I haven’t been writing about this much, but I’m currently in the third trimester with baby #6. I’ve given birth naturally to all of them, with the exception of the first — through an unfortunate turn of events, I got to learn firsthand that epidurals don’t always work with blocking pain, but they’ll still leave you paralyzed from the waist down. Lucky me!
I don’t really fancy myself as having a higher pain tolerance than others. I’m not remotely the sort that peacefully breathes the baby out either. Heck, I firmly believe that anyone who tries to tell you not to scream while giving birth needs to be promptly cut out of your social circle for good. Go ahead and scream, cry, punch the man responsible, and whatever else you have to do to get through it. Just remember: you are strong enough.
In the homebirth community, it’s common to spend time preparing yourself for labor. Women who are more socially-oriented than I am like to hold blessingways. Instead of bringing gifts for the new baby, invited guests bring positive birth stories and affirmations to bolster the expectant mother through labor, and it’s a wonderful way to come together and support each other in sisterhood.
But I don’t do that, ha ha.
I’m pretty high on the introverted scale, so I prefer quiet introspection over parties with henna tattoos. This isn’t the sort of thing that I want to go into while feeling drained from socializing.
For me, making a “costume” for labor is important. I even plan out which color I’m going to paint my toenails, and how I’m going to style my hair, in addition to what I’ll be wearing. That way, instead of feeling like a tired mom who’s first contraction hit while heating up hotdogs for lunch (true story), I can quickly transition myself into a beautiful Goddess in the process of Creation.
Rituals are important tools in influencing mindset. They can be as simple as lighting a candle, or as elaborate as you can imagine. The important part is to establish what you are setting out to do.
And when you’re on the verge of popping out a watermelon, having a firm idea of why you’re doing it helps enormously.