Most of us can say that our bodies appreciate hard work. I've always felt like it's in my genes to enjoy manual labour. I like the rewards of work involving both 'blood sweat and tears' and 'elbow grease'. I often create projects that I know will give me natural work-outs, so that all of my toil will produce something beautiful. I like digging into the dirt and watching life grow.
All good things come through hard work and sacrifice. Wonderful feats of human capability have been displayed by the most humbled labourers. The greatest landmarks were the result of many workers leaving their homes behind, even temporarily, to be part of producing something great.
Pregnant women sacrifice their bodies, out of duty and protectiveness. They revolve their lives around their unborn children, giving them the very best of nutrition, keeping clear of that which damages growth. Men become bears, too: when I was expecting Artan, my husband was fiercely protective of me.
Whether a woman considers herself a vessel of divine love and co-creative purpose, or she considers her body to be simply performing its natural physiological function, she still has to face the hard work of preparing to birth her child.
We have all heard negative comments about the pain of labour, but hopefully we have heard some stories of positive experiences as well.
I experienced my son's birth completely drug-free and aware of every sensation. Hard work indeed it was, but I knew I was made for it and yes, I was also a goddess on the mountaintop (and not just because my son was born in Canmore!)
According to leading European birth expert, Dr. Michel Odent, the mother's body will naturally birth her child if her mind is under control.
I own at least fifteen birthing books and according to my research, throughout the history of obstetrics, experts have established that fear puts babies at risk. This is because when we are afraid, we trigger the fight/flight response, thereby depriving non-vital organs of proper blood flow, including the uterus. Pain often triggers the fear response, especially for those who never pushed themselves with hard work.
During my 19-hour, dawn-til-dusk labour with my son, I experienced a power I could never describe. It was a long day for me, but Artan, being the comedian that he is, was clearly determined to be born during Saturday Night Live.
Throughout labour, my brain was ruled by primal ease. I wasn't thinking about what could go wrong, only about who I would soon finally get to meet.
The only thing I'd have done differently, because of my own personal constitution, was walk more. The only complication I had, according to my subsequent research, was the result of being lazy during labour.
Old wives have said it and the leading experts agree: active labour is the safest way to ensure a healthy delivery. But I was more interested in soothing myself than I was in moving around.
At the time, I hadn't realized how fortunate I was to be able to labour in the comfort of my own home, as the doulas had recommended, before driving up the street to the hospital. Compared to how far our local mothers have to travel during labour, my agonizingly long journey was actually a quick trip.
Though I'm not yet ready to have another child, I can't imagine being in a car for an HOUR before reaching doctors who are willing to deliver! Yet, because of our empty maternity ward in Weyburn, where the only thing missing is staff, we haven't got the comfort of knowing a quick delivery won't result in a highway birth. Who wants to have to give longitude and latitude co-ordinates to simply answer the question, 'where were you born'?
We need to ask more questions and pressure the health authorities to bring doctors to Weyburn who are willing to be a part of a true labour of love.
Who wouldn't want to bring new life into the world? If I had the midwifery confidence and a proper disclaimer, I would offer to do it myself! But for now, I'll work on beautifying my yard.