“Don’t be afraid to go out on a limb. That’s where the fruit is.” ~H. Jackson Browne
I decided to have a homebirth late in my first pregnancy, well into the third trimester. All through the first six months I flip-flopped back and forth, first buying into the message that hospitals were safe for births and homes were not, and then feeling profoundly certain that the best environment in which to have my baby was at home.
The truth is, before I was pregnant I hadn’t thought much about birth. I started my birthing journey wanting to be in charge of how things went, to stay clear of drugs and medical interventions, and to walk away from the experience changed in a positive way. I figured the place in which this happened was secondary, so a hospital might be just fine.
But many of my friends came home from their hospital births just the opposite; they were traumatized by how the experience was wrenched away from them, and took years building back their confidence and pride around birthing their babies. It was clear to me that I didn’t want a scenario like that.
Along with deciding what I didn’t want, I needed clarity about what I did want, and why I wanted it. I turned my questions inward, closing my ears to the cacophony of indecision, and worked the questions until finally an answer appeared.
I began to see this first birth as a way to step more fully into my power as a woman, and I was hungry for that. I wanted to reconnect to primal wisdom, and to tap into strength I suspected lay beneath the surface but hadn’t ever experienced.
I wanted a birth that was empowering, transformative, and authentically mine. I chose homebirth. I said yes while still not knowing with certainty what it might lie ahead for me; my decision required both clarity and a leap of faith.
Once I made the decision, I felt different in my skin. In standing up for what I now knew I wanted at a very deep level, I walked a bit more upright and spoke with more conviction. Having my baby at home turned out to be the most powerful choice of my life.
The Elements of a Powerful Decision
We make hundreds of decisions every day, and most are no-brainers with low stakes results. Whether we choose A or B is a matter of evaluating risks and weighing benefits. It’s more about preferences, and less about impact.
Not so with powerful decisions. These are the ones that change the course of your life. These are the ones that require us to go way beyond reason and logic, straight into our hearts, and find answers that are truthful, though not necessarily popular or easy.
For me, it wasn’t an easy decision to hire a midwife and have my baby at home. I was raised to believe that only experts knew the “right” answers, that you took the conventional course, and that you followed the rules. Homebirth in the U.S. is not following the rules.
Powerful decisions never lead you down the conventional path. Instead, they provide you an opportunity to honor and advance your values: these decisions are real life enactments of what you stand for and who you are.
Each time we make a powerful decision, we step more fully into our own unique, authentic expression.
Staying the Course
Once I made my own powerful decision, I got loads of external resistance from family, some friends, and even from strangers who thought I was taking unnecessary risks. My response was to place my hand on my belly and stay quiet.
Reconnecting to what guided me to my “yes” helped me deal with the challenges and obstacles the outside world tossed in my path.
But then I began to experience my own inner resistance to my decision, which nearly did me in. These inner voices of dread, uncertainty, doubt, and fear are so convincing and clever; it was a daily struggle to stay my course.
Even with a powerful decision, rooted in integrity and anchored by conviction, there’s a battle to be fought. Be prepared for it!
We need well-stocked arsenals to deal with the internal and external resistance that follows a powerful decision. We can rely on resistance showing up just when we are making forward strides, so it’s in our best interest to fill our arsenals in advance.
What are the most effective weapons? Self-love. Self-confidence. Integrity. Discernment between inner voices that come from fear, and those that deliver messages from the heart.
When you make a bold decision, you will undoubtedly find yourself in the uncomfortable place of not knowing what to do next. This is part of the plan. Uncertainty inspires brilliance, which helps you to get absolutely clear about what you want and why you want it. From there, choices and actions appear, steps are taken, journeys are made.
Receiving the Gift
Powerful decisions are not easy, but making them grants us access to what we most long for—to feel empowered, authentic, and capable of stepping beyond what we believe ourselves to be.
When they arrive, recognize these opportunities for the precious gifts they are and choose to act in alignment with your heart. Feeling more confident in yourself and your ability to choose what’s right for you–that is the greatest gift.
What powerful decisions have you made? What did you learn in the process? How have these decisions changed your life?
Photo by SweetonVeg