Sometimes the unexpected is exactly what you need. I had to learn to do a lot of letting go for my birth and for my postpartum journey. The day before I gave birth to Charlotte, I wasn’t feeling much movement and the hospital confirmed my concerns. I was devastated and heartbroken that they said I would need to be induced, since I was hoping to labor naturally and without medication. I cried when the doctor mentioned induction, but I knew deep down that this was the safest option and ultimately I wanted my baby to be safe. I knew my mom would have been proud of my decision. The unexpected ended up being exactly what I needed. I was able to have the most beautiful and pain medication free birth experience because I was reminded by my incredible doula and friend that I was strong yet flexible. With every twist and turn and up and down of my labor, I felt exactly that, strong, but also so flexible. I am not someone who typically can go with the flow, but during my labor, I allowed things to happen as they did, and it made for the most incredible day. I look back on my journey and I am in awe at just how strong and powerful I was during that process.
A few days later after being discharged with my new baby, I had to be readmitted for postpartum preeclampsia, which for me included dangerously high blood pressure and elevated liver levels. What was supposed to be a routine blood pressure check up, led me to be readmitted to the hospital. When they told me I needed to be readmitted, I lost it. I cried harder than I have in a long time. Hospitals are triggering for me and admissions are traumatizing, as I immediately think back to my mom’s Whipple surgery during her fight with pancreatic cancer. They told me I would be in the hospital for 48 hours max, and I ended up spending 6 full days there. I wasn’t always strong or flexible during that process, but I look back at that experience with joy, surprisingly. Because without that experience, I wouldn’t have known just how strong my relationship with my husband was – if we could parent a fresh newborn in a small room with constant disappointments medically, we could do anything. We had so many incredible belly laughs, probably because we were so loopy, and we were able to really soak up every moment with Charlotte.
My journey was not what I expected it to be, and for a while I felt robbed of what I wanted my experience to be, and I spent a lot of time thinking, “why me?”, but I’ve come to realize that I needed the journey to be how it was. I needed those reminders to slow down, let go and trust the process. I needed to reconnect and rest and truly live in the moment of becoming a new mom, rather than rushing 100 steps ahead like I usually do. I truly believe my mom sent this unexpected turn to me, because she always reminded me to slow down.
It’s so easy to get upset when things don’t go as planned. But there is beauty within the change and within the unexpected. Life has a funny way of working out, maybe not always as you planned, but exactly how it’s supposed to be. So the next time things don’t go as planned, challenge yourself to find the beauty in the unexpected. Ask yourself what you are gaining from this experience that you wouldn’t have gained had things gone exactly to plan. It can be frustrating and overwhelming, but remind yourself that you are strong and that you have gotten through tough times and challenges and that you can be flexible. It can be hard to be flexible during those tough times, but it’s one of the most freeing things to do. Because you will have recognized that you can’t change what’s been given to you and you can’t control what’s about to happen, but you can be here in this current moment, you can let go and have faith and trust and remind yourself that you are strong and flexible and will get through this challenge, no matter what it brings to you.
Even when it feels difficult, know that you are strong yet flexible and that even if things don’t go as planned, that it’s okay, and that things will likely turn out better than you expected, with a new lesson learned or strength within yourself identified. Whatever the outcome, you will be stronger because of it, and you can look back with gratitude for the lessons that situation taught you, and that will only encourage you to continue to be strong yet flexible.
I wouldn’t have changed my early postpartum experiences for the world. They have made me appreciate my body, my husband, my daughter and my sense of self, that much more. And I know the same can happen for you, if you allow yourself to trust in the process. Not always how you planned, but always exactly what you need. Life is too short to do anything but keep moving forward. Keep going.
Be Beautifully Simply You