I would like to ask my readers to please raise a hand if you love…suffering.
Any hands? Is anyone going to join me in this passion? Wait, my hand isn’t raised either.
Sometimes people assume that women who forgo medical intervention during labor must love pain. They think women like me endure the hours preceding childbirth by singing that Three Days Grace song, “Pain, I can’t get enough…’Cause I’d rather feel pain than nothing at all.”
Well, I have to admit, I do kind of like the song. But what actually gets me through the trial of labor is a steady focus on meeting my beautiful baby face to face. Experiencing that moment with fullness of sensation is what, for me, makes the momentary suffering worthwhile.
A positive labor experience will lead to an empowering birth, much like an intense Lenten sacrifice leads to a glorious Easter. Personally, I struggle every year with heaping on extra sacrifices / practices during the six weeks prior to Easter. I squirm at the thought of doing more than what my maternal vocation already requires of me. I do not particularly enjoy making sacrifices. But I do honor the Lenten observation as one that teaches self-discipline.
Still, I confess that I am counting down the days until Lent is over. I want to smell the lilies and hear the trumpets and sing Alleluia. The time day has not yet arrived though. So I take a deep breath when remembering my morning-and-evening-computer-only resolution, and I breathe in again when I forego seconds at dinnertime. I shut out distractions, firmly focusing on the weekly Stations of the Cross. I remain confident that these six weeks will lead to fuller experience on the Feast of the Resurrection.
I have endured five labors unmedicated, and after every birth, I was praising God that the baby had finally arrived. I do not enjoy labor. I don’t look forward to the intensity involved. I do however respect how a contracting uterus assists me toward my goal – releasing a remarkable baby out of my womb and into my arms.