I’m someone who always loved the game, “Truth or Dare.” I loved the idea that, if people are playing by the rules, each player can choose whether or not they want to tell the whole truth about something, or choose to keep that secret in exchange for following through on a dare. Either choice requires great courage and vulnerability. Depending on who I was playing with, I sometimes went with a “truth”, other times, I went with a “dare.” But the entire time I was playing, I would feel the zing of being completely present, alive, excited by the possibility of it all.
You might not see the connection of a game of “Truth or Dare” to pregnancy, birth or parenting – but I do. Of course, I see connections between bellies, birth, and babies with everything.
But here’s what I mean: having a baby requires both truth and daring. I remember asking my older sister when she thought they might start a family and she responded, “Not for awhile. I think we both realize that we’re too selfish to bring a baby into our relationship right now.” Whoa – there’s an honest answer! (She went on to very selflessly give birth and mother two wonderful children – once they were ready.)
Making a decision to have a baby requires people to get honest about their feelings – about themselves as individuals, their relationship as a couple, differing parenting styles. Lots of truth-seeking behavior goes on in the lead up to actually trying to make a baby. But the process of making the baby requires daring! It can either be quick and easy or incredibly long and frustrating but finally finding success requires courage! The realization of what you’ve just locked yourself into after you read the positive pregnancy test results can leave you with mixed emotions:
“I’m so excited!”
“I don’t know how to feel!”
There was at least one day in every single one of my pregnancies where I had the thought, “What were we thinking?!”
But you forge ahead, daring enough to think that you’ll be able to get through nine months of a pregnancy, despite morning sickness, despite limited funds for a home remodel and baby supplies, despite being thousands of miles away from your families.
You find that on some days you need to speak your truth – about how you really hate being pregnant, even though you’ve wanted it for so long! About how you’re worried about being able to provide and support for your new family. About your nervousness that this baby will change your relationship – and not in a good way.
The day of birth arrives and you muster up every bit of courage you have to dare greatly and enter into that arena*: that space of power and surrender and intuition and a truth that is so much bigger than you are. You dare yourself to move through contractions and speak your truth to ask questions and make decisions about your birth. You dare any self-doubt to step out of the darkness and into the light. And you hold your head high as you tell the truth of your birth story – it was hard, there were challenges, but you were strong and empowered and beautiful.
And as you move from truth to dare and back again in this dance of pregnancy and birth and parenting, there is one constant: you feel completely present, alive and full of the possibility of it all. See how it’s all connected?
Did you experience discovering your own truth during pregnancy, birth or parenting? In what ways did these experiences make you feel daring?
*A nod to Brené Brown whom I hope to be BFFs with someday.