Today I read a good post called The Nature of Nature. The woman’s birth was precipitous (= 3 hours or less) and she said, “if I were to compare it to something in nature, it would be a riptide.” She concluded her post with this powerful observation: “I am starting to see that a woman’s strength in birth is also in the letting go and allowing herself to tumble fearlessly with the current, never losing sight of the belief that, when the energy of the tide is through, she will find herself upright again on the shore.”
Coincidentally, I just finished reading a book by Sheila Kitzinger called Homebirth. One of the quotes I marked to share was about the exact same thing:
“The power of birth is like the strength of the water cascading in a mighty rush down a hillside. It is the power of seas and tides, the power of mountains moving. There is no way of ignoring it. You cannot fight it. No amount of technique can enable you to be in control of it as you might be in control of a car or a computer. Your birth partner should aim not to manage, conduct, or coach you through this experience, but rather to give you strength and confidence as you allow your body to open and your baby to press through it to life.”
As I noted in comment on the blog post referenced above, I gave birth precipitously to my second son. I viewed the brevity as a gift and felt a tremendous and irreplaceable sense of triumph, empowerment, joy and euphoria. However, I also felt RUN OVER BY A TRUCK! Actually, the analogy I often use is that it was like a train speeding past me and I had run to catch up and jump on for the ride. A nature-based image that kept coming to me was of being a rock and having waves crash into me over and over again–and then part and flow around me.
My total labor was 2 hours. The serious, intense, active part of labor was about 45 minutes in length. As I surrendered to the tides of birthing, I kept saying, “This is MAJOR!” And it was. 🙂
Another related quote from Homebirth:
“Your breathing dances, you get into the swing of contractions, swimming over each as it rises in crescendo, or breasting it like a great ocean wave. You float, you ride, you ski down the mountain slopes, or leap into the void…The imagery that is likely to be helpful to you will include active verbs of opening, releasing, spreading, unfolding, and fanning out. As contractions sweep through you, concepts that suggest power, energy, strength, and perhaps, storm or even whirlwind suddenly make sense, along with wave and water fantasies–verbs such as stream, pool, flood, gush, flow, and cascade. And all over the world, in many different cultures, woman use visual images of fruit ripening and of the baby’s head like a hard bud in the center of a flower unfurling petals. As you read about birth, and whenever you take time to relax and enjoy anticipatory fantasies, create you own images and dreams that will give positive meaning to all the sensations of labor. Doing this will help you to savor fully an adventure that can be among the most thrilling, intense and satisfying experiences of your life.” (emphasis mine)