Wednesday, November 11, 2009

As a Woman Lives So Shall She Birth

There is an old saying: “As a woman lives, so shall she birth.”

None of us work the same way. A woman who is very organized and efficient is likely to birth efficiently. Other women’s natural rhythms move very slowly. Some women like to be alone and others like to be the center of a crowd. If you are aware of who you are, you can better anticipate your birth and make sure that you get what you need.

I am surprised to hear how some women imagine that during labor and natural birth, they will be totally different than they are normally. Maybe this is because they have heard horror stories from women who were medicated during labor. Remember back in school when they told you how drugs alter your brain and your behavior? Natural birth is actually quite the opposite. I got a great birth story from a woman this week whose big epiphany was that during natural childbirth she was naturally herself (to an extreme, but not out of character). But I won’t give away the details. I’ll just post it as soon as I get her permission.

The point is, if you hope to give birth in a Zen like state, but have never been able to sit still and meditate for more than 2 minutes at time, it is not likely to happen. And if you think you are going to be an exhibitionist, but you won’t even undress in front of your sister, then my bet is that you’ll also be modest during labor.

This is in line with the teaching in Alma 34:34

“Ye cannot say, when ye are brought to that awful crisis, that I will repent, that I will return to my God. Nay, ye cannot say this; for that same spirit which doth possess your bodies at the time that ye go out of this life, that same spirit will have power to possess your body in that eternal world.”

If you don’t like the idea of birthing as you are currently living, then you should begin now to make changes. As we learn from Alma, we can’t do it at the last minute. It is only through daily practice and diligent effort that one can make these kinds of changes. But they are not impossible. In fact, I believe they are more possible during pregnancy than any other time.

Pregnancy is a transformation in itself. For one thing to change itself into another requires a ton of energy—like a space shuttle lifting off the ground requires googles of pounds of thrust, but once it is up, it requires very little energy to move it from place to place. The way I have seen things play out in so many women is that once they overcome the resistance to change, they are more open to many more changes. It is kind of like the conversion process. Or a giant, rolling, magnificent snowball.

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