I am lucky. I am so, so, so lucky. I have love, and gifts, and a job that supports my family. I have a surplus of all these things, enough so that I can give some away. I give money to Planned Parenthood and other groups that I care about.
I’ve recently discovered that I love giving bigger gifts than money – gifts of time, of love, of compassion.
I just met with a couple that is expecting a baby in a few weeks. They are actually friends of a friend, and I got connected to them when they called my friend and asked if I could give them a wee bit of birth advice. Would I ever. So I spoke to them on the phone, and texted with them, and sent emails, and felt that my gifts of time and information were heartily appreciated. They responded with warmth and gratitude, and I responded with warmth and compassion. They told me their OB was scaring them, and I gave them information, and a prescription to relax.
I realized that if they, together, could dispel the fear through their own means, and gain confidence in themselves, in their ability to make the best choices for themselves, and if she could feel that her heavily pregnant body was beautiful, luscious and powerful, that might be their best bet for empowerment. So we continued exchanging love and kind words, and I gave them information that I thought would increase their love and confidence, and eventually I offered to be their doula as a gift.
They almost cried when we met today. They asked how they could deal with the 39 week appointment and the inevitable talk of induction, big baby, pressure to schedule a C-section, etc, and I told them to use kind, compassionate words that also were strong and confident. Ask the doctor why she is recommending a given procedure, and truly seek information. I said if they then knew what their decision would be, they could say something like, “Thank you so much for explaining that to us. We have decided…” If they were unsure, they could say something like, “Thank you so much for explaining that to us. We will go home and talk about it and let you know what we decide.”
I asked them to go into a different mindset, just to try it on and see how it felt. She mentioned the doctor had examined her cervix and found it to be “ripening” and would likely examine it again at the upcoming appointment. I asked them to try on the mindset that everything, simply everything – from a cervical exam to an induction to an ultrasound to a follow up appointment – was their choice. I said I was not telling them to reject these things, but just to try on the mindset that each thing, no matter how small, could be evaluated and either accepted or rejected according to their wishes.
I also said that they should prepare their doctor now for the possibility that they might not accept every recommendation, by emphasizing their wishes. They want a natural birth. They want to avoid interventions. They want to labor at home for as long as possible. I said I deeply respect their wishes and said I thought I understood what they wanted.
I’m finding it hard to express here what I was feeling. With every interaction, I felt like my heart opened to them a little more, and to the world a little more. With every minute that goes by, I feel more warmth, more love, more giving, and it is feeding on itself. By the end of our conversation, I felt so buoyed by their gratitude and their need for support and the love they were giving back to me, I was almost floating.
That’s why I’m lucky. I’m lucky that I have the freedom, the abundance, the fortune to have that seed of love to give, because it grows and grows the more it’s given. It gives back, and is given back, and gives back, forever and ever.