As I can compare a hospital delivery with most interventions, having a doula, having a midwife, waterbirth, not having a doula, going through natural birth… I see them as two different worlds; one through a medical construct and one through a woman’s natural construct.
I was naïve to think that I could (and planned to have) a natural birth at a place of medical interventions. My slight disappointment was unfounded. The fact that my labor was long and overly tiring shouldn’t be a surprise. The fact that my daughter came out drugged and didn’t cry shouldn’t have been a surprise. The surprise was not being able to see her for an hour after her birth. The biggest surprise was how much I valued having a doula.
Even in my contrasting birth experience at the midwifery, I noticed the difference a doula makes in such a monumental process in a family’s life. What I found missing in the absence of a doula, was augmented by my feeling of transcendent peace and strength that failed to arrive with me at the hospital the first time around. But I guess for me, the doula represented a mother figure that for this particular pregnancy I mourned.
I originally abandoned my body’s sensibilities toward knowing my labor signs because I had so much going on in that “period of reckoning.” But, that morning of MY Birth Day, I was in tune with my body in the same way I knew I was about to birth my first. I combated my societally influenced fears and reservations (pain, being discrete with bodily functions, nudity). My inner birthing spirit told me not to fear; giving me the idea that it would be a travesty not to recognize that I AM the driving power and strength BEHIND (not at the mercy of) the sensations. That at this juncture I was to acknowledge the true force of my female power and align WITH it; to trust that a (MY) body would not harm itself in such a sacred life process. How do we expect progress in labor, or otherwise, if we contradict or counteract our own power/wisdom?
The biggest revelation to me about the birth was that since I did not know when to anticipate the pain of the crowning, I got through it without fear or hesitation. I didn’t have the opportunity to hold back and I didn’t have to put more effort or rein in more “bravery” to do it. Perhaps, it would have been a longer story if I had noticed that turning point. Maybe we should disregard turning points if they impede the completion of our goals and accomplishments.
I was surprised at how much I wanted to kiss my husband during the labor… as if to take me back to the beginning, to reaffirm what we cannot take back- that I have a burning desire for him- body and spirit. My “drug” was the physical touch of my love. It was experience I was hoping for.
I have a better appreciation for my limits and my strengths. I have more respect for the power of my body- one that media and medical professionals tell us we need their product and expertise. I think of people who have gone through abuse and lose touch of their inner power and I’m convinced that they would change their mind through this process we call labor and birth in the re-birth of their soul. It is at the point of giving birth that no one can TELL YOU who you are.
The first time I took it lying down. This time I did it my way; upright in a reservoir of water- the most powerful element on Earth. I was not just an active participant, I steered the process and saw it to the end. I am so thankful that my husband led me through this journey that for him he saw was the best for our child; but really, a woman knows, it was transcendent experience. The best part of all was that he believed in me.