Many people today have trouble trusting their intuition. I think there are two big obstacles to trusting our intuition.
- Taking time to be quiet and listen
Today I will be talking about how we can use worry to help strengthen our intuition.
I love Gavin de Becker’s book Protecting the Gift (I own numerous copies and lend them out to people) and I found an article by him which gives a nice glimpse into his book. I love how he teaches us to take our worry and turn it into intuition.
I am going to show how to apply it to birth. From Gavin’s article we read:
How can you decide which impulses to explore and which to ignore? By learning how you communicate with yourself. When you honor accurate intuitive signals and evaluate them without denial (believing that either the favorable or the unfavorable outcome is possible), you will come to trust that you’ll be notified if there is something worthy of your attention. Fear will gain credibility because it won’t be applied wastefully. Thus, trusting intuition is the exact opposite of living in fear.
Explore every intuitive signal, but briefly and not repetitively. When faced with some worry or uncertain fear, ask yourself: Am I responding to something in my environment or to something in my imagination? Is this feeling based on something I perceive in my circumstance, or merely something in my memory?
So if Pregnant Polly worries about getting an episiotomy she could ask these questions:
- Is the fear that I will need an episiotomy based on something in my circumstances?
- Is it that 2 of my friend just had episiotomies?
- Is it because I don’t trust my care provider?
- Is it because I saw a scary birth on TV?
The best antidote to worry is action. If there is an action that will lessen the likelihood of a dreaded outcome occurring, and if that action doesn’t cost too much in terms of effort or freedom, then take it. The worry about whether we remembered to close the baby gate at the top of the stairs can be stopped in an instant by checking. Then it isn’t a worry anymore; it’s just a brief impulse. Almost all of the worry parents feel about keeping their children safe evolves from the conflict between intuition and inaction.
Your choices when worrying are clear: take action, have faith, pray, seek comfort, or keep worrying.
Let’s say after Polly asked the questions above, she realizes she is worried because her OB isn’t really supportive of her birth plans. She doesn’t want an episiotomy. But when she asks him questions about episiotomies he says, “All first time moms need an episiotomy.”
So she actually has an actual situation that says she should worry. So now what can she do?
- Take Action – change care providers, or have a serious discussion with her care provider, bringing in studies to show all first time moms DON’T need an episiotomy.
- Have faith – that he won’t give HER an episiotomy.
- Pray – for guidance in her choice of what to do.
- Seek Comfort – look for information that getting an episiotomy isn’t that big of a deal
- Or Keep Worrying.
Taking action is the most powerful thing we can do when we have a reason to worry. (This knowledge alone has helped me immensely as I mother my children.)
What if Polly has a care provider she trusts and realizes the fear of an episiotomy comes from others stories. What can she do?
When unable to shake a worry, you can simply acknowledge (and tell others if you choose to) that you are feeling anxiety right now about your upcoming birth. You don’t have to justify your feelings. It is enough to just call it worry, find some comfort, and move on.
Sometimes just acknowledging it can help let the worry go! If you need more tools to let worries go, check back in the next week or so for more ideas.