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Please Stop Talking About 'Labour Pains'—There's So Much More To Childbirth

Don’t allow fear and anxiety to ruin a beautiful process.

06/05/2017 10:58 AM IST | Updated 06/05/2017 10:58 AM IST
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Last week I met a mother-to-be at a family function. While I was congratulating her on her beautiful glow and telling her how privileged she should be feeling with a life growing within her, all she could talk about was her impending labour and how anxious she was about the pain. She was fearful of even asking me how my experience was as she had already listened to frightful stories from other mothers!

Why do women wear the length of their labour as a badge of honour and scare others? I just don't understand it.

Why mothers don't encourage pregnant women with more positive experiences is beyond me! Why do women wear the length of their labour as a badge of honour and scare others? I just don't understand it.

Fine. Bringing a child into this world hurts. But it is also a beautiful and life-changing process. This article is to tell all would-be mothers to look at "labour" as not labouring, but as "birthing" or even as a rite of passage or anything which makes it more positive. When you think of the birthing process as an enabler through which the mother is assisting the child to enter the world with dignity, love and strength, suddenly the mother is humbled and empowered.

If we only let our bodies and nature do their job, pregnancy and birthing would be so much more beautiful. I wanted to tell that scared mom-to-be to trust, believe and be in awe of her body. Without being asked, her body would nurture the child for nine months inside, and forever outside her body. She will produce the best food for the child through her body for as long as the baby needs it. Did you know that breast milk changes in its composition according to the needs of the baby?

Most of us have been introduced to the process of birthing via Hindi movies, where the pregnant woman is rushed into a room and is heard screaming as the father paces outside. We associate the process with pain and misery. While medical intervention can be required in high-risk situations, all pregnancies and births do not need aggressive, intrusive treatment. In older times, there was a loving dai who would comfort and assist the mother-to-be birth, as she had done for all women in the village/family/community. She knew the mother personally, attended to her throughout the pregnancy, offered advice, and lovingly helped her bring her baby into the world. The Western world is now waking up to this phenomenon, but we seem to have forgotten it.

The calmer the mother is, the more endorphins get produced, and the smoother the process becomes.

A gynaecologist friend practising in the UK told me that the NHS assigns a pregnant woman a midwife for the entire pregnancy and through the birthing process. A doctor is usually called in only for emergencies. Why? Because our bodies know best.

When you receive forwards claiming that childbirth pain is equivalent to 20 bones breaking, just press delete. During childbirth, your body produces endorphins, which help to alleviate the pain and help manage labour well. However we are already often in such a heightened state of fear and tension that we don't flow with the process and often seek unnecessary medication and other interventions. We are doing it all wrong. The calmer the mother is, the more endorphins get produced, and the smoother the process becomes.

So when you plan to book your pregnancy photo shoot and your baby shower, do also look up natural birth and antenatal classes. There is inspiration and power waiting to be discovered which will change your outlook. Also, the next time you have your prenatal gynae visit, tell your doctor you want a natural birth and ask her to guide you to it.

Just so you know, I was no different from the would-be mother I met. But I decided to take help and overcome my fears.

"Childbirth is the only time you will assist God in a miracle..."

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