I am reading a book from the late 80’s right now called Giving Birth: How it Really Feels. It is by Sheila Kitzinger and I had never heard of it until this week. Some time ago I posted a quote about birth as a creative process. I’m only a few chapters into this book and it has so much that relates to the idea of birth as a creative process that I just had to make a new post about it.
“I believe that this is one of the important things about preparation for childbirth–that it should not simply superimpose a series of techniques, conditioned responses to stimuli, on the labouring woman, but that it can be a truly creative act in which she spontaneously expresses herself and the sort of person she is. Education for birth consists not, as some would have it, of ‘conditioning,’ but aims at giving a woman the means by which she can express her own personality creatively in childbirth.”
“The point of education for birth is that childbirth becomes not something that simply happens to a woman, in which the question of how to cope with pain is paramount, but a process in which she actively and gladly expresses herself. It is not a performance to be enacted, nor an examination that must be passed, but is a profound and all-enveloping experience in which she opens herself to the creative power of the uterus…no woman should have to suffer in labour. Instead it becomes an exciting adventure that brings with it a sense of deep satisfaction, thrilling achievement, and triumph.”
“…many women looking ahead to labour worry that childbirth pain will prove too much for them, and they they will somehow ‘give way’ and reveal their true selves. The implication is that our ‘real’ selves are nastier than the images we ordinarily present to the world–and that we require a mask to hide the unpleasantness of our inner natures. But it is this real inner self, capable of the hieghts and depths of emotion, which is also the self which can relish the excitement, drama and tumult of labor and the intensely moving and passionate experience of bringing new life into the world…a woman is completely caught up in the passionate act of creation, utterly committed to the feelings of the moment and to the vivid sensations with which her whole being is flooded.”
I personally identified with these quotes in many ways. I remember feeling that preparing for birth felt like preparing for the biggest test of my life. I remember fearing losing myself and “freaking out.” And, I remember the feeling of utter trimuph and exhaltation after giving birth. It was the most empowering and triumphant experience of my life. I felt like the outer self was stripped away and my real self was revealed and it was NOT ugly, or “mean,” or unworthy, but was beautiful, strong, powerful, magical, and of fundamental worth and value. I felt better about myself after giving birth than I’ve ever felt in my life.