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There is so much fear that feeds into childbirth and I want to help cut the cord. Show me some grace and let me give it a shot.

Does labour and delivery hurt? Well, yeah. It does. But it’s a different kind of pain. It’s not like a burst appendix, a kidney stone, a broken bone or a stomach flu because pain that comes from those things is a wrong pain–a sick pain–an SOS signal sent out from the body as a way to right itself, to fix itself, because it’s sick and broken and needs healing. On the contrary, labour and birth pain is a right pain–a wellness pain–something completely different, as far as pain goes, than anything we’ve ever experienced. But the problem is that because we have spent so many years reading pain signals as wrong pain, our minds are quick to interpret labour and delivery pain as wrong pain too.

So, what does this mean? How does all this philosophical bullshit translate into real life, when the contractions are coming and the baby’s head is crowning?

Our perception has the power to change the way we experience pain.

It’s widely known that when hit from behind, it’s better if we don’t have time to first look into our rear view mirror because if we do, our body automatically braces for the impact and more injuries happen when our bodies are rigid. It’s why drunk drivers tend to walk away from a fatal car crash.

Maybe this makes me sound like an asshole, but I never knew what love was until I had my first child and not a feel-good love, hell no. A terrifying love. Love that calls me to desperately claw at my own body, open it up, turn it inside out, pull out my heart for his life, my lungs for his breath, my blood for his survival at the same time as a love that holds his bearded face in my hands, belly laughs, the knowing looks, the bridges built between two different places, spaces and time, meet in the middle, hold hands and jump love–a love that tends to fill up a birth room. 

Right. Because birth is love, and love is terrifying and it’s hold hands and jump. It only makes sense that it would begin at labour and delivery.

I just love this quote from the documentary “The Business of Being Born“:

“You will go into an altered state of consciousness and you’ll go into a state of…yes there’s bliss and yes there’s pain but it’s all tied up together and you can not have the bliss without the pain and it’s the intangible essence of that that we have so much trouble conveying to women.”



{ 19 comments… add one }
  • Una August 3, 2017, 7:17 pm

    Yes, yes, yes. All of this.

    I was totally focused on the pain when I went into labour; not in a negative way, but with the consciousness that this was “pain with purpose.” This pain was my body bringing forth my child, and there was a goal and finite end to it.

    I focused so much on my breathing (in through my nose and out through my mouth) that I couldn’t use the gas when they offered it to me, because I had to draw in a breath through my mouth. I managed one inhale and shoved it away from me because it interfered too much and disrupted my focus.

    I also visualized waves on a sandy beach (my favourite sort of scene), and each set of contractions were waves washing up on the sand. The end of the contraction was the wave ebbing away.

    Every push, every breath, every gritted swearword, was an act of love and the rush that I felt when I heard that first cry was the most incredible thing I’ve ever felt.

    • suzy.suzyheather@gmail.com August 4, 2017, 2:41 pm

      You’re hired. Seriously. Your comment said it better than my post.

  • Susie @ Suzlyfe August 4, 2017, 4:43 am

    Kind of like running a marathon: the pain means something, the pain leads somewhere, to where you want to be. And that sustains you

    • suzy.suzyheather@gmail.com August 4, 2017, 2:40 pm

      YES! Hope. Right? As long as there’s hope, we’re okay.

  • Jenny August 4, 2017, 6:06 am

    Beautiful post. When my first baby was born, there was the pain and also my fear of the pain. With the second one I still had the pain but not the fear (because I knew that the pain would be intense, but nothing I couldn’t handle- which is what my midwife had been trying to tell me all along, because why would god/the universe/whatever you believe in give you more pain than you can handle? Isn’t this what our bodies are meant to do?) ) Both births were amazing but the second one was so much quicker and easier! Getting very excited for you and sending lots of wishes for a beautiful birth!!!!!

    • suzy.suzyheather@gmail.com August 4, 2017, 2:40 pm

      I’ll remember your comment about what your midwife said; it’s a good thing to meditate on to help me hold onto the right perspective! Thank you Jenny!

  • Marina @ Happy Healing August 4, 2017, 7:21 am

    I absolutely love this post <3 so beautiful. It makes me excited to start a family of my own one day… hope you have a lovely Friday!

    • suzy.suzyheather@gmail.com August 4, 2017, 2:39 pm

      Awe, k that’s so nice of you to say!!! Thank you!!!

  • Laura @ This Runner's Recipes August 4, 2017, 9:39 am

    Beautiful post! I have no idea what childbirth feels like, but I was recently speaking with someone about the pain I get with what may be endometriosis and they offered this: offer it up with love, unite it with the suffering of someone you love, and find a way to make it fruitful. Just like you said – change your perception and the pain is love. I wish you a beautiful birth – the little guy is coming so soon!

    • suzy.suzyheather@gmail.com August 4, 2017, 2:39 pm

      Whoa, I LOVE that perspective. How incredible! Whoever you gave you that advice is golden!

  • Ana August 4, 2017, 10:50 am

    Somebody needs to put you in charge of writting pregnancy/ delivery books! This gold!

    Yes, I agree. I didn’t know pure gut wrenching love, until my son was born. Love songs took a whole new meaning after I had my kid… likeI don’t wanna miss a thing, man I could feel all the emotions in that song, and then my son wa born and it took a whole new meaning, now it brings me to tears.

    • suzy.suzyheather@gmail.com August 4, 2017, 2:38 pm

      I don’t think I should be in charge of anything… ha ha ha! But thank you! And yes, I know what you mean about songs, or about love in general, how it takes on a brand new meaning. SO TRUE.

  • Lisa @ Lisa 3D August 6, 2017, 8:59 am

    I’ve never had a baby, but my best friend is about to, and I’m sure she’s nervous about it all. This is definitely an eye-opening perspective on the child birth process!

    • suzy.suzyheather@gmail.com August 6, 2017, 3:36 pm

      Awe, so exciting!!! It’ll be cool for you to be alongside her during this time in her life! BRING HER ALL THE COFFEE. Ha ha ha. Well, like, once the baby is born. 😉 And the wine. :O

  • Meghan@CleanEatsFastFeets August 8, 2017, 7:28 am

    Aside from a few really rough minutes pre-epidural, labor was actually ridiculously easy for me. I think it’s because she was ready and also my pregnancy was miserable so I got a fast and simple labor in return.

    I get the point of the post though. 100%.

    Purposeful pain with an amazing reward.

    • suzy.suzyheather@gmail.com August 8, 2017, 1:24 pm

      Thanks. And yeah, I totally get the mentality of wanting to be done and how that translates over to a quick delivery.

  • Michelle August 8, 2017, 1:27 pm

    Thank you for this!!!!! I am beyond terrified to pop this baby out, but trying to have a positive mindset towards birth and overwhelming love. As always, love reading your thoughts!!

    • suzy.suzyheather@gmail.com August 8, 2017, 7:41 pm

      It’s just the unknown that makes things so scary, right? It’s finding that balance between “ignorance is bliss” and “knowledge is power.” I was super naive with my first child and it worked out well that way, I think! And I really REALLY trusted my doctor and the hospital we were at. That’s huge. The doctor-patient relationship is so important. You’re going to be GREAT! I’m so excited for you. <3

  • San August 14, 2017, 2:51 pm

    I love the way you look at this.

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