“We have a secret in our culture, and it’s not that birth is painful. It’s that women are STRONG.” ~ Laura Stavoe Harm
I was fortunate to have the trip of a lifetime with my husband when I was five months pregnant with my first baby. We were on a tour bus in Beijing, China.
It was very humid and misty, and as we approached one of the wonders of the world, the Great Wall in all it’s glory, the tour guide said something I will never forget: “There are two ways to climb the wall – you can either go the hard way or the easy way.” He added, “Only the hard way is not so hard and the easy way is not so easy.” At that point we were thoroughly confused!
In the end we did go the hard way (my husband always loves a good challenge and dragged me and my pregnant belly up all those steep steps that seemed to go on forever!) and I must admit looking back, it was an incredible experience.
This curious riddle back in China managed to get stuck in my head and quite literally “drove me up the wall!!” It really got me thinking many months later, after the birth of my baby, about its deeper meaning. I started to relate it to the journey into motherhood and life in general. There was so much wisdom there!
For instance, sometimes modern women believe that booking themselves in for an elective c-section (too posh to push or just plain scared) or taking all the drugs is the easy way out because then they don’t have to feel anything, or can bypass the whole process. Yet when you look at the big picture, it is actually not so easy after all – in fact I would say the opposite: a medical or surgical birth (while totally necessary in the rare case of real emergencies) is taking the hard road.
This personal story impacted on me so deeply, it actually inspired the 16th Insight of my book, “The Easy Way Is Not So Easy” in A Modern Woman’s Guide to a Natural Empowering Birth. (above is the abridged version)
While I chose the ‘hard’ road by going au naturale and feeling every single bit of my labour and birth, afterwards I felt on top of the world as if I had climbed Mt Everest. I wanted to shout from the rooftops and it wasn’t about boasting either but giving women a new possibility of how positive and powerful giving birth could be….why didn’t anybody tell me about this? The feeling of accomplishment was incredible, the recovery fast and I was fully active, functional and empowered as a mother and a woman.
More than that, I was totally euphoric and high for many days on those natural hormones the body produces (who needs drugs when the body makes a whole factory of them for free lol) and in that amazing little love bubble with my sweet baby girl. Does it get any better than that?
So in this case, I can wholeheartedly say that the ‘hard’ way was actually the ‘easy’ way in disguise and highly recommended for any healthy and willing pregnant woman!!
***P.S. What are you choosing? Will you take the easy way or the hard way? What is your biggest mountain to climb right now?
Until next time, be well and choose consciously!
P.P.S. If you enjoyed this preview taster from my book, feel free to download your free chapter here
Birth Goddess: A Positive Birth Revolution
What our blog subscribers are saying about Great Wall Story….
I love that Chinese riddle – it makes sense when you think about it long enough!
I had my first last year – my little Amelia is now 10 months old, my how time flies! I was set on having a natural birth, and spent a lot of time preparing. I researched, I meditated, I dragged my husband along to a private session with a doula for extra advice. When the big day (or “night” as was the case) came, I was ready. My waters broke spontaneously, contractions started within half an hour, and I used simple deep breathing and a semi-meditative state to get through each one. Transition lasted an hour of excruciating pain that had me sitting in the shower, whimpering for an epidural, but I had no idea at that stage that I was near the end – the nurse and the doctor had been trying to convince me to go home not two hours before, saying I was just at the beginning! I held out for my internal exam, where I was surprised to learn I was fully dilated and ready to go! Well, I would have been more surprised if I had not just felt my body suddenly bearing down uncontrollably.
I accepted the offer of some gas and air as I settled into the second stage of the labour, but it was very soon unnecessary – the pushing part wasn’t painful so much as exhausting. Unfortunately neither myself nor my support people (husband, mum and bestie) spoke up to challenge the nurse when she put me in a weird, uncomfortable back position – everyone just sort of assumed she knew what she was doing. I sustained a third degree tear and had surgery under general anaesthetic to repair it. But I always tell people the birth itself was fine – it was what happened after the birth that was horrible!
I sincerely believe that aside from medical complications, any woman who has been educated and empowered, and has good support, can give birth naturally. We are told by everyone around us, and most especially the media, that birth is painful and scary. If only every woman knew that being scared will only make the pain worse, and the whole birth experience harder! I think it’s great that you are working to provide the education and empowerment that women need to face the challenges of birth with confidence.