How to let go of your dreams (in order to manifest them)

Birthing naturally

Birthing naturally

You know those times in life when you have a dream, a vision of something you really want to do, have or be, but however hard you try it just won’t work how you imagined it would?

It’s not easy to walk away and trust that life knows what it’s doing is it?

Sometimes however it’s the only way.

Maybe your timing wasn’t right, or maybe what you think you want and what’s for your highest good are two different things!

It’s usually only when we look back, with the benefit of hindsight, we realise and understand this.

Soren Kierkegaard said (this quote has profoundly affected my life):

“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.”

Talking about ways to bring new life into our days, takes me back to my quarter of a century in midwifery …

Natural birth

How was your birth?

No, not the birth of your children. YOUR birth.

Was it fast, slow, early, late, complicated, painful – or gentle and unhurried?

Do you even know? Have you ever asked?

I was born at home, which I see as a great gift. My mum may not agree, as she was alone for the whole labour – the midwife only deigned to arrive at the last minute.

From what mum’s told me, the labour was uncomplicated and drug-free. The only part that was a particular ‘problem’, was when the midwife finally came and proceeded to instruct mum not to push, as she hadn’t quite got her equipment ready!

Ridiculous woman. It’s just not something you can forcibly stop, once the baby’s ready. Having said that, entering the strange confines of a hospital whilst in labour can halt progress, but that’s another story …

I do wonder if mum did attempt to resist that forceful expulsive urge. She was only 26 years old, with no-one to support her (my dad was working away). In which case, it’s feasible I got frustrated, as the strength of muscle contractions would’ve been forcing me further down, despite mum holding back.

What has this got to do with anything you may ask? In a previous post I discussed the importance of breathing, and said I’d share this with you.

During our Holistic Life Coach training, we were encouraged to discover more about our birth story. It seems possible for messages to be processed by the brain during the process, which can subconsciously affect our life.

So I can postulate that my fear of being buried alive, and importantly my ‘fear of drowning’ that wasn’t overcome after the white water rafting incident, could have originated from being ‘forced’ to stay longer in the birth canal than necessary, at a crucial point, and feeling suffocated.

It sounds far-fetched, but who knows what information could be hard-wired in our brains?

I’m also aware of being prone to impatience. I figure being held back like that, could be one of the reasons! However, mum’s story is she told the midwife in no uncertain terms she was pushing whether she liked it or not.

I could also picture the fact that my birth was a fairly rapid one, with no obstructions. And I was early! Well, only a week or two, which isn’t exactly ‘early’, in fact it’s well within the parameters of ‘normal’. But I didn’t hang around.  Once I was ready I was coming out!

Mine was a ‘good’ birth. How often is birth in the twenty-first century as gentle, physiological and ‘normal’ as this I wonder?

The 4 Ps – Power, passenger, passage, psyche

During labour, there’s four major factors affecting progress:

1/ The Power is around the strength of the contractions, how well nourished is the mother, how well rested is she? What position is she in – lying flat on her back in bed is unlikely to assist the power of labour, though lying on her side if she’s exhausted could. Changing position frequently can also help. Standing up and walking around helps enormously.

2/ The Passenger of course relates to the baby as she/he descends the birth canal – or not! There is an ‘ideal’ position of course, head down and flexed (chin on chest), ‘left occipital anterior’. Or in layman’s terms, on the left side and looking down. In this position the fetus is optimally placed to negotiate the twists and turns of the pelvis. Other positions may birth vaginally, but could cause more challenge.

3/ The Passage relates to the anatomy of the mother’s pelvis. There’s a number of shapes and sizes, the measurements of which drifted out of my head as swiftly as I read them, like most anatomy and physiology! Suffice it to say, some dimensions work well and others not at all.

4/ The PSYCHE – such a vital P, and one that’s not always acknowledged in the production line assembly of birth in a modern, ‘keep to budget, get them through quickly’ labour ward. In a planned home birth the psyche is calm and in control, in a noisy labour ward such as those seen on dramatic TV programmes, adrenaline kicks in and can halt contractions in an instant, leading to a cascade of unnecessary interventions.

Little can be done about the woman’s anatomy, but the other three can be helped to progress in a variety of ways that can literally shift the process from ‘stuck’ to ‘smooth’.

Breathing, as always in life, is crucial.

One of the (sadly many) practices I found extremely distasteful in professionally ‘managed’ childbirth, was encouraging women to take a big breath, hold it, and push forcibly as long as possible until her face was beetroot red and she soon became exhausted.

What also happened during this process is that the oxygen supply to the fetus was interrupted.

When the woman is ‘allowed’ to adopt a position conducive to giving birth, and follows the spontaneous nature of breathing and automatic expulsive efforts, the baby is more often than not born gently and with as little trauma to either party.

No force, letting go and allowing nature to take her course.

Listen, learn, change your mindset and let go 

You have a dream.

You’ve hit a brick wall.

You’ve worked hard to push through the barriers that have been presented to you. But they’re not giving.

It can be frustrating. But continuing in the same direction regardless of the obstacles can be foolish.

Like the obstructed birth, it may happen eventually but at what cost in terms of trauma?

Consider what you can change that may lead to a different outcome? Maybe you can look at the dream differently? Or move the timescales you’ve put upon yourself?

Start to consider a change to your mindset …

Or is it time to let go?

If things aren’t moving, then don’t keep forcing it. Because when that happens, when you force against nature, you’re much more likely to encounter an obstructed labour!

