Thursday, December 23, 2010

Being Motivated "Towards"

I just read a really interesting post about motivation by Felice at The Gift of Giving Life. Since I haven't blogged in a while, I would like to respond to her ideas in my own post.

I think it is interesting that motivation towards something is more effective at generating action than motivation away from something. I used to clean my house to get away from messiness, I now clean it to move towards control, order, and a more peaceful atmosphere. Towards motivation does seem to be more effective in this particular instance.

Felice's post focuses on motivation for choices while preparing for childbirth. Fear of pain (an away from motivation) is a common motivation for women in this situation,. Early on in my first pregnancy, when I was planning on getting an epidural, I was motivated by fear of pain. When I discovered the risks of epidurals, I was still motivated by fear--fear of complications resulting from overuse of medical interventions. This is still an away from motivation, even though it was movtivating me in a completely different direction--to have an unmedicated birth. I started to discover other motivations in that pregnancy, but did not have a lot of time to explore them.

In my second pregnancy, I was not so afraid of intervention. I'd had a medically managed birth that turned out fine. I had some fears, but they were more fears of "failing" (in quotes, because I now realize that the word failure has no place in birth) than of complications. I was determined that (of course as long as there were no complications) I was going to do it without drugs. I was motivated to prove that I could do it. I was motivated away from failing. I was also motivated towards an enjoyable birth, a safe birth, an empowered birth--and I worked to keep my choices in line with what these words meant to me at the time, which I'm sure was very different from what they would have meant early in my first pregnancy. They probably mean something slightly different even now.

When we move away from being motivated away from pain and away from "failure" and learn to be motivated towards the most positive safe birth experience we can have, it is then that we discover that gettting a "perfect" birth experience doesn't matter so much and are able to embrace whatever birth gives us and learn and grow from it.


  1. Beautiful post!

    I'm working towards embracing your ideas about a cleanly house, too. Your last post about it really struck me. I'll have to work on changing my motivation about it as well. I think that'll help.

  2. Thank you! I've been focusing on away too much during this pregnancy. Great reminder for me.