Giving Birth: The Ordinary Miracle

Predictably and paradoxically, when women address the emotional aspects of their transition to motherhood their potential for complications of labor is decreased. Anxiety and fears have been lessened, and the body has greater resources available for adjustment to the labor.

When given the opportunity for talking about the emotional aspects of their pregnancy, birth and motherhood, most women will tend to make choices for childbirth that suit their needs. Their sense of empowerment lies in their exploration of themselves. After all, they are giving birth to a new identity of motherhood!

Overall, when women are assisted in learning about themselves and the physical process they are undergoing , they come to realize that even a choice of medication in labor does not entirely shield them from experiencing pain in the process (contrary to widespread belief). It is common for women to conclude that a natural or close to natural delivery, if they are prepared with coping skills, is their most positive choice. But what is key, is the process of turning inwards, not the type of childbirth planned or had.

In the media and other segments of society, motherhood and childbirth too easily become relegated to just one more “performance” for women to validate themselves in a world in which they are invisible in so many ways. Women are encouraged to describe their birth as a product: a ”home birth” or a “hospital” birth, a “natural birth” or a ”medicated” birth. The emphasis is not on the woman as birth-giver: “I gave birth at home”, or “I gave birth in the hospital”, or “I gave birth with medication”, or” I gave birth without medication” or “I gave birth by cesarean”. The woman’s experience of herself has gone from process to product. Similarly, society does not value a mother’s ongoing nurturing , but labels her a “good” mother or a “bad” mother.

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