“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response.”
~ Dr. Viktor Frankl
I will never sugarcoat it…having a natural unmedicated birth is painful. That said, no woman should ever suffer from the pain of childbirth. Pain and suffering are often thought of as synonymous, but they’re not. There are distinct differences between pain and suffering -especially in childbirth. Basically, pain may or may not cause suffering.
Pain, by definition, is an unpleasant physical sensation that is transmitted through the central nervous system to your brain. Suffering, however, is the response to pain- it’s your thoughts, your judgements, your beliefs, and the stories you tell yourself about the pain. Suffering results from mental and emotional responses to pain. Learning how to effectively respond to the pain will allow you to cope so that you need not suffer.
So, how does one effectively respond to the pain of childbirth?
#1 Know that the pain associated with childbirth is unique. It’s not like the pain of breaking a leg. The pain of childbirth is a side effect of a normal physiological process. A process that is finite, that comes to an end, and has a wonderful outcome.
#2 Fully understand why contractions hurt and that each contraction brings you closer to meeting your baby. That knowledge alone can often see you through the birthing process.
#3 Learn natural comfort measures and all you can about the birthing process.
#4 Ensure that you will be lovingly cared for in a peaceful, comfortable and safe environment where you will feel completely uninhibited and free to move in response to your body.
Bottom line… Your response to the pain is where you have power. When a birthing woman becomes overwhelmed by the pain, feels helpless, or has feelings of being completely out of control that is when pain turns into suffering. And, no woman should ever suffer from the pain of childbirth.
When a birthing woman knows ways to effectively respond to the pain of childbirth she doesn’t suffer- she copes.
From my heart to yours,