Thursday, March 11, 2010

This is why I carry on

I've been feeling somewhat discouraged since my last post. Wondering whether I'm wasting my time making a big fuss about nothing with this blog and all the time and energy I put into birth advocacy. Does it really matter as much as I think/feel it does?

Then I got an email from a friend-of-a-friend that made my day yesterday. She had discovered, two weeks before her due date, that a certain medication she was taking would prevent her from having an epidural. So she was scrambling to prepare herself for an unexpected drug-free birth at the last minute. A couple of friends alerted me to her predicament, and I quickly whipped-up an email with attachments and links and tips.

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 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.


Liz Johnson said...

Exactly. What is important to you won't always be important to everybody, but if you've helped one person, it's worth it.

And birth DOES matter. You and I both know that.

Missy said...

Your offering of support and information via your blog is so important! I know I have been enlightened and encouraged by so many posts you have written. I really enjoy your blog:) You are wonderful for taking the time and putting forth the effort to try and help others.

Rixa said...

I know how you feel. I get those same existential-blogging days too: is anything I'm saying doing any good? Am I just going on and on about something that's really inconsequential and wasting my energy?

It really helps to hear from my readers--to know that people do care about what I have to say.

Melissa said...

You summed it up for me in this paragraph "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 didn't realize that giving birth could be such a beautiful, empowering experience until after I had a c-section with my first child (breech position) and discovered the natural birth community while researching VBACs. I loved my VBAC and can't wait to do it again! I really appreciated all the inspiring messages from this blog and many others. Keep up the good work!

kamille said...

loved this post. you captured how i feel.

thank you for this blog - you have definitely inspired me!

Cassie said...

Do you remember the friend I brought with me when you showed the birth movie at my house? She was positive she couldn't have a homebirth. Too many complications, etc. She's been reading your blog and gaining some faith and understanding of her body.

She just left her doctor for the midwife team at St.Joe's. She also has an appointment with a homebirth midwife. If she ends up goingto St.Joe's, she intends to "get to the hospital to push" so that she can labor at home.

And, personally, you changed my life. I was into birth, but being there when you had Torben ignited in me an overwhelming passion and respect for the birthing process. Its one thing to give birth, and it's an equally empowering experience to help ease a mother into her own birth. Like I've said before, ill always have a special place in my heart for you because you took a chance on me and whole-heartedly became my first ever doula client. That instant trust that we had to hold in eachother was amazing and, because of that, I encourage all women to experience natural birth either first hand or has a support person. Its an event that every woman should have the right of being a part of.

So, you change lives without even knowing it - and there's a ripple effect. Please, keep sharing information and getting the word out. This isn't the 18th century, women have the right to make educated decisions.

Cassie said...

Meant showed the birth movie at YOUR house :)

Stina said...

I echo everyone Lani! You are inspiring! If it weren't for you and your blog and your help I wouldn't have ever found about the the Bradley method, which I have shared with over ten women,recommending the look into it...that it is wonderful and beautiful!!
I also wouldn't have found out about baby-led weaning, WHICH I LOVE! My boy loves food, and if having fun with it. We don't fight over food, it's something he and I enjoy together now :-)
You are wonderful!

The Fifes said...

ditto ditto ditto. You're amazing. :)