A closer look reveals many similarities between hurricanes and labor.
There’s the quiet before the storm– you’re calm and perhaps slightly reclusive. And then it starts to build, not in a perfect sequence but gradually, almost imperceptibly. It’s not horrible. In fact, it’s exciting. But weirdly, maybe a little boring. You almost want the contractions to be bigger and stormier. You’re all prepared. You’ve got your water and your snacks. You’ve talked this all through, you’ve made your plans. But right now it’s just a long day. Is this really going to happen? Was it all hype?
So you do some stuff to while away the hours– maybe watch a movie or get on Facebook or organize the kitchen, nest a little– and still there’s only a strong rustling, the occasional thrashing. Nothing so out of the ordinary. But by the time the night comes, things really kick up. It’s getting stronger and stronger and suddenly you feel a little frightened. It’s big. It’s bigger than you. It’s out of your control. It’s got a life of its own. This is what they were talking about.
And it may get even more intense, you worry. Someone reminds you that this is normal. That you’ve prepared. You drink some of your water. You eat some of your carefully selected high-protein snacks. You hunker down. Just as it seems to be the absolute hardest– contractions mounting like a massive surge over the Jersey shore– it quiets. You’re in the eye of the storm. The break before you pull yourself up and push that baby out, which you do, with great stormy strength.
And then it’s entirely quiet and peaceful and the skies are impossibly blue and the world around you seems new and clean and freakishly untroubled. Sure there are a few dings and scratches here and there, but you’re still standing. And so are most of the trees. And there is your new baby in your arms, safe and sound.
Ceridwen Morris, CCE, is a writer, childbirth educator and the co-author of From The Hips: A Comprehensive, Open-Minded, Uncensored, Totally Honest Guide to Pregnancy, Birth and Becoming a Parent. Follow her on Facebook.