Ina May has been a midwife for over 30 years, delivered thousands of babies, and has such great wisdom pertaining to childbirth. She is such a spiritual person and I love reading her books!
Right now I've been reading about the process of labor - each stage and what exactly will be happening in my body, what each body part is designed to do, etc. It's so important to know our bodies in such a climactic point in our lives such as childbearing. Giving birth is when a woman's body does the most incredible things, and the cool thing is God designed our bodies to do it! We are made for this!
One thing I cannot stop focusing on is how critical FEAR plays into any situation - especially such an intense experience as childbirth. I declare that fear has no place in me, and no hold on me or my body. I understand how real Fear is, and how detrimental it can affect my body, my baby, and the process of labor. Fear not only enters into our minds, but also critically affects our bodies too. Ina May talks about the Mind/Body connection, and how fear can even prevent the cervix from opening up properly during labor. It only makes perfect sense -- whenever we are afraid, our body tenses up! But when we are at peace, our body is relaxed.
“We need to always remember that mothers who are afraid tend to secrete hormones that delay or inhibit birth. This is true of all mammals and is part of nature’s design. Those who are not terrified are more likely to secrete in abundance the hormones that make labor and birth easier and less painful – sometimes even pleasurable” (page 143)
I love learning about the hormones/chemical combinations that are produced in a woman during childbirth. The four main ones are: Prostaglandins, Oxytocin, Adrenaline, and Endorphins. Learning about these helps me understand the process of labor and the importance for me to go through it completely naturally, not altering my hormones with pharmaceutical treatments.
The secretion of prostaglandins softens and thins the cervix, which takes place in the first stage of labor. As the cervix opens, the uterus prepares to push the baby out through the cervix.
Oxytocin causes the uterus to contract. (The uterus is such an amazing and wondrous muscular organ that shelters the baby for the 9 months of his growth and development, and at the time of labor powerfully contracts to push the baby out and into the open world! Wow!) Oxytocin levels rise, both in mother and baby, when the baby enters through the vagina, which stimulates the chain of instinctual dance between mother and baby that is most often called "falling in love." How beautiful!!
Adrenaline acts as either an accelerator or preventer to birth. How? High levels of adrenaline can quite possibly stop the labor process, which may be why many women find they are no longer in labor once they check-in to the hospital. Imagine the busyness of hospitals, the hustle and bustle of everyone running around...The adrenaline in the hospital alone can very easily affect the woman in labor. As personal preference, I am very excited about having Courage Ruah in the comfort and familiarity of my own home where I can determine who will be present and what will be around me. (My personal preference).
Endorphins are the best. Endorphin levels rise during great physical effort, "especially when we are warm enough, feeling loved and supported, and above all, when we are NOT frightened! Endorphins are a blessing because they actually block the reception of pain!" (page 148-9). Endorphins also gives pleasure.
So, one main thing I would like to leave with whoever ends up reading this blog post is that the world's (or America's) preconceived idea that childbearing has to be a painful, scary experience, is simply NOT true. It's all about perspective, knowing your body and how God has designed us to go through this miraculous experience, and realizing that it can realistically be a pleasurable, even pain-free, and non-frightening experience. So throw off those horror stories - do not let them dictate how your own birthing experience will go, and receive ALL that God desires and wills for you as He originally designed this natural process of life.
I've mostly stated facts of childbearing, which is good, but paired with real-life testimonies of natural childbirth where it has either been painless or pleasurable or beautiful is even better. And that is what Ina May's Guide to Childbirth consists of.
"You'll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies" (Philippians 4:8 The Message).
I choose to fix my thoughts on God willing for me to have beautiful and perfect childbearing experience. After all, whatever I fix my thoughts on will instinctively affect my body. I fully believe that we can take authority over our bodies, speak to body parts, and they must obey at the Name of Jesus. I refuse to let fear come in. We are spiritual beings contained by our human bodies - but our bodies are subject to us, we are not subject to our bodies. That is, if we truly believe and take authority. It isn't always easy, but that doesn't mean it's impossible!