Woman in labor (transition)

It’s back to school time now for many families, and we’re also entering a new season, fall ~ my favorite time of year!

The change in seasons is often a welcome one. But sometimes change isn’t always easy.

I am there now. I’m in a BIG and VERY DIFFICULT transition period. Our youngest daughter Leah just graduated from our homeschool (high school). This means that homeschooling is ending, after over 15 years of homeschooling our children. “Homeschooling mom” was my identity for a long time. I am in transition.

Transition in pregnancy is the last part of active labor, when the cervix dilates from 8 cm to a full 10 cm. It’s called transition because it marks the shift to the second stage of labor.

Transition is the most intense part of labor, with very strong contractions coming every 2 1/2 to 3 minutes apart.

During transition, the mother may shiver, throw up – or yell at her husband or her coach! The woman may feel the urge to push before she’s fully dilated.

It  may be helpful for the woman to be massaged during this time, to have a cool cloth placed on the forehead, or to have a comforting, warm compress on her back. Other mothers need all distractions eliminated to be able to focus getting through this period.

The woman needs to be reminded that she’s doing a good job and that the baby will arrive soon.

She just wants the pain to stop!

With Leah graduating and homeschooling ending, it’s hard for me. It hurts. I just want the pain to stop.

But it’s a new season for her and me.

As I shared at Leah’s graduation ceremony, despite this difficult transition, I believe that this new chapter of our lives is going to be a good one because God is good. He has pleasant surprises in store for us both. 🙂

Tips for an Easier Transition

If you are in a hard transition stage, I want to encourage you with these tips for an easier transition time:

  • It’s going to be okay. How many times has my husband Ray told me this when I’m going through a hard time, and yet it always encourages me and make me feel better!  You are going to get through this. This too shall pass. You’re going to be okay!
  • Allow yourself to grieve. I homeschooled for over 15 years, and loved it. I didn’t love every single minute of it, of course (some days I wanted to run away to the beach!), but mostly I enjoyed it and loved spending time with our kids. I am going to miss homeschooling, and am grieving that it’s over. Allow yourself to fully feel the painful feelings of the grief, to embrace the loss. In 1969 Psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross introduced the five stages of grief and in her last book before her death, she said of these stages, “They were never meant to help tuck messy emotions into neat packages. They are responses to loss that many people have, but there is not a typical response to loss, as there is no typical loss. Our grieving is as individual as our lives.” Life and feelings are messy. My husband Ray and others don’t really understand what I’m going through emotionally right now with this grieving process about homeschooling being over.  Others may not get what you’re going through either. That’s okay. God does.
  • You don’t have to have it all figured out. A lot of times, when we’re in transition, we want to know the future – exactly what is going to happen ahead. God often gives us just enough light on the path for our next step, and not any further. That way we learn to have faith and trust Him, and not in ourselves. If you’re like me, you have an over-analytical mind and want to know everything. As my friend Suzy Bunton texted me yesterday, “Just relax. You don’t have to have it all figured out.” Stop trying to figure everything out! Give your tomorrows and their cares to God. They’re in His capable, loving Hands.
  • Get support. In transition in labor, the woman might need a light touch massage or words of encouragement that she’s doing a great job. In transition periods in life, when you are feeling scared or lost, it might help to go on a date and talk with your spouse, go out to lunch with a friend and pour out your heart, or counsel with a pastor, a mentor, or a coach. Surround yourself with positive, faith-filled people who will be a  support and an encouragement to you. The best is yet to come!
  • Identify your needs. During transition, many women want to just give up. They may say, “I can’t do this” or “I need something.” They might feel out of control or want medication. During transitions in life, sometimes we feel we can’t get through it. We may feel overwhelmed, out of control, angry, discouraged, or depressed. One of my friends recently packed up her family after buying many acres of land in a different state, with plans to build a new home there – only for every bank they asked to turn them down for the home construction loan. They now have to go back to the state they left and rent another house until things change. It was quite discouraging. Find out what your needs are during this transition time. Do you need encouraging words? Prayer? Your spouse’s extra attention? More time with your girlfriends? Additional rest and sleep? More down time relaxing?
  • Get the sacred space you need. Sometimes in labor, the woman doesn’t want anyone touching her or saying anything to her. She just needs emotional and physical space to labor. In life’s transitions, you may need a sacred space to be alone. Find a quiet place of rest to pray, to listen to worship or other music you enjoy, to journal, to drink a latte’, or to take a walk in beautiful nature and just think. Get refilled.

Transitions are never easy. They stretch us. They challenge our faith. They stir up fears, worries, stress, and other emotions. But they are necessary for ours and others’ growth.

This next season in your life is going to be good. Because God is. You’ll see. 🙂

Not in his goals but in his transitions is man great. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

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