Friday, January 24, 2014

Grace in labour

Before I wrote yesterdays blog, I posted a coles note version of it as my status update in Facebook.

Someone's response to this bit "Asking for the blessing of an uncomplicated, easy, graceful labour." was:

"Graceful is not a word I associate with labour....but I wish you as uncomplicated and easy a labour as possible."

My response:

'Why not?

"Graceful: characterized by grace of form, manner, movement, or speech"
1. Seemingly effortless beauty or charm of movement, form, or proportion.
2. A characteristic or quality pleasing for its charm or refinement.
3. A sense of fitness or propriety.
a. A disposition to be generous or helpful; goodwill.
b. Mercy; clemency."

Labour does not have to be ugly and clunky and scary. I'm sure I'm not going to breeze around in a gown. But I'd love to labour in grace.'

And truly.  I have not experienced active labour before. I have had bouts of painful pre-labour contractions.  I needed to remind myself to relax.  Not to grimace.  When I faced those contractions with, shall we dare to say, grace, I felt less scared, and although I don't know if I'd say they where less painful, I was able to get though that minute more easily than the previous contraction.

I think the key word in the definition is 'seemingly'.  Like anything, grace takes effort.  Maybe it comes more naturally to some, but there is always effort behind it. 

I can either face the pain and/or discomfort with calm grace ('seemingly effortless', 'a sense of propriety'? 'goodwill'?) or fearful anticipation.  Maybe they aren't quite opposites, but I think 'grace' works.

I've been reading a lot.  Mainstream stuff, 'hippy' stuff.  Lots by Ina May Gaskin. Even 'old' stuff like 'Childbirth Without Fear' by Grantly Dick-Reid from the 40's.  I'm making informed choices.  
I know, I know, I know there is no amount of reading that will prepare me for this.  I'm not naive.  It will be work.  It will be painful.  It will be hard.  But that does not mean I need to be scared.  Anticipation of pain always always makes it worse.  No need to laugh when I say, "No, I'm not getting an epidural"  Don't pity me.   Respect my choices, as I've made them with much information.  Respect the words I use to describe my ideal labour.

(A quick aside: Although I've been vocal about not liking elective c-section, chemical inductions etc. I DO respect that it is a choice, I just feel they are uninformed choices a lot of the time.  Choices made in fear.)

My hope by going into labour with grace, peace, and calm that even if my plans go awry, I can stay graceful, peaceful and calm. 

aha!  Writing that out made me realize why the word grace works. 

Grace is not about my labour being pain free, complication free, epidural, episiotomy, induction, c-section free.  Having a graceful labour is flowing with what comes.  

When I think of grace I think of a gentle smile.
Someone who accepts things as they come, with beauty.
Accepts the good and bad with beauty and openness.

That is what I mean when I say I want a graceful labour.

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