Thursday, October 1, 2009

The Power of Surrender

I want to talk a little about surrender because it’s so powerful, and yet, can be so difficult to achieve.  This is what I mean by surrender: you do all you can to encourage conception of a baby—you do yoga, stick to a fertility diet, get plenty of rest, and keep stress away. You do all this, and then you let go. You surrender.

This I know can be difficult. You are after all doing all this work. It is only fair to expect, even demand, at the end of it all a healthy baby.  Why else would you be doing all of this?

There is good reason to let go, though. (And by letting go, I do not mean giving up, but accepting what is happening in the moment.) In the end, whether we get pregnant is not up to us alone. There is an element of unknown, which can make conception both elusive and miraculous at the same time.  When you do all you can and then just surrender to the possibility of pregnancy, you let go and leave the rest up to the universe.  By doing this, you release yourself from the perpetual burden of hope, and in doing that, relieve frustration, guilt, blame, anger, and other emotions which can accompany that gnawing, ever-present, demanding expectation.

Without that burden and stress, the body opens up, like a flower, and that’s often when magic happens.  Let me give you a couple of examples, and I know you can come up with more.

A teacher at my son’s preschool had been trying for years to get pregnant.  As a last ditch effort, she chose to do weekly acupuncture treatments, but at that point she wasn’t expecting much. She was exhausted from her journey, and had reached a point of no hope. For all intents and purposes, she had given up on the baby. It took some time, but she had finally gotten herself to that place where she accepted that it would be just her husband and her and that it was OK because she had a wonderful husband and a beautiful life. She was grateful for that, and she chose to embrace it.

You know where this story is going. Two months later, she got pregnant, spontaneously, at the age of 40, and later delivered a healthy baby. Her pregnancy took her by surprise.

Her story mirrors others you often hear about: “they had just adopted their baby and then she got pregnant,” or “she had to wait another month for the IVF, which she knew would work, and she got pregnant that one month before.”

It has happened to me too.  Four months after “giving up” on the possibility of a second child and accepting that I would find another path to that child, I became pregnant.  Unfortunately, I miscarried, but nevertheless it awoke in me a reminder about possibility and believing in that. And the power of surrender.
It is too bad that many of us let go (from holding so tight) only when we are thoroughly exhausted and have finally given up.  If while we are still “in the game” if we could continue to prepare our bodies, minds and spirits for a baby, but at the same time become unattached to the outcome, let go of that demanding kind of expectation, and just assume it will happen at some point without worry, then this would help us tremendously, reducing our stress and allowing us and our bodies to relax and open up.

I believe we can accomplish surrender with practice, perhaps through daily mediation. To remind ourselves that we are doing all we can; and we are now letting go and leaving the rest up to the universe.  Then see what happens.

Difference between surrender and resignation