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3 Ways to Embrace the Intensity of Birth


All these ladies are afraid of the pain!  Some women don’t experience pain in childbirth! And that’s all well and good for you! Share your stories widely! We need that hope in this culture of birth! But today I’m talking to all you Soulful Mamas who’ve been writing in asking me about the best way to cope with PAIN. Before you read on you should know that I don’t like the word contraction. Just look at it. It’s an ugly word. It’s hard on the tongue. It has the word contract within it, as if you have to pledge your womb to work within certain guidelines? No way! I’m not buying into it. I get it…ok our womb is a muscle. Muscles contract and expand. But our wombs are within us, mothers don’t feel contractions! Mothers feel sensation. So, just so y’all know when I’m saying sensation, I’m talking about the glorious work your womb does to release your baby earthside…Radiant Sensation.

Okay, I’m not about to preach anything new to you all. If you’re educating yourself you’ll probably know some of these philosophies already, I’m just going to expand on them a bit.

1. FEAR-TENSION-PAIN is a concept highlighted by Dr. Grantly Dick-Reed in his book Childbirth Without Fear. The theory is that there is a vicious cycle that occurs during birth when a woman experiences fear. She’ll tense up and be in more pain which leads to more fear and on and on… The method for birth focuses on relaxation techniques & massage. This method addresses the tension, but what about the fear and the pain?

I say look ‘em in the eye and say “You are not separate from me.” If you can come to terms with the idea that your fears and the physical intensity you are experiencing at birth are not warriors in a battle against you, but instead warriors within you, you can gain strength. There is an energy behind fear that is powerful when revealed. I definitely don’t recommend lifting the veil in the height of active labour! But don’t hesitate to write down all your fears ahead of time. Be brutally honest with yourself. Raw, Authentic, Fear and recognize that the negative feelings surrounding each particular fear is still ENERGY. Energy you can harness at birth. Energy within you, not against you. The same goes for the sensations. They are part of you! For me, my moment of birth futility and transcendence occurred when I accepted that the pain I was experiencing was me. I didn’t have to fight it, I had to join it!  That was powerful! It reminds me of a birth story I read, the opening line was If women knew how powerful their bodies could be we would all walk around a lot more confidently thinking “Carfeul people…I’m packin’ a uterus!”

2. P.A.I.N Purposeful, Anticipated, Intermittent, Normal

I learned this acronym for pain in childbirth at a Passion For Birth Seminar. It makes so much sense.

The pain has Purpose. When you cut yourself your body is saying “Ahem…over here! Attention needed ASAP!” It’s no different in birth. That first intense sensation that wakes you up and reminds you “Oh snap! I’m having a baby!” The purpose has two roles. The second is to bring your baby earthside. Radiant Sensation opening your body so your baby can be released. Don’t forget it.

The pain is Anticipated. Thank God. Seriously! You can actually thank our divine creator for this blessing in your prayers today! The sensation builds. You have time to prepare, gather strength, join the battle. In moments of vulnerability you’ll have time to panic or resist. The point is you have time. You know it’s coming.

The pain is Intermittent. You know it will end. Many women envision an ocean wave cresting and coming ashore. I’m a mountain town girl, and I like to envision climbing to the mountain peak and then resting in the valley. The rest in the valley is the most  important. When I’m in the valley I’m not thinking about the next mountain peak. I’m enjoying the beauty of where I’m at. Y’all get that? The mountain range is vast…no point in worrying about it…at some point you’ll reach the foothills and be caressing your baby in the prairies. Be patient.

The pain is Normal.  This is where the sensation at birth differs from any other type of pain. At no other time will you say “It hurts!” and everybody around you is nodding yes! Right?! That is really the Mind F*%@ that occurs in birth! All you can do is breathe and stay calm. Try and stay out of that intellectual part of your brain that is saying “Ahem!!…Over here! Attention needed ASAP!”  Look at the people who are nodding yes, feel their love and know that you are safe. All the BIG feelings you are experiencing are normal. You are okay.

3. Dig Deep.  Who said it? “Not only a baby is being born, but also a mother.” It’s brilliant. I absolutely love spreading this truth. That is why the third way to embrace the intensity of birth is Dig Deep. Buried within every woman with child is a mother. A fierce, soulful mama waiting to emerge. You have to dig! With every sensation you have go further within and help her luminous determination shine! You have to give more than you ever thought you had, because that’s what mothering is. Giving! Giving to yourself so you can take care of everyone else! Give yourself the strength, endurance, sweat, tears and complete faith to give birth to your baby and the Soulful Mama inside you! How? Dig Deep Sis, Dig Deep…

How are you embracing birth? Speak Your Mind in the comments below…