contraction isn’t what you think it is

In case you missed the memo, I’m pregnant.

And I am continually surprised about the ways pregnancy is changing me and my world.

Here’s a weird one: We know about cycles of contraction and expansion. Previously, I understood this as: expansion is where you learn all this awesome stuff and life is great and you are creative. Contraction is where you hide in a shoebox and eat too much cheese.

I have always resisted the contraction part of the cycle, and to be honest the whole cycle pisses me off. If we just contract and expand and contract, how do we evolve? Something is missing. It is too black and white.

And then I started reading birth stories. And the word contraction totally changed. When literally giving birth to another human, a contraction is what actually does the birthing. It’s the contraction of the uterus that pushes the baby out.

For those of you who are not, and have not been pregnant, we could talk about muscles. When your muscles contract, they are firing, lifting, making shit happen. The contraction makes the change happen.

Or we could look at the breath. It would appear that the inhale is the expansion part: our lungs expand. And the exhale is the contraction: our lungs go in. BUT did you know that the diaphragm (why is there a G in that word?) contracts so that we can inhale? A contraction causes the expansion.

Although the lungs move inwards on the exhale, there is no actual muscle contraction… an exhale is passive. And in fact the air pressure around your body does a lot of the exhale for you.

So perhaps we need another step here: Contraction leads to expansion which allows for passive release and integration.

There’s something in between expansion and contraction: integration and rest in which your universe can help you out. Contraction isn’t about Netflix and fuck off, it’s about intensity building so that expansion can happen. After the expansion, we need the rest… let the new air move through your body and get to the cells as the old air passively vacates your body.

Take a deep breath. Thanks for joining me on this metaphor. I don’t know if I tied it up in a fancy bow or not, but I’m sick of looking at my screen, and this will have to do for today.

I love you.