Friday, August 20, 2004


Why isn't it important for some to learn humility in pregnancy?

I heard a midwife once say, as she recovered from her 50+ hour labor and cesarean, "I never had any idea. I thought I knew birth. I had no idea what giving birth was about until this experience." This was a woman who had been a nanny, a doula, and a midwife for years.

Why was it that, during her pregnancy, when her midwives (not me) tried to speak to her about her I Will Never Go To The Hospital Unless I Am Dying or The Baby Is Dying attitude, didn't she listen... couldn't she listen? Isn't it painfully obvious that the more we resist something, the harder God/the Universe is going to shove it into our faces? Isn't surrender our lesson on so many levels? So much of the time?

By her own admission, she said she didn't even go to the Cesarean Place in her preparation; that just wasn't going to happen to her. She said until the second day of labor, she just couldn't even think about the hospital except for it being I AM NOT GOING THERE.

Then, as transport became obvious, cesarean thoughts were still non-existent.

Midwives are not immune to delusional thoughts of perfection any more than a first time mom who has never seen birth... and what birth can do as it unfolds... even without your help (especially without your help!).

She didn't even consider a cesarean for many hours with her cervix unchanged. Peace decended once the decision was made; she was going to meet her baby. Finally.

Nursing was a struggle and included formula to quell the screaming cries of the baby (I offered breast milk from donors), many pain meds, a uterine infection, incredible incisional pain, and the enormous mourning of the Birth Dream she had had her entire life. All things that were a Never Me belief in her world.

Never, ever say Never.

She tells the story that she is nothing like the midwife she was before her birth story. While she still feels that women can be fantastic midwives who haven't had children (as I do), she now knows, on a totally different level, the amount mothers are willing to sacrifice for our children... sometimes just to be born.

We have spoken about understanding why women would choose an epidural, why women would choose hospital births, how some women truly are in excruciating pain even if they have Hypnobirthed, Meditated, Yoga'd, Prayed throughout their pregnancies and lives... readying emotionally, physically, spiritually, intellectually... for the birth before them. UCers are wont to say that it is a mental thing, that pain crap. I sit quietly and shake my head and pray that they never experience what I have seen some of the most Holy Women on the earth experience as far as pain in birth goes.

If'n yer baby wants you to scream in pain, yer gonna do it... no matter how evolved you think you are.

However, my friend... my midwife-friend... she says her midwifery will never be the same. And neither is mine.


calamus said...

Thanks for your comment about ucer's and pain. I am a ucer heading into my third uc, fourth homebirth and eighth child. I have done all people say to have a "painless" labor and have never had that. Instead of feeling guilty, I accept that my body is like that, and in acceptance is peace. I won't accept other ucer's idiotic comments about "oh you are birthing in fear".

I love birth and birthing and all my babies but it hurts. I understand why some would choose to circumvent the pain. Especially if they had been at it for fourty hours.


oursonend said...

It's funny to hear you say that about UCers. I UC'd with my first baby, and I felt pain. To me, somehow, all of that "no pain" and referring to contractions as "rushes" or "babyhugs" or what have you business just seems very strange and misleading. I think that different women handle pain differently, and different labours feel different... just like any painful thing is different for each person experiencing it. It doesn't make any sense to me that some people in the UC world have created this goal of sorts that labour and birth should be pain-free. If anything, I think it's strange because UC is about the INDIVIDUAL giving birth, and her instincts, feelings, personal strength, etc., and about NOT imposing ideas or expectations on the birth and instead letting it take its course uninterrupted.