This is why I carry on

February 17, 2013 at 6:48 am

Every once in a while I start feeling weary of this “work.” Lately I haven’t even been able to muster the energy to blog about anything specifically birthy.

A few years ago, I was feeling discouraged, wondering whether I was wasting my time making a big fuss about nothing with my blog and all the time and energy I put into birth advocacy. Did it really matter as much as I thought it did? Then I got an email from a friend-of-a-friend that rekindled my passion to carry on in my cause.

A few weeks prior, she had discovered that a certain medication she was taking would prevent her from having an epidural. So she had begun scrambling to prepare herself for an unexpected drug-free birth two weeks before her due date. A couple of our mutual friends had alerted me to her predicament, so I had whipped-up an email with attachments and links and tips. I didn’t hear any more about what happened until she sent me her email. Here’s what she said…

Her baby came early, before she felt as prepared as she would have liked to be, but her birth went beautifully. She had a very fast (2.5 hour) labor and arrived at the hospital ready to push. She said the thing that got her through was remembering this post (from my old blog) relating running to birth. She was a runner in high school, so she could relate. And, while coping with labor, she imagined herself doing 200 meter sprints with a running friend by her side, cheering her on. In the end, she said:

We were really blessed, and I cried. To be truthful, labor was a lot easier than I expected. I suppose I was waiting for a feeling of daggers and swords all through my lower region. Thankfully, it wasn’t quite like that. . . . It’s very likely I will have to do natural birth every time from here on out, but if it is similar to what I just experienced, it won’t be so bad. It was beautiful!

I don’t know whether the birth process matters as much as I think it does. Perhaps it matters little for most women. But once in a while I have the privilege of helping a woman discover the strength and beauty of giving birth. I can’t help everyone or change everything. But I can help one. And then another one. And then another. And hearing them say, one by one…

“I feel so much more informed and empowered to deliver naturally and feel strongly that I can absolutely make it!”

“You have inspired me!”

“I know now that I can do so much more than I thought I could… that my body is capable of so much more.”

“I have never felt so much love before. I knew that this was one of those life changing and life affirming moments that couldn’t be experienced any other way.”

“It was beautiful!”

Those are the moments when I know birth matters… even if just for a few women. And they are the reason I carry on