Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Motivation - Are You Moving Towards or Away From

As a hypnotherapist, many people come to me for reasons involving motivation. Either they want more of it, or they want to better understand their own or others motivations. And so naturally, I have been thinking a lot about motivation and pregnancy and birth.

What are some possible motivations people might have for the choices that they make before, during and after pregnancy and birth? I'm sure this not a complete list, but below is a generic list of motivations.

Higher Purpose

However, these motives don't necessarily tell us the whole story. The big question that you have to ask yourself is, "Is the motivation towards or away from something?" A person may be motivated by love--but when we examine that motivation, it may be a motivation away from loneliness rather than toward a deeper connection with others.

The problem with away from motivation is that it often leads to inconsistent results. For example, pain is usually an away from motivation. "Get me the heck out of this pain!" you say? You will pay anything? People in pain make a lot of promises. Pain comes in many forms (loneliness, poverty, boredom, etc). One could call these people highly motivated. However, as soon as they are a far enough distance from the pain, they become much less motivated. They begin a gradual or speedy slide backward until they are in the same or a similar situation--whether it is financial pain, relationship pain, physical pain or other kinds of pain.

What happens then? If they saw an acupuncturist, they might complain that acupuncture doesn't work. If they saw a marriage counselor, they might complain that marriage counseling doesn't work. You get the picture.

The difference between away from and towards motivation is that when a person is moving towards something, there is always more. More to have, more to grow, and more to work toward, which they can do consistently. Away from motivation is more often characterized by bursts of activity and change and then gradual backsliding.

It in important to consider our motivations in pregnancy, birth and motherhood and examine how we can change away from motivation to towards motivation. For example, a woman might be motivated to have a home birth because of a fear of hospitals. In this case, it might be helpful to explore all the wonderful things about birthing at home, and work on the fear in private prayer and mediation. Hypnotherapy is not the only thing that can neutralize fears. Mediation is also wonderful. The Atonement of Christ covers fears as well as sins, pain, and sorrows.

Another woman might be motivated to have a certain type of birth because she doesn't want to be different than her friends or family. This is also an away from motivation. It would be important for this woman to consider all her options and list all her motivations towards each option. The option to which she feels most towards motivation is likely to give her the most satisfaction with her birth experience.

A woman might be motivated to do a hypnosis for childbirth method because she is afraid of pain. She is motivated by fear, away from pain. Fear and pain are not bad motivations. No motivation is bad, if it gets you doing the right things. Ina May Gaskin says that the more right things you do, the more synergistic they become. It is possible for very dramatic shifts to happen when a mother is open. Soon, pain is the farthest thing from a woman's mind as she moves toward a peaceful, gentle birth.

Feel free to comment, question, share, or think aloud.


  1. I responded in my own post :)

  2. Great post. I like your housekeeping thoughts. I could surely reframe my motivation towards order than away from chaos, which seems to be my MO these days.

    I also didn't mention in this post, but sometimes, within a certain goal we can have conflicting motivations. You mention this about your second pregnancy. There was some away from and some towards motivation. This sometimes creates a struggle. Because things aren't always cut and dry... But so helpful to just put it into conscious awareness.

    Great thoughts. There is so much to say about motivation. I will posting another (part 2) about motivation soon.

  3. Good point. That's why weight loss programs typically don't make lasting change. People are moving away from "being fat" instead of moving towards "more energy" or "better health."

    I feel like I've made pregnancy/birth decisions motivated by moving towards something positive, but it's hard to articulate what that positive thing is. I quickly have moved past fear of pain or interventions. The best way right now to say what motivates me is active birthing - both being able to have full control over movement and intellect, and being active in making decisions for myself. The second motivation is similar to what Brittany talks about ( If an intervention became necessary during my labor/birth, I would not feel I "failed" as long as I was active in deciding to use that intervention.



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