I’ve been really wrestling with the way my labor went. I knew it would hurt, I knew it would be hard, but I didn’t know anything. When I remember the emotion and the pain (which I still remember vividly) I find it very difficult to imagine myself doing it again. The worst part, in my mind, is how I handled my emotions and the pain. I was. so. freakin’. loud. I wish I had been different. During pregnancy, when I had imagined myself in labor, I was calm and contemplative. My baby would be born into a quiet and peaceful environment.
Well, thank God I had a water birth. Maybe him being submerged helped to drown out my screams. I was not calm and I was not quiet. I hated labor. It was not peaceful. It was like being in a prison that I couldn’t escape. Days after the birth, I began to feel ashamed of myself. I had seen women on YouTube giving birth quietly and peacefully, why couldn’t I? I’ve had a hard time even seeing my midwife since the birth because I’m embarrassed. I know I shouldn’t be, but I am.
So, I’ve been doing a lot of soul-searching since the birth. I’ve been reading birth stories, praying, and talking with other Mamas about it. I confided in a girlfriend of mine that I was ashamed of how loud I was during labor. She looked surprised. “Really?” she said, “I saw it like you were a Warrior Mama. I thought it was awesome.” Her perception caught me off guard, in a good way. Tonight, I read an amazing birth story that encouraged me greatly. She too, had been loud during labor but her story was so beautiful and powerful. I wondered if maybe mine was too. I decided that I finally needed to talk to Caleb about it.
So casually, I sort-of mentioned that I was having a hard time. Our conversation went like this:
“I’ve been kind of having a hard time thinking about my labor today…” I begin.
“Really?” He looked puzzled,”What do you mean?”
“Like, with the birth, that it didn’t go how I thought…”I said.
“Oh! I thought you meant labor, like ‘work’ you did today! And I was confused…” Ok, so maybe I had brought it up too casually. I took a deep breath.
“Yeah, I’m feeling kind of ashamed about how loud I was you know? I wanted to be so calm and peaceful.”
“Babe,” now he has his serious voice on,”You pushed a person out of your vagina.” I laugh. “Seriously!” He continues,”A person tore through your body! I would have been yelling too!”
“You think so?” I ask.
“I don’t think so. I know I would have been yelling!” He insists.
I let that sink in. It feels so good to hear him say that.
“Yeah” his serious voice continues, “If you think you sounded at all weak, you didn’t. It was powerful screaming not like weak screaming. It was like the Incredible Hulk from the Avengers type screaming. Seriously. I was kind of scared, because it was like, so powerful.”
That made me feel good. Guys think the Incredible Hulk is awesome so I knew this was a huge compliment. He also reminded me that our birth instructor told us that we birth the way we are. In other words, if you’re a quiet person in general, you’ll probably be quiet in labor. I am not a quiet person.
* * *
There’s an amazing book called,”Birthing From Within,” that I was recommended to read during my pregnancy. For whatever reason, something compelled me to pick it up tonight. In it, I found a section entitled, “Finding Your Voice.” The author introduces all the different types of “chants” that occur during labor and then says this:
All these chants are empowering and effective because they unify body-mind, leaving no room for doubt, fear or self-pity. Whatever the sounds or words are, their uninhibited, complete expression merges with the pain and momentarily dissipates it. Vocalization in labor is primordial, beautiful, and it works. (p. 228)
You know what? It did work. During my labor, I didn’t care about anything except for the task at hand. Something about the act of “chanting” through each powerful contraction did dissipate the pain and it just felt right. It’s like the Mama Bear within me was being born right along side Luca. Pity to anyone who dare tries to harm my baby, there is a fierce warrior within me that only God himself could tame. I’m proud of this warrior. I’m proud of the woman that I have become and am becoming. My labor was hard, and it was horrible… But it was also the most ego syntonic and beautiful experience of my life.
* * *
Thank you God. Thank you for the gift of bringing forth life into this world. Thank you for being my strength when I needed you most. Thank you for showing me your love through the gift of a beautiful baby boy. And thank you for giving me the gift of a strong, and powerful voice.
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