Pain. Pain in childbirth. This is one of the major reasons that women will fear their own births. Fear of the pain.
The interesting thing is that we live in a time that wants and supports women in being afraid of birth. Because I tell you from experience if you ask any women who has gone through her birth without medication, who has faced the pain of it, she will tell you that the experience has made her a stronger women with a stronger voice in the world.
And the reason the world fears this, is because, when you have one of largest groups of people, Mothers, who are the shapers of the future through how they decide to raise and educate their children, start to stand for what they believe in, than you have a world changer!!
Because empowered women, make empowered choices.
She makes strong decisions for her children because she is not afraid of the pain of making these choices. She makes waves in her cultural status quo in regards to how she is choosing to mother because she has seen that if she can handle the pain of birthing her child, than she can handle the pain of raising them with principles that she believes will create a better world.
We do indeed live in a time that supports women's fear of their own bodies, their own births, their own choices. How many of you have been scared to go past your Expected Date of Arrival ? How many of you were told that if your water broke than you only have a certain amount of time to have your baby? How many of you encountered only the possible risk scenarios in birth and not the possible bliss scenarios? And how many of you were given alternative information to any of those reasons you were told you needed an intervention of some kind?
****When we divorce the emotional and spiritual aspects from birth, when we only focus on fear, risk, and that which we can only see with the naked eye, and when we turn over our power of choice, trust, and responsibility to an outside source-- any outside source-- then we disempower our own inner knowing and we cut ourselves off from the opportunity to empower ourselves and be responsible and true to our own truth.****
Thus, we raise our children with these same fears and understandings. And as birth workers, we fail to offer women the best birthing experience, and they are lead to make choices based on fear, and have experience that are less then they knew themselves capable of.
I am not a pro 'natural' birth advocate because I think women are tough and they can tough their way through it. No, I am a natural birth advocate because I trust and believe in the bodies wisdom, in natures wisdom. How could nature, your body produce something it couldn't birth, or it didn't have the capacities to learn and work with? Or given that it gestated a baby for 9 months that some how it doesn't than know when the best time to bring the baby forth is? When you look to nature, nature cares for all its beings, it has reasons for all things, even death, even pain, and even if humans can't understand the reasons. Ask any herbalist, and they will more than joyfully tell you about the beautiful synergy and magic of how plants work with other plants, with humans, animals, and the earth.
**How nature has reasons that reason does not understand!**
And when it comes to birth, when you understand the hormones and nervous system's way of working for a birthing women-- that copious amounts of beta-endorphins (pain killers) and oxytocin (the love hormone- the synthetic kind doesn't have the same synergistic qualities as our own bodies) are produced and sent around a woman's body and thus into baby- than you understand that birth has the capacity to be one of the most blissful and powerful experience's for the birthing women and baby. These hormones together produce consciousness transforming experiences! Imagine a world where babies first introduction to the world was in bliss?! * for more information :see perinatal/prenatal psychologist's work for the effects of the birth experience on babies future. To start, see the APPPAH website)
Ah but the pain. Nobody ever tells a runner, or a gymnast, or a mountain climber, or a sailor, or an academic, or any other pursuit that produces an outcome we deem worthy, that they can't handle, or that they should fear the process of, what it takes to get there. The runner runs because it feels good and the results are amazing. Even though there is pain- the pain of getting started, the pain of the hill climb, the pain of a sprained ankle. But they run and when they finish they are empowered. And they have a social support system that say's, "Run, you can do it!," "Its healthy to run, good for your body, good for your mind, etc." And these supports are there even through the sprained ankle, the hill, the discipline required. "Keep going, you got this." Are cheers you often hear at races.
But we tell, and we support women all of the time with the belief that they don't have what it takes to birth their babies. That its too painful, that somethings gone amiss, that there are to many risks involved, that pain and possible adverse outcomes are to be avoided at all costs. i.e. Fear this, fear this are the cheers we hear about most of pregnancy and into birth.
But really its about responsibility on the birthing women's end to know her truth. To make her own choices. And to make them in the face of fear. That birth is her chance to evolve, to transform, to become empowered to go on with her purpose. And patience, and awe, and supernatural respect, and the grounding of the ego on the birth workers end, to wait for birth, to remove their "I'm the hero and responsible to make choice's for this woman" mentality. Its a 2 way street, I am well aware of that.
Birth use to be like this-- the birthing women as the primary force in birth-- the history of what has happened in birthing rooms in the past is absolutely amazing if you ever care to look into it. It tells a lot of how brith was taken out of the birthing woman's timing and power and placed into technology and fear. As an aside; its interesting to note that technology can't save us from a huge natural disaster -- even though we think it can-- and it can't save us from our own lack of responsibility and ignorance in using it- just look at the use of bombs and war craft!
**But women can't make empowered choice if they don't believe in themselves, or their bodies.**
This is a deeper cultural issue. But after navigating their own birth in an empowered way, after facing the pain of it, they can make those choices, they have proven that to themselves. And once the maternity care system recognizes that birthing women are clients and not patients -- than this changes the whole paradigm of how women are treated in birth! Patient's are passive, clients are active. And once the maternity care system adopts a heart based and spirit based understanding, than the ego of the hero responsibility is kept in check and the woman becomes the primary force behind her birth once again. Again, its a 2 way street. Nobodies fault; no- one is to balme or shame; we are all a part of it. Its a representation of who we are at the moment, based on what we believe, and the choices we make.
Pain is not the enemy. Pain is the transformer. Pain is the answer. If we don't medicate it, if we trust that it has purpose, like nature has purpose, then we open ourselves to something completely new. We recognize something that wasn't there before the pain, we learn, we grow. The pain of giving brith is not pain to hide from, its pain to grow from. It's powerful and holds powerful messages about who we really are, and what we are actually capable of.
There is a secret in birth. The secret is that YOU are the transformer and magician of your experience. That you hold the power of creation and transformation within your own body, your own psyche. That really, the next chapter in this life, in this world really comes down to us and our choices, and our trust in the magic of that which we can not understand, can not see. Simply, to trust that what guides natures growth also guides us.
Someone dear to me once said, "live in the mystery, as having the answer shuts down the questing and thus the magic." Birth is my favourite mystery. My favourite wild place. And I am proud and deeply honoured to walk with birthing families as they navigate this naturally wild, technology influenced, fearfully represented, secretly blissful and ecstatic place. Thank you for asking me into these intimate places, for letting me see you in your strength, for allowing me to support you as you make choices that are empowering to you, and trusting me to help you through the vulnerable moments. I will forever stand for the magic and sacredness of birth and all its mystery and I will keep walking this path 🙂 xo