I’m on a quest this month to help map out my best creative self for 2015. We Questers, have an intrepid captain in Jeffrey Davis and his merry band of pirates at Tracking Wonder. You can still join me on this quest, there’s still loads of time and many more wonderful guides to help us on our way. Yesterday, Pam Houston, gave us this thought to consider: “Sit quietly and ask yourself, what in the last day or week or month has made your heart leap up? Then ask your self today, how can I arrange my life to get more of those heart leaps in it?”
I’m a heart leaping kind of gal. I have been known to do some crazy things in my life to get more adrenaline pumping, “Holy crap! Why did I decide to do this?!” moments in my life. But I’m not sure I was prepared for how fast or how far my heart would leap until I gave birth for the very first time. Everything in my life up to that moment paled in comparison. I was nothing short of overcome with fullness – I was full of love, awe and wonder at the birth of my child. I was full of connection to my husband and my amazing birth team. I was full of strength and a sense of accomplishment that I’d never felt before. I was full of compassion and understanding for all the other mothers who’d come before me (especially my own!) I was full, no actually brimming over, with emotions that were swirling around my head and my heart – competing for my attention.
I began my career working with pregnant women and their partners almost 2 years before my first taste of what is possible when giving birth to a baby. I’d already fallen in love with the idea of helping women navigate their way in becoming mothers. But when it happened to me, it was a game changer. I wanted everyone to be able to experience what I had. I wanted every woman and her partner to experience what we went through as a couple. I honestly couldn’t wait to give birth again because I wanted that high, that impossibly high leap of my heart to occur again and again.
I’ve been so lucky to personally experience this particular type of heart leaping four times in my life. But I’ve been luckier still to continue experiencing this same feeling (albeit a little bit less intensely) vicariously through my work with expecting families. Sometimes I get to be at births – and I fall in love with the laboring woman and her partner as they work hard to bring their babies in the world. It is such an honor to be with a family as they arrive together in that moment of birth. But most of the time, it’s through my work in the classroom with them that my heart takes these little leaps over and over again.
I use a lot of humor when I teach. I like for my couples to be entertained while they learn some important stuff. I want my classes to be fun, no question. But there are moments when I have their full attention and I’m speaking to each and every one of them in the room as though it’s just the two of us, my heart to their heart. And in those moments, I can actually feel their aching, their vulnerability, their openness and I know they feel it from me, as well. These moments my heart doesn’t take big, daring, adrenaline-pumping leaps into the air, but rather rumbles with a deep, humming thrum of vibration that gives me a whole new sense of being full. I am full of gratitude for this work that I know is vital and important. It is work that I am meant to be doing.
But, lest you think I have given up on my other crazy ideas of how to get my heart leaping, I end this post with this video clip of a new roller coaster that is 500 feet tall and takes 4 minutes to complete with more hairturns and upside down spins than has ever been seen before! It is currently in development and will be built in Orlando in the near future. I cannot wait to ride this thing! But I wonder if my heart leaping on this ride could begin to match what I felt with my first birth. I’m guessing the answer will be: “Nope.”
When have you felt your heart leap during pregnancy or birth? How have you felt your emotions have changed with this experience?