As I was staring down the barrel of writing this blog post (after missing last week’s), all I wanted to do was shut down and take a week long nap. I was completely exhausted (I’m still exhausted). My life and the lives of those I love are full of change and stress right now. I joined a new doula collective. I started the process of finding a wedding dress while navigating changing family dynamics. My partner is on the brink of changing jobs. It’s fall, the changing-est season of all. And I keep asking myself “Why is it so hard right now?!” and saying “I can’t do this!” And then I thought “Huh, where have I heard those words before?” I realized that, just like in labor (moving from labor to pushing), transition from one phase to the next is the most exhausting, discouraging part of the journey. Long story short, I’ve got transition on the brain. How do we cope with the intense transition period that comes with change?

Well, it can be helpful to start by putting it in perspective. If you think about labor as climbing a mountain, transition is the point where you’re almost to the top. In fact, if you looked up you could see the sun coming up and the tippy top of the peak. But the terrain in front of you is rocky and difficult, full of gnarly roots and hidden crevasses. It takes all of your effort to navigate this rough patch. But the peak is still there, so close! This is only temporary, and all your hard work will pay off. The end is in sight. You can power through!

And lean on your support. Snuggle in close to your partner. Squeeze the nurse or doula’s hand. Share your fears and exhaustion. Reach out to a higher power, god or goddess or even the legacy of people birthing before, with and after you. Let others help you! You don’t have to do this alone!

Try something different. You’re doing very different work now that requires different concentration and coping techniques. Switch it up. Maybe it’s time to get back in the tub or have a snack or a drink of water or juice (it’s probably been a while). And if it’s part of your plan, maybe it’s time to ask for that epidural or other pain medication.

You can do this! Change is hard, but nothing amazing can happy without change!

Maggie Mehr