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Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Pain in birth

There is a quote that is often given by natural childbirth advocates. It was from a woman who was offered pain medication back in the early 1900's and refused. When asked why she refused she said "It didn't hurt. It wasn't supposed to was it Doctor?"

As I have read many natural childbirth books and views on how to work through labor there is sometimes this idea that childbirth is not supposed to hurt. I find it interesting as I have watched many women who have given birth naturally and spoken with many others. I've asked myself that same question without really coming to an answer except that I think it is really different for every woman.

I will say one thing though...I rarely see a natural childbirth how they depict it in the movies. With the woman screaming and thrashing. The women that I see who have the hardest times are usually the ones that don't want to be in pain in the first place or who have become so overwhelmed by the process that they no longer feel in control. But even these women are not quite so dramatic as the movies:)

Most natural births I've seen are a combination of the seeming appearance of no pain and a feeling of being out of control. In my own births I have felt an excruciating pain and just a feeling of exhaustion but no pain. Just from my own labors I have come to belief that it is possible to appreciate the pain. Even with my first and hardest one I absolutely feel like that experience was life changing and I wouldn't have done it differently.

From what I've seen the most pain comes when we feel out of control and when we are exhausted and tired or afraid. For these reasons I really to think that if we can work on providing care in these areas for women we can do a lot to help women birth without medical means of pain control. These are hard things to work on. And in many cases depends on where a woman is at physically and psychologically in her own life but we could do better.

I think it is also important to realize that you may still experience some sort of pain. Even if you follow the book or the rules perfectly. But that doesn't mean that that pain isn't meaningless. It also doesn't mean that you can't do it. Any woman can birth naturally it's a matter of if she really wants to...that to me is more of the question.


Lewis Family said...

Hey, Tiffany W. sent me your blog address, and thought I'd comment on this one. I agree with you on the idea that every woman is different in the pain aspect of labor, but I think far too many women are ingrained with the idea that it IS supposed to be painful instead of the other way around. Far more women could have a pain-free (or mostly pain-free) birth than we realize, simply b/c we tend to tense up. It took me 5 natural, very painful births to learn how to relax and let my body work. Thanks for the insights.

Rachel said...

I appreciate your view point. I have seen many women who do have very peaceful births. I don't know if they feel like it's pain free but it sure looks like it. I think I kind of went a different direction with my births. Instead of calling it pain free I redefined what pain meant...if that makes sense. I would still call most of my births painful but not in a bad horrible way. In fact I kind of look forward to them:) And I look forward to working with my pain. But in any case of lot of it is mental.

I think my main concern in telling women that their births should be pain free is that then then blame themselves if it's not. I have seen many women who have been told that if they do their births the right way it won't be painful. They then get discouraged when it does feel painful. Or they feel like they just aren't birthing the right way.

But I do think it's great that some women can have pain free births and I have seen and had some myself. Thanks for your comments.

Birth is a Journey: Does it have to be life changing?

  • One woman might have to climb on an overfilled boat, risking her life and nearly dying as she escapes over the ocean to come to this land. This experience could certainly be life altering. It may very well color the rest of her life, positively or negatively. (I overcame this amazing struggle and here I am triumphant! OR Holy crap, that was SO hard I don’t know if I can go on! By the way, neither response is “right”. No one would judge the woman with the 2nd response.)
  • One woman may buy an airplane ticket, sit on a comfortable 747 and fly to America with a nice smooth flight and landing. She is happy to be in America. Those welcoming her are glad she is here safe and sound. She may only travel by plane 2-4 times in her life, so it is pretty memorable. But the journey itself probably wouldn’t be life changing; it would simply be a journey.
  • One woman may learn to fly an ultra-light plane to lead a flock of geese into America teaching them to migrate. This experience could certainly be empowering and life altering.