In our society we are generally taught that childbirth is terrifying and painful and therefore something we should be afraid of. This is an unfortunate misconception that is often deeply embedded and certainly not always the case. While it can be incredibly intense it is not the kind of “pain” you may think of when you are sick or injured. If you were to cut off your finger, your nervous system would be screaming that something is terribly, terribly wrong. Bone, vessels, muscles, nerves, and tendons would be absolutely damaged. It would be truly very painful. Birth is different. All the parts of the body that are involved are working as they are designed to work. The uterus does its amazing job of rotating the baby and opening the cervix. Things are working, not damaged. Often when a sensation is foreign or unfamiliar, we assign it to the “pain” category. Education goes a long way in helping a woman know what she is feeling and why as well as what it is accomplishing. She is also not left alone in a puddle of fear and sorrow to deal with the sensations of birth. With some coping techniques and positive support labor can be an amazing and empowering experience. Some of the things she may feel are cramping, tightening, stretching, and pressure. Also knowing that there are breaks between these sensations can be a relief. A 12-hour labor is not 12 hours of hard and difficult labor. The most difficult part is also usually the shortest part. While birth is not usually a cake walk, neither is it a death walk.  Let it be amazing, not frightening.

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