Wait a while. Let go of expectation. Be open to possible changes of direction and opportunities that weren’t originally around.

“Don’t push it, don’t force it
Let it happen naturally
It will surely happen
If it was meant to be” ~ Leon Haywood

Your dreams

I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences of following your dreams. When it worked well, what was different to the times when it didn’t?

As always, if you want to consider a coach to support you to birth your dreams, do get in touch.

What’s your belief of ‘normal’, and how is it affecting your life in the twenty-first century?



Normal is nothing more than a cycle on a washing machine.”~ Whoopi Goldberg

What’s your definition of normal?

Mine’s been changing, and will continue to, in the light of differing perceptions and realities.

I recently commented on a fellow coaches facebook page that I’d left my ‘normal’ life in Gisborne, New Zealand, to live on a narrowboat on the waterways of England. She, quite rightly, challenged me as to what I classed as a ‘normal life’, and that she’d imagine many live-aboard narrowboaters would consider their lives to be ‘normal’.

As humans we can be quick to judge others and the way they live their lives, especially if it’s far removed from our reality.

This got me thinking once again about that six-letter supposedly innocuous word that we often bandy about thoughtlessly …

‘Normal’ birth

For 26 years of my life I had the privilege of working as a midwife, supporting and empowering women to grow, birth and nurture their babies.

Midwives are known as ‘wise women’ in France (Sage Femme), and are considered in most western countries as the ‘experts’ in normal birth. I’m not good with the word ‘expert’ – a colleague once suggested that an ‘ex’ is a has been, and a ‘(s)pert’ is a drip under pressure! I’ve also changed my perspective on what a ‘normal birth’ is many times. If the surgical birth rate (aka Caesarean section) is an astounding 50 to 80% in some countries, then that inevitably becomes their ‘normal’ birth. Of course there’s lots of evidence to suggest that this will in turn cause other complications, but this isn’t the place to debate that.

During my midwifery training, we were told ‘normal’ birth should theoretically encompass around 75% of all deliveries.  This was described as one where there are no interventions, where the woman spontaneously begins labour (prompted we believe by the baby in some way), her womb contracts and relaxes periodically and the baby slowly descends the birth canal until she/he puts so much pressure on the bag of fluid cushioning her/him that it breaks, washes the passage and emerges into the world through it’s mother’s spontaneous pushing. The only pain relief is the woman’s natural endorphins which work magically. The lights are dim; noise and any interaction with the woman is kept to an essential minimum.

In reality (sadly I feel), this scenario is a rare event – and I challenge anyone who watches the TV programme ‘One born every minute’ to inform me when they ever saw this miracle, or anything similar, portrayed.

We’ve had to invent a new word for this rare occurrence – ‘physiological’ or ‘natural’ birth. The new ‘normal’, is whatever occurs most frequently, as a dictionary definition of normal is ‘usual and typical, what you would expect, the normal state or condition.’

‘Normal’ children

Continuing on the theme of birth and babies, what do you believe is a ‘normal’ child? Due to the increasing availability of termination of pregnancy for anything not within the parameters of ‘normal’, many people, possibly under the pressure of society and their peers and family, opt to have every test available to check whether there is any ‘risk’ of their baby not being ‘normal’. Even if this in itself risks miscarrying a ‘normal’ baby.

Having Down syndrome is like being born normal. I am just like you and you are just like me. We are all born in different ways, that is the way I can describe it. I have a normal life.”~ Chris Burke

‘Normal’ life

Changing the subject (which I’m aware can be emotive), whilst continuing with the theme (!), I recently had the opportunity to view and appreciate the artwork of L.S.Lowry in Salford Quays, Manchester.

His ‘normal’ life was different to most people in the twentieth century. He lived at home with his parents until they respectively died, then spent the remainder of his 88 years living alone. He’d never been abroad, hardly travelled from his home town, spent all his working life in the same job as a rent collector – pursuing his passion for painting only in the evenings – and it’s believed he never had a relationship with a woman (or a man I hasten to add!).

He craved feedback about his artwork from his mother, but it was never forthcoming. Before he died, he questioned what his life had been about and whether ‘he’ had brought any value to the world. His collection of around 4,000 works showcase his indescribable talent and has brought pleasure to millions of people – yet he questioned whether his life had any purpose.

I wonder what changes he would’ve made to his ‘normal’ life, had there been a life coach around to support and inspire him; encouraging him to believe he was amazing and didn’t need anyone else to tell him so?

In the two years I’ve been coaching clients, I’ve been in awe at times of the changes people have made to their personal beliefs around what they can and can’t do with their lives.  They’ve been (mostly) strong enough and ready to take the time to look inside, reflect on where they’ve been, what unhelpful patterns they’ve been repeating, what’s been stopping them from changing and stepping out of their comfort zone – even when it’s been anything BUT comfortable – and taking action towards where they want to be. Their future ‘normal’.

Thoughts on ‘normal’ to consider

  1. What’s normal to one person isn’t necessarily what’s normal for someone else.
  2. It’s okay, and probably empowering, to change your perception of normal from time-to-time.
  3. If you try and hold on to what you believe is normal, you may be limiting the opportunities available to you.

I’d be interested to hear what your ‘normal’ is, and how often you’re open to this changing – or if you resist moving out of your comfort zone at all costs to retain your ‘usual’ life.

Consider what the reasons could be for wanting to remain ‘the same’.

What fears does change bring up for you and why?