Letting go to make room for something new

By Kath Henry. As featured in The Country Web 2016 Annual

As a midwife I became skilled at intuitively recognising when a women was entering the transition phase of labour. In some cases the well-established rhythm of contractions and rest pause, the stillness allowing deeper rest with time to regroup and reposition in preparation for the birth. In other cases a crescendo occurs, if not harnessed it can lead to an unwanted obstructed labour. It is meant to be transitory this place between the pain of labour and birth.

As in birthing, so in life, we are not created to remain stuck in transition but rather to harness the strength of change to allow a new transformation. Of course this is made easier if the change is chosen, the transition well supported and room has been made for the newness to be embraced.

What happens when the change catalyst is unexpected? When there is no space or time to process?

Kath Henry

Kath with her husband and son


As I write I am on a plane, in ‘transit’, up the coast. I have just looked out the window to discover the land and ocean are reversed to the alignment they should be in, given the direction we are flying. My mind is trying to rationalise the scene below as the pilot announces we have turned back and will be circling in transit as there is an unexpected landing queue. I watch as passengers become restless, looking at their watches, sighing—life doesn’t leave room for unexpected transits.

I am in my own internal transition, however, this birthing is a type of letting go rather than preparing to hold something new.

This year I have let go of many of the roles that have given me a sense of identity. Both our children have moved from home, our daughter to be married and start a new life with her husband and our son has moved overseas to complete his studies. I am officially an empty-nester.

I had, until several months ago, the role of daughter and carer to my ageing mum as Alzheimer’s had started to creep in and steal my mother’s memories. However without warning my mother left this earth. Hair done, having had lunch with friends, she quite literally dropped dead from a heart attack.

All this letting go has left me feeling vulnerable, searching for meaning rather than identity as I allow my heart to catch up with reality, in this landscape that has held both celebrations on the one hand and on the other layers of grief.

As I circle this space I want to move on, yet I know there is a work in the waiting, in the emptiness, in being emptied.

I had a remedial massage the other day and learned that this type of massage is synonymous with pain, pressure and release. I discovered my muscles had circled into tight knots that required informed pressure to release.

I am in a place of pressure to release the roles of life, to realise meaning can be expressed through our roles but not in them. I want to be and become. So I am waiting here and unravelling as I excuse myself from the busyness of life. I will wait with myself, to become the midwife to my own transition in this sacred undefined space.

Next issue

The 2017 annual issue of The Country Web will explore the theme ‘Connect and Collaborate‘. We want to hear from you about creating meaningful connections, mentoring and sharing wisdom, books and people that have inspired you.

Contributions are required by 21 April 2017 for publication in August 2017. Email your contributions to rural.women@dpi.nsw.gov.au

About nswrwn

NSW Rural Women’s Network is a government program working in innovative ways to promote leadership and action on rural women’s issues. The RWN team is dedicated to connecting and exchanging information with women and stakeholders in rural, regional and remote communities.
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