It seems that for many women, child birth is a very subjective thing. Stories range from women who claim they had "orgasmic" births to women who say they were miserable every second of their labor and never want to do it again. For me, the number one take away from my to labors was this: most times labor is what you imagine it will be. Your mind can make it horrible or great. It depends on what you believe it will be.
A Cafe Mom Studios Birth Story piece recently told Dania M's story. Her birth story is a wild one and really shows how the mind can dictate what labor is like and that there is no one, universal experience. Dania had done all the research she could to prepare for having a baby, but when she was induced, the experience was far different than she had imagined. See below:
She had imagined horrific pain and screaming agony, but when it came time to be "induced" when she was two weeks late, she did not realize she was in labor because it did not feel like what she expected. She did not know she was in labor until her daughter was crowning!
It is such a lesson in the truth about labor (and parenthood in general). All the planning in the world can't tell you what labor will feel like and if you expect one thing and something else happens, it can really change your perspective.
In fact, Dania might have felt a great deal more "pain" if her labor had gone in the textbook fashion. Because her expectations were altered, she did not feel as much "pain." Kind of groovy, no?
The entire idea behind Hypnobirthing (the method I used to deliver my kids) is that we can use our minds to control our bodies. Instead of "contractions" we say surges, instead of "pain," we say "pressure." After a while, it does start to change your perspective.
The way we think of labor in our culture -- painful, awful, needing to be medicated -- leads to births that are painful, awful, and need to be medicated.
Dania's lesson -- and the lesson of many women who have unexpected births -- is that we can't plan much of anything about labor. It is what it is. How it feels and how we react are all individual and the way we think about it all is probably the most important factor at work.
Was your labor what you thought it would be?
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