Latest posts by Rhondda Hartman (see all)
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”How a Book on Natural Childbirth Changed My Life.”
This blog post title caught my attention because I was recently in Phoenix, Arizona where a lovely woman said exactly that to me.
I attended church with my friends Krystyna and Bruss Bowman. We were involved in a very active social hour after the service. Since we are natural childbirth advocates, it became known that I was Dr.Robert A. Bradley’s Childbirth Educator and had just written my second book on how to have the best birth ever. Suddenly a woman came rushing up to me and with a great deal of emotion told me that she had read my first book and had a wonderful experience giving birth many years ago. Indeed, it had changed her life!
So when I read this article, I asked permission to use it as a blog for my readers.
It is wonderful for me to hear that what I strive for has happened. You can have a Natural Birth if you read my book and follow what I have written.
Now I am wishing the same possibility for another generation of moms giving birth naturally.
Thank you, Colleen VanSlyke, for giving my book credit for your natural birth.
And thank you, Stephanie Gates, for writing this great article which I am excited to share.
“I once read a book on natural childbirth.
Back then I was carrying my first baby, and I was apprehensive about his entrance into the world. I never intended to actually have a natural childbirth, but I wanted to understand more about what to expect during labor. I picked up a book to learn more about what I was about to experience.
That book changed my life.
Most women waste all of their energy fighting against pain, the book said. When contractions begin, we tense up and brace against it. We instinctively try to prevent anything that hurts. Then we spend the moments between contractions – moments intended for rest – anticipating the next wave. The cycle of fighting and anticipating pain is exhausting. We spend all of our energy trying to avoid labor, working against it, and we have nothing left for the hard work of actually producing a baby.
We forget pain is natural.
Good, even. Productive. Pain means our baby is on his way, that the child for whom we have hoped and prepared for months is almost in our arms. When labor begins, we forget everything else. In that excruciating moment, we don’t think, we only feel. We lose sight of the beautiful, miraculous reality pain is birthing into our lives.
The key to a successful natural birth, the book said, was to stop fighting pain.
Accept it. When contractions begin, relax your body. However unnatural it may feel to do so, make a conscious decision not to fight what is happening to you. Allow it, and remember a miracle is inching his way into your life.
I loved that advice. As I labored with my first baby, I meditated on it. Relax. Relax. Let it happen. In this moment, pain is good.
I loved that advice, but I didn’t fully comprehend it until recently.
I spent my first few years as a mother fighting against the discomforts of my role. I lamented my lack of sleep, groaned about the relentless pace of caring for little ones. Complained about the messes of potty training, wished for the kind of kids who never needed discipline. Mothering has been the sweetest and most beautiful experience of my life, but every day I prayed for little escapes – a full night’s sleep, please God! – from its difficulties.
I put all of my energy into fighting against the pain.
When we moved across the country and started a new life, I took a different approach to mothering. Though it felt unnatural in the moment, I focused on adjusting my expectations, and accepting the hard moments as a part of normal life with little kids. The chaos, the noise, the messes, the fatigue. I learned to just let it be. Accept it, and allow life to unfold.
Just like the book said, that pain has a purpose. It is producing something new in me. Maybe all that time I was fighting against daily hardships, God wanted to use them. I wanted God to end my struggle, but God wanted to change me through them.
When I accepted hardship rather than fighting against it, my life became more peaceful. Those difficult moments are producing more love, patience, and grace in me. And just as importantly, I am free from the anxiety of anticipating and trying to avoid a normal, natural part of life.
I read a book on natural childbirth, and it showed me the beauty of acceptance. Only this time the miracle inching its way into my life is me. God is widening my capacity for love, grace, and peace.
If I will only allow it to happen.”