The scary thing about labour is people telling you you should be scared

I started reading Birthing From Within, An Extraordinary Guide to Childbirth Preparation, at the advice of my doula. Now, my doula is awesome. I can already tell you I know she is going to be invaluable when it comes to the birth of my first child. She is chill, down to earth but also sees the benefit in getting away from the medicalized births many women have, which I appreciate.

She warned me the book was a little hippy-ish in terms of some of the ideas (not her actual words) but she really recommended it. I was down for a little hippy wisdom – I am, after all, spiritual, right? I could also find the spiritual side of childbirth.

Only, so far, it’s a little too far out there for me. It seems like the first half of the book is on creating birth art, as in, art like drawings, paintings or sculptures that express your feelings about childbirth. I’m probably not going to do this. I like to read and think about things, not express feelings through art. Surely this is a character flaw, but with so much to do in getting ready, I feel like birth art isn’t going to be prioritized.

One bit of wisdom that I’ve read so far really rubbed me the wrong way. It was basically that pregnant women should be worried about their upcoming labour and birth. Like, if you’re not worried, you must be doing something wrong and you are not prepared enough for what’s to come.

Now, I am a person who has experienced in the past moderate to occasionally severe anxiety, so I have been really proud of myself as to how I haven’t been obsessing over the birth. Not to get too dark, but my view towards labour is similar to my view towards death: It is going to happen. I cannot stop it from happening. The best I can do is face it with my head held high, with as much courage and grace as I can muster.

Surely labour will be painful – I am assuming that. But worrying about it offers no real comfort. I find the moments I find true peace are when I am able to live moment to moment, and I feel like that mentality is going to be what helps me through the excruciating moments. Obsessing about the pain, the potential for problems beforehand, how is that helpful. My doula actually told me that the more relaxed you are entering in labour, the easier it generally is. So telling us pregnant women to worry beforehand, well, it’s not advice that resonated with me. If anything, it kind of pissed me off.

I doubt I’ll be very zen when entering my labour, but if I had to choose between being anxious or being pissed off, I’ll choose angry any day. Anger can help you through too, sometimes. So maybe the book is serving a purpose.

Word of the day:

Apposite: suitable; well-adapted; pertinent; relevant; apt: an apposite answer

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