You can’t do it. But you’re ALREADY doing it. (a story about giving birth.)


I have a new class!  I have a new class!!!

Check out my new offering HERE.  It’s designed to get you through the holidays with your grace, health, and sense of humor intact. Plus, Alec Baldwin and laser shields.

I love my classes and the people who take them, but that’s not the baby I was referring to. This one was born in 2006.

It was nearing 5 in the morning.

I was on my hands and knees, rocking back and forth in a warm pool of water.

The lights were dim.  It was exactly the atmosphere I’d wanted.  And I was pretty sure I must be dying.

I was certain that something TERRIBLE must be wrong.  There was no way that anything, even giving birth to a baby, was SUPPOSED to feel like this.

No Fucking Way.

“I can’t do this.” 

It was a pure statement of fact.  Getting this baby out of my body was a simple impossibility.  It defied the laws of physics.  Also, I was getting pretty irritated at every single person in the room, plus the water, and in fact even the AIR was getting on my nerves.  I decided to just get up and walk out, that’s how pissy I was.

But it was a little hard to get up with a baby pushing my hips so far apart that I could hear my bones creaking.  I moaned to my mom:

“I can’t do this.  I CAN’T DO THIS.”

Oh, that phrase.  I’ve said it other times too.  

In the midst of an impossible parenting moment, when my dearly beloved child has turned into an alien on speed, one who HATES me.

“I can’t do this.” 

Those scary months as an entrepreneur when money is flying out but not in, when I think I must have been INSANE to go into business and maybe I could get a nice job as a parking maid instead.

“I can’t do this.” 

My clients say this when they’re faced with challenges that are BEYOND, that are RIDICULOUS, that are WAY MORE than anyone could be expected to deal with.

“I can’t do this.” 

(I also happen to feel this way every time I have to open an Excel document or call the insurance company, but possibly you are made of sterner stuff than I.  Still, I bet you have times when the task before you is so immense, so awful, so sad or hard or depressing, that there’s no way you can possibly go on.)

Listen, honey badger.

I will say to you what my mother said to me when I was in that birthing pool.  She didn’t chirp “You CAN do it!!!” ~which is good, because I would have probably sworn at her.  And she is a missionary.

Instead, she said something more true and more profound.

“You ARE doing it.” 

And it was true.  Even as I said– and completely believed– that there was no way on earth I could do it– I already in the process of doing it.

The same is true for you.

This thing you’re doing, that it feels like you can’t possibly be doing right, because it’s WAY too hard, there must be something wrong, there’s no way it’s supposed to feel like this, you probably just aren’t cut out for it–

you already ARE doing it.

Maybe it’s messy.  Maybe it will require some recuperation.  Maybe you need to bring in the biggest, baddest, most loving support you can find.  Maybe it hurts.  Maybe there is– avert your eyes, queasy ones– blood and shit involved.  Maybe you’re crying.  Maybe you’re exhausted.  Maybe it’s gotten more complicated than you ever could have imagined.

You already are doing it.  

This is how you do it. 

One breath at a time.  With lots of kvetching, and even swearing, even IF your mother is a missionary.  (She can take it.  She’s made of stern stuff.  Loving steel.)  With flailing and false starts and choices you have to make blind, with no way of knowing if you’re choosing wisely or making an utter ass out of yourself.

This is how you do it.

You ARE doing it.

And you doing that is one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen.  Take a breath.  Hot water helps, whether it’s a bath, a hot cup of tea, or cleansing tears.

Forget ‘you can do it.’ 

You ARE doing it. 

much love,


P.S.  For holiday sanity, humor, and a magical cloak, click the image below

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Hey there, I'm Katherine.

 I’ve got five kids, I’m a queer feminist, and I just might be the only life coach in the world who doesn’t believe in the Law of Attraction.

I write things for women with big, gorgeous, COMPLICATED lives.

I help women become epic fucking badasses… but I still retain my right to cry at every diaper commercial ever made.


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