I’m not going to lie: I’m pretty scared of labor pains. I’ve never really felt them despite having two children. I was induced with both and got an epidural pretty quickly thereafter. Basically, I have no idea what a real – not chemically induced – contraction really feels like.
I remember having a pitocin contraction while in labor with my now 2-year-old and I was certain I must be dilated to a 7, 8 even.
“Oh, no, honey. You’re at a 2.” I swear I saw the nurse smirk as she turned to leave.
A two? A TWO? That was a two? Bring on the epidural.
Recently, when I was sharing my fear of labor pains with my midwife she told me something that had never occurred to me before but has smoothed a kind of mental balm over the sting of my fear.
Labor pains brought on by induction are much stronger than natural labor pains. Not only that but injecting pitocin (a synthetic form of oxytocin) into your system doesn’t give your body a chance to produce natural oxytocin and oxytocin (often called the “Love Hormone”) is crucial for women giving birth naturally.
According to Bring Birth Home, “Oxytocin is a hormone that is produced in the brain and released into the bloodstream during labor, causing the uterus to contract … The release of oxytocin creates feelings of contentment, reduces anxiety and increases feelings of security and calm.”
Security, calmness and reduction of anxiety. A bunch of feelings that seem pretty important for a woman pushing a human being from her body, no? Oxytocin not only helps alleviate the discomfort of birth, but it helps create an almost euphoric high after giving birth.
So, what felt like an epic contraction during induced labor may not feel as painful during natural childbirth. Still, I realize labor will be no walk in the park, so I’m planning to take a hypnobirthing class to alleviate my fears. I’m hoping it will help me realize that the pain my body is about to experience is good pain and not bad pain that we are used to feeling after injuring ourselves. The pain of labor means the baby is coming, and this is not something to be afraid of.
That said, I’m still mentally filing away everything I read and hear that I think may help me in the throes of heavy labor, and I recently came across a quote that hit me like I imagine those labor pains eventually will.
My husband, Serge, wrote this sweet post, 16 Wise and Wonderful Birth and Pregnancy Quotes, that you should check out, but it’s the one quote I wanted to share with you here.
“The power and intensity of your contractions cannot be stronger than you, because it is you.”
I can do this. You can do this. We’ve been doing this for thousands of years. We got this.
Image: M. Bielanko
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