Home Birth Advocacy, Pregnancy

The Delicacy of a Woman’s Power During Labor and Birth

2 Comments 16 October 2012

Women have power.

I visualize internal power as a soft glowing ball of light radiating within our chest walls. It can sparkle like the sun in the faces of our friends and warm the deepest crevices. How it feels so invigorating to achieve. Pride in accomplishments. It’s the best.

When you hand over your power, you dim that light. When you hand over your power, you’re giving someone, (who you may deem as more qualified) permission to make important decisions on your behalf.

Whether we shine through or are snuffed out can be in the middle of a “right of passage” moment in life.

Women sometimes find themselves in this position during pregnancy, labor and childbirth. We enter into uncharted territory and might feel nervous about making decisions. Doubts arise. It feels good to have a guide – someone whom you trust to help navigate.  This is why I so strongly advocate choosing the right care provider.

The incident might in the moment seem insignificant or minor. A simple assessment phone call during labor to discuss your progress peppered with advice about what to do next. Or feeling the iv cord bump into your thigh with each step. Suddenly feeling irritated and taken out of your “zone.”

During labor, distractions can be downright dangerous.

Each time a laboring woman is distracted, she is pulled from her animal-intuitive brain to her human-thinking brain. Complex thoughts and the actions that follow, as well as near constant monitoring by person or machine, releases adrenaline (this is our fight/flight response). Adrenaline opposes oxytocin, the hormone responsible for contracting the uterus.

As a result of these hormones butting heads, labor slows down. Due to this “failure to progress,” further interventions might be “needed” to induce labor, speed up labor, alleviate pain from overly powerful contractions due to induction and/or augmentation, and in some cases, cesarean section.

A woman just lost her power.

Keep your inner light lit by dreaming up and planning for a beautiful birth experience. Build a birth team filled with support. Don’t save the space for distractions and interference (at an absolute minimum). Stay away from negative press and conflicting philosophies that your feel might compromise your experience , during pregnancy, labor, birth and postpartum.

Start with trust.

Labor and birth is for a woman the process of letting go and going in, if we allow it. Trust your Self, your body and of course, birth and the entire life cycle.

That is a lot to trust, and to have faith in. You are a lot to have faith in. I know from experience it can be hard to call yourself “worthy” of your own time and respect. But you are. No matter what you’ve done, or what kind of challenge you think you can’t endure, you are human mother giving birth to a human baby. And that is a normal physiological, yet utterly amazing event in our lives!

Looking for more empowered birth posts? These topics relate:

There is Light at the End of the Birth Canal

Natural Birth Relaxation Techniques

Why Birth Matters – An Introduction 

Your Comments

2 Comments so far

  1. Buffy Owens says:

    Beautiful! I love the way you introduce your experience {image} of power as “radiating within our chest walls” I too imagine it like this, as well as it radiating from the abdomen/pelvic region {the point in martial arts known loosely as the hara or dantien}. To me this is one of the most amazing things about being woman–that this source of power rests in the area of the womb. There is the dance between the two, the power of the heart and the power of the hara. There is the dance between the mother and the child.

    This post is a wonderful reflection of that power and a great reminder on how to stay connected to that power. Thank you.


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