When I recently commented that I actually *enjoy* labor, a friend asked "why." So I thought I'd go ahead and blog about it. :)
Now-- here's the deal: I am no yoga-master-mindgame-guru... and I'm not in the "supernatural-childbirth-camp" that believes that if you just have enough faith you won't experience pain (frankly, I think that contradicts the Word of God all over the place... from Genesis all the way through to when Jesus describes the end times)... and I'm not psycho, nor am I in denial. I am completely aware that labor pain is crazy painful, and my labors have ranged in length (26, 8, 4, 4, and 9 hours). I've had back labor and done it with and without epidurals, with and without pitocin... believe me, I *get* that labor pain is massively PAINful.
But I have found some things that I really have come to appreciate and, yes, ENJOY, about labor.
- I enjoy the process as part of the process of life... the way God built things to work. We as women have this miraculous ability to be used by God to create NEW human beings... which, to me, is just stinking amazing. And so, like any productive process, whether baking or building a house or keeping a strong marriage, there is a "cost" and there is some "work" to it... but it is part of a process.
- The pain is productive pain. There is plenty of pain in life that doesn't really serve a purpose... or that we just have to get over. So, yeah, labor HURTS, and hurts MIGHTILY... but it is productive and will end in bringing my precious baby into my arms.
- Even in the midst of the pain, there is anticipation. It's like the frantic work of baking and cooking before Thanksgiving, or baking and wrapping and preparing everything before Christmas... there's such a delight in knowing: THE WONDERFUL MOMENT IS ALMOST HERE!!!!
- It means the waiting is over. Ugh! Those last few weeks, ya know what I mean? They can seem interminable. But once I'm in labor, I know, they have reached their end. My baby is coming. Now.
- It is such a unique part of the human experience-- more than half of the people on earth will never be able to experience it... so there is a unique perspective that can come with it. And those of us who have gone through it know it... it's why women sit around and tell labor stories, and once they get on a roll, it's like they can't stop. Each of us, whether we claim to enjoy it or not, relishes the uniqueness of the experience.
- I appreciate that Jesus compares it to the time leading up to His return on earth. (In Matthew & in 1 Thessalonians) Isn't it amazing that as laboring women, we get the "inside scoop" of insight and clarity into how that time will be. At first, you're not quite sure, "is this it?", "maybe it's about to start?"... but eventually, it becomes clear that labor is happening, ready or not. It's a productive pain that starts out slow, coming closer and closer together and growing in intensity, but all the while you know it's leading to something WONDERFUL.
- I like doing something that is such a challenge but that I know God created me to do. Maybe it's my competitive side, but I really like knowing that there's this big challenge ahead of me, but that I can do it. That God made me capable of birthing this child... He made my body capable, He made me to mother this child... that He has uniquely created me for this moment.
So these are some of the reasons why I really have come to enjoy the labor process. Not because it's easy or quick for me (it's not! Last time-- with #5-- I labored longer than I had in the previous 3 births...), and not because I'm delusional, but just because I've come to appreciate the process, the productiveness of it, and the person it ultimately brings into my arms.
Hope this helps encourage others too. :)