Waves, Surges, or Really Big PainMonday, April 3rd, 2017
Decades ago when Dr. Ferdinand Lamaze wrote the book “Painless Childbirth” the natural childbirth movement was born. Thousands upon thousands of women diligently learned their breathing techniques and prepared themselves for their births. Unfortunately, what many women found out was that labor and birth actually did hurt for them. A lot.
Contractions didn’t feel like “waves or surges”. They felt like pain. Big, huge pain. But…it wasn’t supposed to. And then, in choosing to use pain medication, many, many women felt as though they had “failed” in their births. From merely a physiological perspective it defies logic that small, vascular and elastic tissues being contracted and stretched to 10 times their normal size would not be painful. What makes the uterus and vagina any different than any other muscle contracting and expanding?
Pain in childbirth is not a required qualification to feeling wonder and amazement. Or of having an incredible, spiritual experience. Pain is not necessarily a noble part. For some women, the work they do throughout the birth process is healing and very important for them. For others, it can be very difficult and frightening.
It is absolutely alright for a woman to choose to not experience the full pain of childbirth. It does not harm either she or her baby and it certainly does not diminish her experience or her love for her baby. In fact, for many women, removing the pain is what allows them to fully embrace, appreciate and enjoy their births. Whether a woman gives birth at home in her bathtub, in a hospital comfortable with an epidural or by a scheduled cesarean section, she should be honored and supported for bringing life into the world. And I loudly and clearly advocate for her!