“We have a secret in our culture, it's not that birth is painful, but that women are strong.” (Laura S. Harm)
One year ago today I was completely giddy with excitment. I woke at 6am and made my way to the bathroom, shaking the whole way. I continued to tremble as I tried desperately not to spill a cup of precious “FMU” (first morning urine, for those not hyper-focused on trying to conceive), dipped that little pregnancy test stick in the cup, lifted it out, and waited. 3 minutes later I convinced myself there was nothing. I went back to bed. Fast forward a few minutes and I couldn't help but look again. To see this:
A very, very faint line. But a line. I didn't really believe it until I saw four more lines. Yes, I took five pregnancy tests. My temperature stayed high. No period arrived. I was thrilled to be pregnant.
One of the first things I started to think about was birth. 9 months off and it was at the forefront of my mind. I still think a lot about birth now, with my baby 3 months old.
I love the quote I put at the top of this post. It's so true. Women are strong, and we are able to give birth to our babies.
I do think women should be able to give birth how they want. And if they want to be in a hospital, that's fine. If they want to be with a doctor or midwife, that's fine. If a woman really wants to elect a c-section or have drugs during childbirth, that's really her prerogative.
But I think a lot of women and coerced. I think a lot of women are even lied to. The medical industry and even our governments hide the truth behind scare tactics.
I don't understand why it's so important to hide from women the fact that birth is an awesome experience. I love the women on my birth videos page. Even though some of these women are feeling pain while they're giving birth you can see the incredible ecstasy on their faces as they hold their new babies.
It's an awesome experience. Women are made for it, and to do it in full awareness. But our culture lies to women and says there is no purpose to the pain, and that the pain is inevitable.
I wouldn't call Galen's birth “orgasmic” or anything like that. “Orgasmic birth” has made a lot of headlines lately. But ecstatic? Yes. His birth was awesome. It was work. It was a lot of work. I even had self-doubt creep in. But what an amazing experience. It was awe-inspiring for me to know that I was opening up to welcome another human being.
While I was opening for Galen I kept telling myself I wanted it to get stronger, heavier, and I wanted to open for my baby. I was able to welcome what I was feeling and be totally part of the experience. I got to be aware of just what was going on, even getting to feel Galen's head just before he began his descent.
I'm so glad for the births of each of my children, and I'm so glad that I was able to seek out women who told me the truth – that I am strong, and that birth is an awesome experience. I want more than anything to help other women realize that birth can be something to look forward to, something to empower them, something to grasp in awareness and confidence.
A year ago I could look forward to the dance of birth with my newly-conceived baby because I know the truth. Birth is good. And women are strong.
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