New Beginnings Doula Training

New Beginnings Doula Training
Courses for doulas and online childbirth education

Saturday, May 21, 2011

The Semantics of Birth: What do Contractions Feel Like Anyways?

I've been thinking about what words mean when we talk about birth and how labor feels.  A few words in particular have struck me...pain and comfort.  These are words that mean different things to different people so I thought I'd explore the semantics of birth and what those words may mean to different people.

Penny Simpkins talks about the difference between pain and suffering.

When I say that something feels comfortable, do you mean that you didn't feel anything, or did you mean that you felt something, but you could accept it and work with it?

When you say something was painful, do you mean it was unpleasant, or do you mean that it was unbearable?

When we talk about these words, particularly as those working as labor support, we need to understand what people are talking about when they say I'm okay with a little pain, or I don't want any pain, or I just want to feel comfortable.  Because what I consider pain another may just consider a tightening.

With that brief intro, here's my words on what labor feels like....

a hum, a buzz, a hope, a kick, tightening, excitement, is it now?
a breathe, a rock, better rest, need some sleep, inward, focus, a dance, pay attention
hard work, low moan, is he coming?, needing help, reaching out, finding hope, doing the dance
I can't, you can, I'm tired, it's soon, open open, don't touch, just stand, don't move, just be
pressure, panic, pushing, out of control, control again, he's coming, he's here, he's mine

No 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.