Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Princesses Aren't Good at Birth

I was going to title this blog post "Princesses aren't good birthers."  Until I looked up the word birther, which contrary to what one might assume does not mean one who gives birth.    Oh no, it means one who does not believe Barak Obama was born in the United States and therefore he is ineligible to be President.   Okaaaay.   Don't want Inigo saying to me.
You keep using that word, I do not think it means what you think it means. 
So, instead I entitled it that catchy title you see above.   Princesses aren't good at birth.  At least not according to a recent article I read.   An absolutely excellent article, that I just had to blog about.  An article that is a breath of fresh air among all the natural childbirth rhetoric about "rushes" and "painfree childbirth."  But, even more refreshing, an article which actually finds value in suffering.   Something so rare in our modern day and age...where the sole purpose of existence seems to be to run far, far away from suffering in pursuit of ever fleeting happiness. 

The gist of the article is that so many women (princesses) have difficulty with birth because they have never before really experienced pain and suffering and hard work and toil.  Now, I disagree with her assessment of "princesses"..she's using it in the Snow White sense and not in the Real Princess sense.   But, irregardless of the word she uses, I think the message is a sound one.

You see, the article isn't just about birth...but about life in general.  It's true..that birth involves suffering.  Birth involves pain and sweat and tears and screams, and blood and sometimes even vomit and poop. 

And, so does life.  

Every day brings a myriad of opportunities for work and discomfort.  Take those opportunities.  But don’t simply hate them, fight them, begrudge them, resent them, and in the end, say you endured them.  Do more:  Embrace them. Welcome them.  Run toward them.   Learn from them.  And in the end, say you mastered them.  You overcame them.  You rose above them, and they made you stronger.
So, much of our modern life is wrapped around making life "easier".  From washing machines to air conditioning to smartphones....people have constantly been inventing things to lighten our workload and make life easier.  And that's not a bad thing.  I'm definitely NOT about to give up  my air conditioning or my washing machine.  But, it can be good to realize that sometimes we need to suffer, sometimes we need to wait in line for 2 hours, or wake up 5 times a night with a baby, or clean what we have just cleaned for the 50th time or deal with people we may not care for or feel too hot, or too cold or too tired.  And, that's okay.  Because, we are strong enough to do that, and this life is not about ease or comfort.

When it comes to pregnancy and childbirth and raising children..suffering is almost a given.  And, the contraceptive mentality of our society shirks from that suffering.  From morning sickness to back aches, to birth to breastfeeding, to sleepless nights and temper tantrums and aching arms and aching hearts..motherhood involves pain.  Lots of joy and lots of pain. 

And, that okay.  Because it is only by embracing our cross that we will be able to embrace our heavenly crown.  After all...
We were not born to be comfortable.  We were born to grow through adversity.  We were born to work.
Greta...shortly after birth.  As you can see, birth probably isn't too fun for the baby either. 

And, just because I love me a good link-up, I'm linking this up with Mama Moments Mondays and Mindful Mothering Mondays.  Yes..on Tuesday.
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  1. Irregardless - You keep using that word, I do not think it exists like you think it exists. (Irregardless, great post, you future saint).

  2. Thanks for this, just what I needed to hear!

  3. The article you referenced is maddeningly vague. What do princess do during labor that is so frustrating to deal with? I mean, at the end of the day (or several days : P ) every woman ends up dealing with the pain and the labor of it all, right? Because you have to give birth in the end. You have to go through the "pain and sweat and tears and screams, and blood and sometimes even vomit and poop," as you state. Does Stalls really just mean these women complain/yell/scream too much about labor while giving birth? How should they act during labor instead? Isn't complaining/yelling/screaming an appropriate way to tell with extreme pain?

    I also wonder, do you think that today's modern "speed up labor" medicines make Stalls' advice impossible? Says says, "There are three things that are givens about labor: It's hard work, it hurts a lot, and you can do it." Granted, I've only had one kid, but when I was trucking along at my own pace, I felt like I could handle it. It's when they gave me pitocin that things became unbelievably painful. My second disclaimer is that I ended up having an emergency c-section, so I'm not familiar with the pain of the actual pushing part, so maybe "speed up labor" meds don't affect that stage of birth?

    Anyway, I am definitely NOT trying to be argumentative or pick a fight or anything. I thought Stalls/Dilday did a lot of complaining about women complaining about labor and didn't really suggest an alternative, but I thought your much more insightful "there is value in suffering" and labor was significantly more valuable and insightful.

    1. Oh don't worry..you aren't being argumentative (and even if you were, I love a good argument..but you're not). You're right...the article is vague about certain things. I *think* what she is saying is that "princesses" can't "deal" with labor. They can't "handle" the pain. Not so much that they yell and scream, but that they just can't "handle" it. I think the article is written from the standpoint/opinion that epidurals are "bad." Now, I don't really agree with that...I've never had an epidural, but I don't think they're bad and I don't judge anyone who has had one.

      I think her point is that if a women is used to hard work and pain and being uncomfortable then she is better able to handle labor and birth. I think there have been studies showing that women who are in better physical shape prior to labor have easier labors. It still may be painful and difficult, but being used to hard work and pushing oneself physically and being uncomfortable and feeling pain makes it easier for one to deal with the pain involved in labor and birth.

      When I read the article, I actually didn't focus on the birth part...but on the lessons as they apply to life in general and to everyone...about not running away from hard work, and not being so quick to seek comfort and ease and pain relief. I really liked the article because I thought it had some good lessons about suffering and pain and hard work in general...not so much about birth specifically.

      And, yes, I definitely do think that pitocin can make labor unnaturally hard and make it almost impossible for many people to "handle" it. I've never had pitocin, but from talking to others, I have heard that it makes things much, much more painful.


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