Monday, 10 May 2010
The rocky road of transition
Transitions -whether they are from primary school to high school, university to first job, employed to retired, or (in my case) from non-mother to mother - take us out of our comfort zones. And the moment we are pushed out of our comfort zones, our deepest insecurities (the fault-lines in our personalities) emerge. When we wander outside our comfort zones, along with the anticipation and excitement (the domain of the spirit, that longs to go forth and fly), is also the inherent fear of failure, of looking foolish, of getting it wrong: this is all the domain of the ego, which is created to keep us safe, according to the rules it divised in response to our childhood traumas and trials.*
Transitions are a process and, to be handled most positively, their delicate nature needs some consideration, thoughtfulness and attention. It has taken me four months to understand that being pregnant is not just one, but two transitions...
The first is from being an independent woman to being entirely responsible for another human being who is solely dependent on the choices I make: a huge responsibility. But it goes beyond that: society seems to have this unstated message that being pregnant is the same as having a cold - a minor inconvenience that you soldier through. In my limited experience, that is not the case. The physical, emotional, mental and even spiritual back-wash of pregnancy is far greater than an inconveniently timed sneeze. The result is that I find myself angry at a social structure that has placed such high expectations on pregnant women. While we as a gender have fought for equality, we never fought for similarity - we are equal as much as we are different.
The second transition is from non-mother to mother. I'm not even there yet, but I can feel the changes stirring... a desire to make scones and jam (both of which I did - to lesser degrees of success, so far!). I imagine this is symptomatic of a desire to nest, to create a comforting home that nurtures the soul. At least it would if the scones were edible! This desire to curl up around home and family is part of a desire to love, nurture and support my child. But it is in stark contrast to my desire to support my husband, so that he does not have the burden of being the sole breadwinner on his shoulders. And so the tug of responsibility pushes back and forth...
I believe that none of this is 'news' to women who have gone before me. It is news to me. I never imagined feeling so conflicted. I never realised I'd feel so physically, mentally and emotionally battered by something that I am so utterly delighted by - the honour of being a parent and supporting a soul on its journey to self-expression. It is a rich tapestry of conflicting thoughts and feelings...
The good things are: I've finally got a handle on why I feel so conflicted all the time. The second positive aspect is that, now that I know why I feel this way, I've made a conscious decision to believe that I'll find my way through this.
Human beings are like life jackets(!), they always find a way to bob up to the surface! So I can create greater peace by noticing those inner conflicts and not getting involved in their drama... somehow this will all work out fine... Surely that must be the moment when spirit takes me beyond the fears and dramas of the ego?
*(Apologies to all psychologists out there for this crass caricature)