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July 25, 2019

Enneagram + Birth | Type 2

My goal with these blog posts is to create a resource for mommas who are planning a pregnancy or birth and find a lot of insight through the Enneagram. This is just one tool in your toolbox when preparing for birth but I hope it’s an eye-opening one!

So, let’s dive in! Below is a description of the Enneagram Type Two as defined by The Enneagram Institute. After that, I have some insight from women who are type twos and have given birth. At the end of the post, I’ve shared a few insights and “homework” for you. I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comment section!

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2: THE HELPER

“Twos are empathetic, sincere, and warm-hearted. They are friendly, generous, and self-sacrificing, but can also be sentimental, flattering, and people-pleasing. They are well-meaning and driven to be close to others, but can slip into doing things for others in order to be needed. They typically have problems with possessiveness and with acknowledging their own needs. At their Best: unselfish and altruistic, they have unconditional love for others.”

Natalie’s Experience:

“I’m a 2. This means that I go way out of my way for people to the extent that I could sacrifice my own needs (sounds sweet, but there’s a downfall to this). I desire to help but struggle with finding my identity and worth in that. I’m afraid to burden others, want to make everyone happy, need very gentle criticism, and truly find joy in helping people. My basic desire is to feel loved. My downfalls of being a 2 are both pride and expectations. Twos are very intuitive so they assume other people are as well. Because of that, expectations are not communicated well and assumptions are easily made. This can be a disaster and lead to bitterness. Unhealthy twos take pride in helping others and get upset or offended if nothing is said or given in return.

…During my prenatal care, I would go for my visits and be thinking about how busy the doctors and nurses were and how tired and hungry they must be (also partially from being a nurse myself). I tried to make my appointments short and sweet for their ease since I was low risk and had minimal needs anyway.

Being a two in labor was…funny? I was so afraid to burden and inconvenience anyone. Although twos love helping others, they don’t receive it well in return. It takes a lot of humbling to welcome help. I labored unmedicated with my second baby and had a doula, but throughout labor I often thought about how bad I felt for her. I was afraid to call and wake her at 5am. I probably called her three times and told her nevermind before I got to the point where I admitted to myself that I needed her. I was worried about if her hands were hurting from counter-pressure or if she was hungry. I apologized a million times to my doctor when I texted and woke her up to come see me at 5am. I felt bad for my nurse so I tried to do my own intermittent monitoring and definitely wouldn’t let anyone help me postpartum.

My lack of communicating expectations did play a role some in my labor. I did not communicate super well beforehand with my husband. I never gave him clear instruction on what I would need from him. I expected him to just ‘know’ how to support me. This is the same for postpartum and newborn needs. I feel guilty asking him for help so I just assume he knows to do it and what to do. This would eventually lead to me feeling hurt that he wasn’t doing something for me on his own will and him being sad and confused because he just needed me to tell him.

I loved labor and delivery partially because it was a time in my life I felt the most loved (meeting a 2s basic desire). People show up for you. People come out of the woodwork at all times of night and want to be there to help (even if you don’t accept that help).”

Ashley’s Experience:

“I was high risk so we knew ahead of time that I would be induced at 39 weeks. Things went smoothly at first – I did the Foley catheter route because I was told I would be guaranteed to get to 4cm. I was given Pitocin and every time they turned it up the slightest bit, the baby’s heart rate would drop. It was kind of terrifying. This was my first pregnancy and I’ve heard of this happening but it is very scary when it happens to you. I was so afraid but I didn’t want to be too afraid because I didn’t want my husband to be upset. Things all came crashing down after 21 hours and I was rolled back to a c-section.

All the anxiety I had been holding onto while worrying about everyone else came out. My body was uncontrollably shaking and I could not calm myself down. They actually ended up having to kick my husband out of the OR and putting me completely out. It was awful. Not the experience I had hoped for and one I hope to never have again.

I feel like I had a hard time really saying what I was thinking. I didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings when really I should have been more concerned for myself. Spending so much time worried about my baby was normal, but I needed to remember to maintain my own health as well. Whether it was mental health or physical health, IT’S IMPORTANT.

Self care does not come easily to a 2. I truly think we’re predetermined to be worried about everyone else. I was more worried about my baby and my husband than myself. That’s not a bad thing, but you really do have to take care of your mental and physical health when you are going through this process.

Let people help you! Take the meal, let someone change your babe’s diaper, let someone bring you a tea or a coffee. You have to look out for yourself in order to be the strong and powerful woman that you are!”

INSIGHTS:

  • Twos have a hard time accepting help when asked “what can I do for you?” – if someone you love is a two, don’t ask how you can help, just do something for them before they can say they are “fine.”
  • If you are a two, learn to accept help. I know that’s easier said than done, but people WANT to help you, especially when you’ve just had a baby, so let them!
  • Allow yourself to believe that during labor, you deserve help. Your birth team WANTS to be with you and guide you through labor. Birth workers love their jobs so don’t feel bad that they are helping you.

HOMEWORK:

  • Accept help from someone this week. Whether they offer to help with your older kids, put together a postpartum meal train for you, or help you clean your home before baby arrives, just say “That would be so nice! Thank you!”
  • Talk to your birth team about your tendencies to not accept help or to feel like a burden to others who are helping you. Also talk through your fears about labor and birth.
  • Create a plan for after baby is born. Will you have someone looking out for you while your partner is caring for baby? Two’s basic desire is to feel loved, but they also rarely accept help from others – look out for yourself and prepare for how you may be feeling if/when baby needs your partner’s attention. Maybe consider hiring a postpartum doula.

Are you an Enneagram Type 2 who has an experience to share or a question about this post? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

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