My friend Amy wrote a response to my post Truth Telling. She articulated so clearly what I wanted to that I asked her if I could share her writings here. Amy has four children and six months ago I was lucky enough to be able to attend the home water birth of her fourth child. Natural birth has long been a discussion topic between us so that experience and Amy's words here are very fitting.
After I read your entry my first thought was . . . her experience is like giving birth!
Some women look forward to it and some don't. Some submit to it and find the pain to be tolerable and worth it, some don't. Some choose to numb their experience. Some choose a caesarean . . . you chose over and over a "natural birth" into the new you!
You have experienced a LONG pregnancy. You are now in labor. You are a wise woman who set up your birth scene with doulas and other supportive people with knowledge and love. You are almost there . . . perhaps you are entering transition.
Transition is the time during birth when women feel the most vulnerable and the most scared and the most like giving up. You began to transition years ago but unlike giving birth you had the choice of slowing down your birth process and returning to the labor stage. You even felt the necessity to consider caesarean over and over. Now, after already deciding that transition is an important part of your birth plan, you are surrendering to the experience.
Transition is a time during birth that naturally demands an inward focus unmatched by any other experience I've known . . . a time when all other distractions lose their pull. It is not a time to worry about how to raise our children or whether or not we even want to be a mother after all! But it can be a time when we women are tempted to panic, "lose control," shout obscenities, etc. Sometimes we even find our minds thinking that death is around the corner but in actuality the fear is not the giving up of our bodies and leaving the physical realm but rather staying in our bodies and enduring the unfamiliar and uncomfortable physical sensations that are part of bringing or allowing forth a new life. Amidst the grip of the most intense physical experience most of us women ever have, there is space inside our hearts to know with peaceful assurance that the end of labor pain is near. Somewhere in our "zone" we can feel and know that God is the designer of this beautiful and awe-inspiring process of change.
Transition is the shortest part of the birth process but the part that requires the internal allowance that speaks "Thy will be done."
Even though it happens relatively fast, time seems to stand still during transition. I'd like to think there is divine purpose in this. Almost as if we are given opportunity to anticipate with utter reverence the magnitude of what it happening (even if that means being in a little bit of shock). We get to "be still" and prepare to greet the new life we are about to hold.
As your friend, I watch you entering transition and feel happy for you. And the analogy goes on and on. We never know what our babies are going to look like or how fast we will learn to love them. But we always do learn to love them and we adjust quickly to their appearance and enjoy them as much as we can.
So, knowing that you made a thorough "birth plan," I hope that your "birth story" becomes an empowerment to you and your future. And that it strengthens your sense of identity and courage to make all of your other important dreams come true.
Because surely marriage, career shifting and children will give you plenty of new life to focus on when this "pregnancy" is over!