It's spring in the mountains and I managed to carve out a little time on our property to do some much-needed pruning.
While I was up to my eyeballs in clearing years of overgrowth, it occurred to me that the lessons I was learning on the job in our garden can be applied to childbirth and parenting.
So what did pruning a pear tree teach me about birth and parenting?
A little education (and using the right tools) helps.
Sure, you can show up to your birth without any preparation and welcome your baby home without a plan, baby gadgets, or extra support. But sometimes, when the job is a big one, the right tools can make all the difference. (Thank goodness for YouTube videos and a nearby hardware store!)
The path becomes clearer as you go.
What may seem insurmountable starts to seem doable with a little bit of progress. It's ok to take baby steps and rest along the way. Progress matters. It's normal to feel overwhelmed by the awesome task of giving birth or raising a good human. We promise you we haven't yet met a parent who had it all figured out from the start!
You can get in your own way.
Sometimes healthy growth means letting go of what's no longer working. Best laid plans and all... There's a simple beauty in accepting when it's time to change course, or try something new, or purge the "stuff" that's bogging you down.
It feels good to do hard things.
And you're probably capable of a lot more than you know. If I'm really honest, I didn't think I could prune a mature pear tree. It was hard. My muscles were shaking from exhaustion and my clothes drenched in sweat. But damn it felt good to finish. (At least that one tree...15 more to go.) We get to see this sense of self-awe in our birth doula and postpartum doula clients all the time. It will never not affect me to witness people realizing how much stronger they are than they give themselves credit for.
Hire a professional.
Hard work feels good and all... but sometimes you realize you're in a bit over your head. It's ok to ask for help! Whether you're pruning your fruit trees or preparing to have a baby and adjust to new parenthood - there's an expert for that.
Now I have a big decision to make. Get back out there and tackle tree number two (of 16), or call some landscapers ;)
(Asheville area folks - feel free to send me your recommendations!)