Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Letting Go of Fear

Near the end of pregnancy, I find myself working through a lot of anxiety. I have realized that I’ve been fearful of labor and birth because I’ve been thinking of it as something that will happen to me rather than something I will do. Perhaps it sounds like a subtle distinction, but it makes a huge difference in my thought process. Labor is not something foreign that will invade my body; it is my body.

The sensations of labor and contractions are not to be feared; they are simply muscles in my body working hard and doing precisely what they were designed to do. Even transition, that last bit of labor that so many women dread, is not something I need to fear; a transition is nothing more than a change, a shift from labor to birth. During that time, yes, the contractions become more intense, but that is because the muscles involved are working at their maximum capacity, getting that last bit of work done to open the way for the baby to be born.

Even though I have birthed two babies already, I needed this reminder. Labor and birth are natural, normal processes. Labor is hard work, and at times it is intense, but it is not something to fear or dread. And I do not need to fear that I am weak. The truth is, if my body is capable of doing something so strong and powerful, how can I possibly think of myself as weak? I remember very well the feeling of accomplishment when all is said and done, when I am holding my baby in my arms and feeling so strong. Birth is truly an amazing, transforming, powerful thing.

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