This morning, I took a class at the Y called "Extreme Sculpt." Challenging would be putting it nicely. It's an hour of Maggie and Dina coming up with harder things for the five of us in the class to do. It's group personal training that focuses on strength. It's' hard. Oddly enough, when the class is over, I feel happy, energized even. I want to come home, eat an entire cow and clean my house.
Labor is this way. When we approach it with a positive attitude, surround ourselves with supportive, knowledgeable people and embrace the process, we can come out on the other side tired, happy and really hungry.
Delilah (my second child)'s birth is a good example of this. At three days after the estimated "due date," I was happy to be in labor. We had picked a location where people supported natural birth (Baltimore Birth Center) and I had Tim and my friend Alexis there. There were times that labor was tough (like pushing, not usually my favorite part). When she was out and the hard work was done I was amazed, happy, energized and starving. Alexis and I sent Tim out for pizza, which we promptly devoured.
The point is, it was worth doing. Hard things aren't things we need to be scared of. Preparation is important, whatever that looks like for you. For some people, it's taking natural birth classes, like Bradley or BirthWorks. For others, it's exercising during pregnancy. Having the right people with you is also important. If you are going for a natural birth, you'd want to have people along for the ride who trust the birth process and will encourage you to keep going. Many moms are choosing to have a doula at their births, a woman who is trained in being with other women during the birth process.
However you choose to approach your birth, remember that women's bodies are made for giving birth. You can do it!