Learning to RelaxLast night I hosted a childbirth class in my birth center. (Childbirth classes are held twice a month, on Friday evenings.) I didn’t do a lot of advanced preparation for this particular class; I pretty much saved all the work of preparation for the day of the class.


Now, I can procrastinate as well as anybody, but in my defense, I’ve been very busy the last several weeks. For about two months now I’ve been working on opening my birth center: negotiating and signing a lease; arranging for city inspections, bringing things up to code; getting a certificate of occupancy; going to San Antonio for a meeting regarding state regulations concerning the running of a birthing center; etc., etc.


Then last Friday (June 15, 2012) was my Grand Opening. Now that was a busy day. We got banners up, tables and chairs brought in, food, etc., etc. And for the event, we had about 120 people come through for the ceremony and open house that followed. It was a great time, but a busy time.


Not only that, but media coverage, the signs out in front of Corpus Christi Birth Center and just plain old word of mouth has brought walk-ins and phone calls. So I’ve done a lot of interviews and intakes for new clients lately. Of course, this is a good thing, but it is also a busy thing. Very busy.


And that leads me back to preparing for a class the day of the class. Naturally, I was feeling stressed about it. Funny thing, the topic for this week was “Relaxation.” Somehow, the irony escaped me. So I rushed to find hand-out materials to give to my students, and then I looked for a good relaxation recording so they could “practice” relaxation. The best one I found was 30 minutes long. Naturally, I stressed about that, too. I wanted to make sure I still had time to cover all the material I had.


And wouldn’t you know it… it turned out to be our biggest class ever! We had 7 very pregnant clients and 4 spouses attend. So I worried about how everyone was going to be comfortable enough to practice their relaxation. Lots of thoughts were running through my mind.


“We’re crowded on this hardwood floor!”

“I don’t have enough pillows to accommodate everyone!”

“After this exercise I only have time enough to discuss about half of one of these handouts!”  


Despite my concerns, they seemed to relax pretty well under the circumstances. Then I wasn’t sure whether to join in the exercise myself or not. After all, I was the “teacher” and felt a level of responsibility to make sure everyone was doing okay. But just sitting there seemed awkward, too. So I tried as best I could to follow along with the exercise for myself.


Then it dawned on me: I was the one who needed to relax! With all the hustle and bustle of opening a new birth center, I had hardly taken any time to just relax. I had hardly noticed this since I was also “enjoying” all the excitement. But going through the exercise made me realize just how much I needed to take time to relax. As much as I needed it, it wasn’t easy. It was difficult to slow down and let go of my stress. Somehow it seemed weird and awkward to me to try and sit still for just 30 minutes.


What started out as a lesson for my clients, turned out to be a very valuable lesson for myself as well. And I hardly think that I’m alone in this. There are a lot of women in our culture that deal with the balancing act of being a wife, a mother, an employee, etc. We seem to be constantly on the go. Even our “recreation” isn’t always relaxing. We have to “go somewhere” to “do something” just to have fun.


This principle of relaxation has an application to the labor of childbirth, but I will save that observation for my next blog. For now, I challenge you, pregnant or not, to learn with me this principle of relaxation for our daily lives. Find the time…take the time…make the time for physical relaxation.