“Where your mind goes, your body goes” those words ran repeatedly in my head as each contraction came and went. Those were the words that our amazing birthing teacher would say as she prepared us for the craziest experience of our lives. Beginning the evening of the 14th, I started having painful contractions. Though just A little stronger than the average menstrual cramp, they caught my attention. By 3 am the following morning, I was convinced that I was going into labor. As each contraction came, I would repeat that phrase “where your mind goes, your body goes”. She used this phrase to remind us to stay calm. To remind us that as we go through this experience, it’s important that our minds are focused. It’s important that we have positive thoughts that encourage and calm us. As we remain calm, so will our body. If we begin to fear, tremble, and think negatively, the pain could overtake us and make our experience terrible.
We headed to the hospital at 3 am Monday morning only to be told that I was not ready yet. Discouraged and frustrated , we drove the 25 mins back home to try & sleep. By 11 AM, we were up again and my contractions had begun to intensify. They went from a bearable menstrual cramp to a pain that left me incapable of speaking for 60 seconds. My mom came over and her and my husband coached & massaged me with each wave. My body was preparing for delivery and while I had no idea how long I would be in preparation, I knew that where I went mentally would set the tone for the journey.
My mother left. And by midnight, I was experiencing consistent contractions every 4 minutes. After laying down, taking a bath and kneeling over the couch, I finally decided it was time to go to the hospital. I clearly heard Holy Spirit say “go wake up your husband. You won’t make it past tonight.”
When we got to the hospital, they asked me if I wanted an epidural; which indicated to my husband and I that I was in labor. My mother joined us shortly after and that’s when the true journey began. Every few minutes, I would experience a wave of pain through my lower abdomen. Despite knowing the phrase,”where your mind goes, your body goes” and going through a birthing class, I would tense up every time I had a contraction. My mother and husband would see this & tell me to focus on breathing & remember to stay positive. X would say encouraging words & fan me while my mother would massage my back.
I realize that during those 4 hours, I went through a process with almost every single contraction.
Fear. Relaxation. Realization.
Fear came first. Simply the anticipation of each contraction would cause me to tense my body and I began telling myself how much it was about to hurt. Then my support team would tell me to relax. And when I did, my body would relax and my mind would go back to that phrase “where your mind goes, your body goes”. As I would breath rhythmically and say positive things to myself, I’d realize that I had made it through another contraction.
While some lasted longer than others, I had to be reminded of my need for positivity each time. Three hours later. I began to give up. I was tired and in pain. I said “I’m ready to give up on this natural thing.” Because my mom knew my heart, she said, “No. You can do this.” An hour later, with the encouragement of my mom, husband, midwife, & team of nurses, my baby girl was born with no complications. I had done something I never thought I could do. Within seconds baby girl was laying on my chest and we both cried together. Her cry symbolizing her shocking transition and mine driven by an overwhelmingly gratefulness to God and an unfamiliar sense of accomplishment. I won’t lie, I was also extremely glad that it was over!
Now, two days later, I’ve realized that labor was only the beginning. It was just a reference; something to go back to in the challenging times. After two days of trying to figure out motherhood and breastfeeding, I realize that phrase isn’t just for labor. I had cried about 4 times. And even began to speak that I’m not a good mother. As I did that, I got weary. My body felt drained and tired. I felt defeated. During the middle of the night, Holy Spirit reminded me of that phrase. Reminded me that through it all, whether childbirth, motherhood or even completing a project, your mind will guide your actions, reactions, and your experiences.
During labor, I had no idea how I was going to get through it or even how long I’d be in it. I took it one contraction at a time. I have no idea how I’ll get through not only motherhood, but all the complexities & preparations of life. However, I am encouraged that I have the tools and experiences to guide my mind. Staying positive is an invaluable practice of life. We get so caught up in the negative and what the present looks like and we relish in our fears. I’m grateful for my birthing teacher and support team (mom and X) that reminded me of the power of our minds.
It’s now been seven days since I gave birth to Brooklyn and it’s very clear that the phrase,”where your mind goes your body goes” is not just for labor. In the past seven days, I’ve cried, had strong feelings of inadequacy, questions for God as to why He chose me as well as a roller coaster of various emotions. I’ve noticed that when my mind becomes negative, negative emotions follow. Maybe for you it’s not labor or motherhood; maybe it’s a job, or a God-given task. Maybe it’s a journey to graduate from school, a significant relationship, or just life circumstances.
No mater what your journey looks like, remember to stay positive and dictate the outcome of your own experience. I’m not perfect. But I’m confident that I’m prepared to be and do my best with anything that comes my way; and so are you. Despite what you think, you have the power to determine where your body goes during your journey of life.