Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Joys of Childbirth

I was eavesdropping. I make no apologies anymore in cafes, when I pipe in to other people's private conversations. If I have something valuable to say (the decision of whether or not it's valuable made, of course, by me) I say it.

When Riannon Price rubbed her belly and began to discuss the many variables inherent in giving birth, I had to speak across Naidre's to add my twenty-two cents.

"You just have to relax and let nature take it's course, you have to visualize the baby," I said. "We are meant to do this, and the only thing that creates a problem is if we clench and are nervous. It's amazing, enjoy it."

She looked at me then, skeptical. "I'm not sure I want the epidural..." she said.

I laughed. "Luckily, with my first, I had a doctor who had just had her third child, she came in and said not 'if' but 'when.' I got it, and it was great, it helped me relax. I had no qualms with the second one."

Rhiannon has the usual concerns, about doctors giving a c-section to speed things up, about the potentially scary side-effects of the epidural. It's not that these things aren't ever issues, but together, in aggregrate, if you focus on them, they add to the already fearsome prospect of parenting. The worry over things you can't necessarily control will definitely be a problem, while these other things are mere possibilities.

I loved giving birth, both times. My pregnancies were not without scares (all false alarms from diagnostic tests delivered in the hope of helping but that proved only harmful in the end) and my deliveries too were not without their panic moments. But the beautiful, magical idea that I could bring a new baby into the world trumped all of that, as it should.

Rhiannon seemed calm, with a beautiful smile. I have no doubt she will be able to put all her concerns aside and deliver her baby with great aplomb, even, maybe, enjoy the process.

"It's nice to hear someone be positive..." Rhiannon said. It's true, most people focus on the pain.

I waved off the slim memory of pain. "You're bringing a person into the world, what else matters?" I said. "Plus, what no one tells you is that the pain subsides during contractions, you get a little rest!"

I gave her a gold star and the recommendation to drink a glass of wine before labor, to get the epidural if she wanted it or needed it. I passed along the great wisdom of a Lamaze coach  who dressed-down a control-freak Dad, concerned that his wife's use of drugs would harm HIS baby.

"'For as long as women have been having babies, people have found what they can to ease the pain,' she said, 'Indians used peyote...'"

Whatever it takes to relax and enjoy (within reason, of course,) Rhiannon should do. It is, after all, the greatest gift to be able to give the gift of life! It can be, and should be, fun.

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