of all the internet memes out there, chuck norris jokes have long been some of my favorites. today i found this shirt:
i think it is a primo candidate for something to wear while i'm in labor. most books i've read on pregnancy/childbirth say it's good to develop a labor mantra for yourself early on. i'm supposed to repeat this mantra to myself anytime i feel anxious about labor pains, childbirth, etc.
PAIN IS WEAKNESS LEAVING THE BODY. PAIN IS WEAKNESS LEAVING THE BODY. PAIN IS WEAKNESS LEAVING THE BODY. PAIN IS WEAKNESS LEAVING THE BODY. PAIN IS WEAKNESS LEAVING THE BODY. PAIN IS WEAKNESS LEAVING THE BODY. PAIN IS WEAKNESS LEAVING THE BODY. PAIN IS WEAKNESS LEAVING THE BODY.
in all honesty, i'm kind of looking forward to labor. it may be too early to determine my feelings on the subject either way, but right now it doesn't scare me. it's a beautiful part of what my body is designed to do. yes, it will hurt. it will be excruciating, possibly very long, and definitely very emotional. BUT the end result is well worth all of that. it's one day of pain for a lifetime of joy.
all that said, i am considering natural childbirth. call me crazy (and you may be right), but the idea of being 100% physically, mentally, and emotionally present for the experience is way less terrifying to me than have a giant needle shoved into my spine. i have done a lot of research into this, as well as read and watched (gotta love youtube) many first-hand accounts of natural childbirth. to me (and this is nothing if not a very personal choice), the pros far outweigh the cons.
the benefits of a natural birth that are most important to me are:
1. no epidural means that i would be able to move freely, use the restroom, walk around, and change positions at will.
2. i would be able to respond to my body's signals and reflexes, and give it exactly what it needs. if lying on my back becomes uncomfortable for me, it is most likely uncomfortable for the baby, too. pain during labor serves a purpose to help me seek out the best positions for both of us.
3. women who do not get an epidural can push harder and faster, thereby decreasing the amount of stress pushing puts on both you and the baby. i can push when i need to push, not when the doctor tells me a should. i would also be able to actually feel the progress my baby is making, and i believe this will offer the best incentive to push through the pain.
4. the pain of a natural birth causes the mother's body to secrete endorphins into the placenta and umbilical cord. research shows that these endorphins serve to help the baby adjust to outside life and make their journey more comfortable.
5. most mothers report that recovery after a natural birth is faster. most can walk, eat, and shower right away.
6. research as shown that naturally birthed babies are more alert and show a more immediate interest in pre-breast feeding behaviors, and usually nurse for longer and with more success the first time.
these are just 6 of the many reasons why i am considering this path. i believe that each woman has the right to labor in any way she chooses, so long as it is not detrimental to the baby. that said, if something did go wrong, i would absolutely do what needed to be done, even if it involves pain medication. it's all about bringing the baby into this world in the safest way possible.
also note that just because i say "natural childbirth" does not mean i plan to have this baby at home, in a bathtub. i would only consider this route under the close supervision of my doctor, in a hospital or a birthing center. any advice from mothers who have been there is welcome, but please no "you're crazy" comments. this is nobody's decision but my own. thank you.