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Birth Preparation is not Project Management

Posted by on Jul 29, 2014 in Blog Posts |

Birth Preparation is not Project Management

Labor and Birth are natural, dynamic processes that by their very nature are unpredictable, and subject to change. Birth is a living, dynamic process, and like all living processes it embodies natural principles of arising and passing, dependent origination, and a need to freely grow and express itself, each moment, in unhindered and unforced fashion. A living process cannot be controlled, forced, or made to fit a carefully, and easily calculable and forseeable mold. The form of its becoming is also dependent on other things and occurrences, such that it contains a myriad possible courses and pathways it might pursue and follow. Pathways we cannot know in advance until time and conditions reveal them. Trying to predict and control your birth before it takes place would be the same folly as believing one could tell exactly how a plant will grow from an unknown seed. The dependent nature of life, and therefor of the seed, means that it is dependent on earth, water, air, wind, and sunlight in order to sprout , grow, and live. There are an interminable number of ways the path from seed to flower might transpire, because everything is determined by how things arise, and are dependent on a myriad of potential causal factors. The same is true of labor and childbirth.

Childbirth cannot be planned and plotted out in the manner of project management, using a carefully calculated schedule and list of data points and spread sheets. Being very organized and a list maker will not work in labor. In fact, your tendency to want to organize, control, predict outcomes and logically, linearly plan every detail, intending to abide or die by your carefully planned list, may be more of a hindrance than a help in labor. This is most especially true for first time moms, who have never experienced birth, who don’t know what to expect, and whose anxiety and need for control cause them to totally disregard the organic, natural, and unpredictable nature of birth. They are then unwilling and unable to allow for any flexibility, or natural flow and evolution, and set themselves up to become panicked and fall apart when the course of labor deviates from their plan. The path in labor is one of surrender, to get your thinking head out of the way of your physical body, and let it do what it knows how to do, not to try to plan for and control every aspect and outcome.

Rather than a logically and carefully planned work project, birth is more naturally compared with music, acting, or art, in that these are processes that must unfold as they will, moment to moment, freely and unbound. The musician, the actor, the artist must let go his logically reasoning mind, and embrace instead the leadings of his heart and soul. Rather than being commonsensical, he must be willing to embody a bit of nonsense, whimsy, creativity, imagination, inspiration, fantasy, fancy, and an artful acquiescence to the muse which leads him along a path of adventure and discovery. The artist must be willing to let go and allow the art, the music, the acting itself, to show him where he must go.

Trying to control the path your birth will take is a bit like the story of the Chinese emperor who, upon hearing the beautiful song of the nightingale, determined he must have this treasure for all his own. He sent servants to trap and cage the beautiful song bird, so that he might control, and command it to sing when he wanted it to. And so they obeyed their master, trapped the sorrowfully bewildered bird, and hung the cage beside the emperor’s breakfast table, that he might see it first thing on the morrow. When the emperor retired for the night, he felt proud that he had successfully trapped his desired, feathered songstress. He eagerly looked forward to commanding the nightingale to obey his orders, and to entertain him at breakfast the next morning. Sadly, when morning light came round, what the emperor found was not an obedient balladeer, but instead the lifeless body of the tiny bird laying cold, alone, and silent on the bottom of the cage. The emperor was greatly saddened and realized too late his mistake, and the truth that if one cages and tries to make a living being bend to his will and control, he cannot expect it to be the same thing he loved, or to be able to sing its most glorious songs. Such is the nature of birth, that it too must be allowed to fly freely, and to unfold little by little, in whatever form it needs to take. We in turn, should embrace, revel, and glory in the adventure, rather than fighting, resisting, and trying to dominate and enslave its flowering to fit our will and needs.
May you soar to ever higher and more glorious heights in your birth, by the simple act of letting go and trusting that your wings know what to do to carry you skyward.