For the past few weeks I have been tweeting a short daily quotation from one of Ina May Gaskin’s books. Today’s was “Remember you have a real, live baby in there. Sometimes it’s such an intense trip having a baby that you forget what it’s for”
It’s from Spiritual Midwifery, and it’s one of a series of little injunctions to labouring women which Ina May gives with her customary mix of hippy talk (“intense trip”) and tough, down-on-the-farm language.
Connecting with the baby is one of the key factors in a satisfying birth. It’s not a “bump” if you don’t mind. It’s a real, live baby and he or she is doing his or her little best to help you.
Ina May calls birthing an “intense trip” – she doesn’t focus on it as pain but as an experience of intensity. Lally et all of Newcastle University in “More in hope than expectation: Women’s experience and expectations of pain relief in labour: A review” published online in Biomed Central medicine in 2008, say: “Childbirth is one of the most painful events that a woman is likely to experience, the multi-dimensional aspect and intensity of which far exceeds disease conditions.”
What absolute b******s. Childbirth pain is nothing like the continual and negative pain of serious disease. A friend of mine had gallstones at 18 years old and twins 15 years later; she says she’d rather give birth to twins than have gallstones any day.
- Labour pain is accompanied by hormones which help you deal with it.
- If you relax and especially if you have learned to relax using hypnobirthing techniques and practice, you increase the flow of those hormones.
- Labour pain is clean – when it’s gone, it’s gone. It comes and goes in waves with gaps inbetween.
- Labour pain brings good news: it is bringing your baby to you, the best present you have ever had in your whole life.
Labour pain is made WORSE by focussing on its negative aspects and by hearing people banging on about how much it hurts. Instead, do what IMG says and think of the sensations in labour in a different way – intensity, energy, power, whatever you like.