I am Birthing, Hear Me Roar

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

Labor...
Me in labor…

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.” (If I was a cartoon character, at this point my lip would be quivering and eyes watering)

“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

That's me in the middle.
That’s me in the middle.

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.

These are the moments that made it all worth it.
This is one of many moments that make it all worth it.

If you enjoyed this post, you may also like:

Our Birth Story

Lindy’s Birth Story: A Hospital Birth

Stretch Marks, Jelly Belly, and a Noisy Newborn

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23 thoughts on “I am Birthing, Hear Me Roar

  1. Loved this post! I have a similar birth story to yours. I had a peaceful water birth but for a while after my birth I felt shame, I felt like I never wanted to do that again even though it was beautiful and worth it. Thinking about birth did not make me feel warm and fuzzy inside, it made my uterus twitch! Now, a full eighteen months since my labor, all of that is gone and all that remains is my beautiful baby boy who grew and thrived inside of my body and whom I brung into this world! Our hormones following birth are so intense and can make us feel so many different emotions. I think it’s awesome that your husband is so supportive and his words to you were amazing! I can tell you make a good team ;).

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    • Thank you so much! I feel a similar physiological “eek” reaction when I remember the birth! It’s nice to hear from a Mama who is further down the road and can attest that your feelings about birth do change. =)

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  2. Beautiful! This brought tears to my eyes. You are a warrior momma! I love that excerpt from the book. That is exactly how I see labor whether it be loud screaming, grunts, moans, or whispers. Not only was Luca born that day but also your role as momma bear. I also love what Caleb had to say about this! LOL Truth from a man’s perspective!!

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  3. Absolutely beautiful. I am a super emotional pregnant woman right now, but I got tears reading this post. There are so many things that the devil tries to get us to be ashamed of that we have absolutely no reason to be ashamed of. And I LOVE what your husband said. How special that he immediately showed his support and comforted you. Thanks for writing this…it was encouraging to me, and I know now not to be embarrassed if I have to make a bit of noise, too (I have thought of this often, too).

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  4. I love the comparision of roaring like the hulk. I’m glad you were able to accept that your birth didn’t go as planned. Yet, you also realized that your loud labor wasn’t a sign of weakness. This post is so empowering because I’m sure countless women have been in your shoes. I for one, did the whole hypnobirthing class and ended up with a God-awful c-section. I still haven’t come to terms with it. Reading this post encourages me to shift my perspective about my unnatural birth and all the repocustions because of it. I think it’s time for me to blog about it.

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  5. I really really loved this post. I’ve been having trouble coming to terms with my birth as well, for different reasons, so I understand those feelings of disappointment. I’m working on writing about it now, which helps I for one think it’s wonderful that you were loud! I love that loud powerful sound hat comes from a woman giving birth! I was loud too, and I was actually relieved that I felt comfortable enough to be loud. I really think that if you were able to really let your voice be heard, that is a sign that you were completely letting go of inhibitions and letting your body do its work. 🙂 And your husband compared you to the hulk…. What could BE more awesome!! 🙂

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  6. What a beautiful story! I love the picture! It makes me a little sad that my baby is now 5 months already. Though, a the same time, I am feeling better now and not AS embarrased as I was after he was born. Thank you for your comment and sharing your post with me! I love the title especially!

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  7. I too was loud. My midwife’s husband (and friend) was present and later he said my yell raised the hair on his neck. It was primal.
    As a midwife I have heard women do all kinds of sounds. The only one that I try to help women with is the closed throat scream of fear. That one tightens the whole body and is not productive. Otherwise, yell away!
    Also think of women when making LOVE. Some are loud and some are quiet. We are all just so different, aren’t we?
    🙂

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  8. I thought I would comment on this again, except actually on your blog. 🙂
    Cory and I went out to dinner tonight and for some reason Darcy’s birth came up. He said that he had never ever heard me scream as loud as I did during birth and it actually scared the living daylights out of him. It sounded like someone was torturing me and ripping me apart (well honey, that’s really what was happening. Ha ha)
    But it’s so weird to think about because I don’t remember really screaming out I pain. It really was like the Hulk. You just go for it and get ‘er done.

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  9. Read this after seeing your comment on midwifethinking – thanks so much, I can so so relate to how you felt, that is exactly how I felt after having my first baby, it is so awesome to know there are other women out there that had experiences so similar to mine (I never realised this until reading the midwifethinking comments tonight!!). My 3rd is now 9mths old, this is part of the comment I posted on feel the fear and birth anyway:

    My second experience giving birth was ecstatic and completely pain-free and I expected number 3 to be easy at the very least . . I was shocked at feeling intense pain, some fear, need for reassurance, etc.

    There are lots of factors involved in why two of my births were painful & entailed ‘losing it’, and why the middle one was pure bliss. But was one birth preferable to the others?? Of course I would choose bliss if I had the choice . .but getting what we want is different to getting what we need . . Each birth was what it should be, what it needed to be to teach me about myself,

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  10. Reblogged this on Kinda Crunchy and commented:

    Celebrating 200 Posts! Here is the 7th most popular post to date. I am touched that this post is so popular because I had to be in a very vulnerable place to write it. I hope that it has helped others reconcile their own birth experience.

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