Any time I am participating in a physical activity, I am reminded of women in labor because it is the most challenging physical event I have experienced or witnessed and there are so many parallels. I'm only going to discuss one of them in this particular post. It will be short and sweet.
During my own labors, as well as throughout many labors I have witnessed, we are confronted with moments that may seem insurmountable. It is just a belief, but it seems like more than we can do simply because it's more than we have done before. A belief isn't necessarily true, and an unchallenged belief is just blind faith.
I have been given an awesome opportunity lately. with both of my children working at a local gym, our family is given free memberships. When I began working out again (more than just walking my dog and taking the occasional Facebook fitness challenge) I started out with low weights, and more reps. Slowly, slowly, the weight began to feel easier and easier and I was forced to challenge myself to kick it up a notch. Then, that began to get easier and easier, so I am working on building again. As this was happening, my dogs walks, which used to be adequate cardio for me, began to feel like I wasn't getting my heart rate up. Now if you've been here for awhile and you've read my other posts, you may know this little fact about me: I hate running. Unfortunately for me, whilst exercising my furry children, I feel entitled to get a good cardio workout. So running it is.
So cut to me on my "run" with 2 dogs in tow. I put the word "run" in quotes because I'm not fast. My route usually travels around my home in some kind of loop, I have a few of them to break up the monotony, but they all have the same attributes, just in a different order. As I run, as I said before, I just allow my thoughts to wander. I think about my kids, about my business, about me dreams and goals, I sometimes have to actively steer my thoughts away from negativity, but generally I just follow them. A few thought dialogues in particular that I have to actively combat are:
"I'll just get to the end of the block, then I can walk a bit"
"I'll walk up the hill and then run again"
"I'll run one kilometer, and walk one"
"I'll run where it's flat and walk downhill"
"I'll run till I get to _____ then I'll cool down the rest of the way"
Here is the problem with all of these. I don't need them. I know that I can run the whole 5K, and even more.
Why does my own brain try to sabotage me this way? Where did these recordings...my own voice telling me that I can't do a thing that I know with certainty that I can do, come from? How did the seed get planted? Why do I try to talk myself out of doing things that will help me reach my fitness goals? Is there a part of me doesn't want to do it?
So I argue with myself.
"I don't NEED to slow down"
"My legs don't feel fatigued"
"My body can run the distance"
"Every time I don't listen to that voice, I get stronger, physically and mentally"
"I can go farther that I realize"
So there's you labor analogy for the day. Spend some time thinking about the "out's" you might try to give yourself, what beliefs are they based in? What do you tell yourself about your body's ability to labor and birth your baby when you aren't really tuned in to your thoughts? What words can you choose instead that will be more empowering, more goal focused, more confident in your body and in your baby?
Choose the recording in your head wisely because your beliefs about birth are just thoughts that you think over and over again. By choosing your thoughts, you can change even deeply held beliefs about your body, your abilities, your strengths, your perceived weaknesses, and about birth.