Who knew they had so much in common?
Labour is about so much more than just PAIN, but that seems to be the only thing many women can focus on. Labour is the major life event that marks the beginning of a new era.
Evolutionarily, we are pretty efficient machines, and not too many processes happen unnecessarily. So it’s hard to believe that labour doesn’t have a larger purpose when you step back and look at the big picture.
So then if labour is about more than just pain, what is it? Why would we have evolved to have to endure such a big elaborate brouhaha in order to procreate?
I believe labour is actually a crucial step on the path to motherhood. It gives us a glimpse into the grit + strength that’s required to be a mom. It is in our best interest to allow this step to unfold in all its glory to make sure we enter into motherhood equipped for the journey.
The experience of labour shares many of motherhood’s characteristics, concentrating them into one super-intense, short(ish) event. What qualities could labour and motherhood possibly have in common you ask?
It’s all YOU.
From the second that baby leaves your body, you’re it. You’re the mom. You’re responsible. You’re in charge. You are the captain of this kid’s journey. No pressure or anything.
Sounds difficult, right? And at times it really is! Most parents know it won’t be all cuddles and giggles before they have kids, but does that mean you don’t want to do it? No, it’s just part of the process right? You take the good with the bad.
Of course, dads are responsible for the baby as well. But ask any dad about his role during the first 1-2 years of his kids’ lives, and he will openly tell you he deferred (or more likely, still defers!) to mom.
Moms + babes just have a bond. Can’t deny it. YOU grow the baby from a microscopic seed into a human being, you are its home. That baby’s love for you is the only thing it knows, it’s ALL YOU.
Oh girl, it’s ALLLL you. You can be supported very well, and you can even cope well enough that you ENJOY your labour (that’s where I come in!) But at the end of the day, no one can labour for you. And no one can mother for you. You da mama!
It’s extraordinarily difficult.
Mothering another human being will challenge you to the ends of the earth and back, and it demands that you grow. A lot. You develop, you improve, you gain wisdom.
It’s the only thing you will ever do 24/7/365. You don’t get time off from motherhood for one single second. It’s an amazing adventure and I wouldn’t change it for the WORLD, but at times it’s incredibly demanding and difficult.
The intensity of labour is purposeful: it’s your initiation into the world of motherhood. A brave challenge. A dramatic ceremony. A love party.
Labour + birth is the big crescendo into motherhood! It’s the main event that bridges your pre-baby life to your post-baby life. It’s difficult for a reason - it was designed to match the intensity of motherhood.
Don’t bypass experiencing the wonders of labour just because the road may get a little rocky. The road’s going to get a little rocky for the next 25 years of parenthood too but you don’t want to bypass that! It’s a growing experience.
It shows you how strong you are. How brave you can be. How deep you go.
It requires you to give A LOT of yourself (even when you don’t really want to.)
Deep down in my bones, do I really WANT to be sleep-dancing my 6 month old back to sleep at 2:40am? Or catching vomit in my hands with cat-like reflexes? Or doing bedtime routines every. single. night. for the next 8-10+ years? Diaper changing, nail cutting, teeth brushing, bum wiping...
No I don’t always deep in my bones want to, BUT I do them with love and enthusiasm nonetheless. It’s just part in parcel with this whole motherhood gig. I am honoured to have this amazing job and I don't take it for granted.
But I gotta say. Sometimes I’d rather be napping. Or taking a hot shower. Or grabbing a tea and watching some Netflix.
Did I WANT to be pushing a baby out of my vagina? Well...actually, I really really did want to but some women may rather skip that step, LOL.
Even if you don’t WANT to be experiencing labour pains, consider whole-hog embracing it anyway. There is no epidural in motherhood (except maybe wine!) So if you need to bear the pain in motherhood, what better opportunity to start toughening yourself up than in labour?
In labour - and absolutely in motherhood - the magic is in the moment. Soak it up and do not resist it. Relax into it. When we lose the moment, we start to resist and complain and then we throw our hands up and think it's all JUST TOO DIFFICULT.
It IS difficult, and you’re one tough cookie. I know you got this.
Whether it’s coping with contractions or caring for little ones, staying in this exact moment is the key to enjoying the ride.
It instills lifelong confidence.
Maybe not right away, but once you get into the swing of things, motherhood can be a BIG confidence booster. No one knows how to mother your baby like you do. You’re the mom! The expert on this little person! Motherhood instills confidence.
Nearly every woman exclaims the exact same (very few) words in the first seconds after her baby is born: 1) “Hello there!” to her baby, and 2) “I DID IT!!!” to her partner
I LOVE that moment (or I love as much as I can see of it, through my blubbering tears.) She did it, she’s done! She climbed mother nature’s Mount Everest and she’s standing at the peak, looking out at the view: her new family. And she’s in LOVE. The pride + confidence + love + joy is so bright it’s hard to look away.
Mount Birth, conquered. And then you feel like freaking Superwoman. What a way to kick-off your first day at the new job of motherhood. Mother nature planned that.
The experience of labour is intended to expose the deepest strongest parts of ourselves...to ourselves. Once we know where those boundaries are and how deep those depths go, we are able to tap into them as needed throughout the journey of motherhood.
So go ahead and Love Your Labour in all its beautiful brouhaha-ness.
In every. single. moment: be strong, be brave, dig deep.