daisies, roses and daffodils their fragrance and color. When you surrender, you turn the outcome over to a higher force, having faith that the greatest good will occur. In that moment of surrender, your heart softens, your mind opens, and you are given the freedom to see clearly, without your own expectations clouding the view. It is in surrender where you meet your baby with unconditional love and fully embrace the spirit of the garden that is within you, your spouse, and your child.
In her own interest, every pregnant woman should make a habit of never entering a room without making a note of the quickest way of getting out of it and into either fresh air or a bathroom.