New Beginnings Doula Training

New Beginnings Doula Training
Courses for doulas and online childbirth education

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

means to an end

"Labor and delivery is seen as a means to an end and an unavoidable event to get a baby. Not a life changing, empowering, sacred experience".

I don't remember where I saw this quote, so I apologize, but it was one that really struck me.  This is quite often how many women view pregnancy, labor, and birth.  That these experiences in and of themselves don't mean anything, because it is the outcome that matters.  While it is important to acknowledge that a healthy baby is the number one priority, that does not mean that we should not acknowledge the experience itself.  

There are so many experiences that we have in life that happen while we are trying to achieve our final goal.  We go to school in order to gain knowledge.  Does that mean that the experience of school is not important?  We gain knowledge in order to have a job or career we want.  Does that mean that that knowledge does not matter except for that reason?  What happens when we don't get the job we wanted, or we don't finish the schooling we originally intended, does that mean it was all worth nothing?  

I think most people would agree that the experience of school is important in and of itself.  The same could be said of birth.  We can learn, grow, and become better people through all the experiences that happen to us, including birth.  I would submit that labor and birth should not be viewed as just a means to an end, but a complete experience in and of itself.

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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.