Pregnancy teaches us to let go of perfectionism

I can’t control my life. I can’t learn this lesson enough, but here’s another opportunity…

c section

Kaiser Schnitt! C section. Open the oven door and take out the bun. Laura Eades 2014

Today, as I find myself nearing the end of my pregnancy – slightly earlier than anticipated – I find myself thinking about three things being pregnant is inviting me to let go of.

Let go of thinking too far ahead

Yesterday, in the space of a couple of hours of hospital consultation, our baby’s birth options abruptly narrowed. She has also been practising sitting meditation in a buddha-position, it seems, and unless she receives my windmill-visualisations and does a spontaneous flip it looks like a c section is in order.

Several days previously we had choices: should we agree to have the baby manually turned from the outside? If we did that and it didn’t work would we prefer a planned c section or a natural birth attempt? etc etc.

In a moment of revelation, though, we decided not to waste our time with weighing up our further-down-the-line options with too much “if.. then” type of thinking. We just had to inform ourselves about the stage that we were at. And hey, the other options weren’t real! There are other mitigating factors. Our decisions are almost entirely made by the baby.

It reminds me how often I try to cristall-ball my life, and work backwards from imaginary consequences to try to move things forward in a chosen direction. Thinking with a massive flow-chart in your head is exhausting. It’s like trying to eliminate chance. But lucky chance has been the source of the very best things in my life – conception among them. So we should meet chance halfway.

Let go of being brilliant

There’s a part of me, that when contemplating caesarian, is disappointed not to have another shot at the whole birthing challenge. It’s part curiosity (‘would it be that tough again next time?’) and part pride: the hurdle-jumping part of me that wants to nail an experience definitively.

Just because a challenge exists, doesn’t mean you have to rise to it. We have to choose our achievements. Acceptance is also an achievement. Letting things take place is also an achievement. Meeting experience halfway is an achievement.

Caesarian will be witnessing a different kind of miracle and engaging with a totally new and different healing process. We’ll work together as a family. We’ll see another side of medical science. I might not be good at it. I might be. I just have to keep an open mind.

Let go of an idea of readiness

I don’t have time for all the things I’d like to do. I have a to-do list like a till-roll. I think I can timetable and itinerary every job on the list. Then suddenly, your priorities suffer forced rearrangement.

Mess in the house. Oh no! The baby’s coming early… I *might* not have time to oxy-wash the muslins. Arrange my finances. Do my filing. Finish my novel to publication level. Be an all-round success. See my Mindfulness meditation course through to the end of week 8. Do the next level of German (yes I’m signed up to a course on Monday, no pressure!!).

I’d like to, but it’ll all get done eventually, somehow. To be finished is to be dead. There’s an ongoing project called life, which is full of untidy corners and experimental process. We have to improvise it. The performance pressure of improvisation is far more nerve-wracking than planned improvementisation, but accept life’s elasticity and maybe I’ll be a step closer to relaxation, flow, flow…

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Birth? Or another of life’s challenges forced you to rearrange your priorities? If you have thoughts to add to the mix, feel free to click on the pale grey dot beneath the blogpost to open the comments section!