Fear/tension/pain... Or Not. - Mothering Forums

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Old 11-26-2003, 02:51 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I've never read extensive information on hypnobirthing. I've read maybe an article or two and what I've seen on these boards. But I must admit that I don't quite "get" this whole "painless" birth thing. I think I've come to understand that it isn't entirely about that, but about being able to relax yourself in order to allow your body to do what it needs to do. But I guess I'm quite irked about this idea that all pain is the result of fear. I can't relate to that one.
In this article: http://www.compleatmother.com/articl...rth/fear.shtml the reasons outlined for pain other than fear seem to include, aside from being physically limited or exhausted, a lot of other ways in which fear can manifest itself, i.e. past sexual trauma. The last reason really presses my buttons: "believing that birth has to be painful". ???

I suppose my real issue with all this is that it sort of invalidates anyone's pain that might have occurred during childbirth outside of all these fear-related causes. What it comes down to is that I had pain during childbirth. I really felt like it hurt a lot. I don't attribute that pain to a negative feeling at all, because it's the work of labor and makes sense to me. I didn't like the pain per se, and after having given birth, I wasn't sure that I ever wanted to do it again. A little time has lapsed, so I've changed my mind on that point... At any rate, I wasn't afraid in my labor. Or at least I don't think I was afraid. I guess I could see how you could say that my pain was the result of being afraid of the pain, but I really think that that was sort of natural. My labor was not inhibited by fear or tension. I had a ten-hour, start-to-finish, early-labor-to-birth, first birth labor. That's pretty short. It started with my water breaking and contrx 10 mins apart and built steadily from there. I just don't see how what I was doing was anything but giving myself over to my body. And that makes sense to me. Why would you want a painless birth? Doesn't the pain of labor tell us that our body is doing something monumental? Isn't pain as much a part of birth as pleasure is a part of lovemaking (and maybe a little pain too )? So why get rid of it? Don't we all know and quite often contend that anesthetizing yourself to the pain of labor disconnects you from what your body is doing and the mechanism that tells you what you need to do? So wouldn't relaxing yourself that much take you out of your body, away from your baby and the task at hand? Pam England wrote in Birthing From Within about how when she goes to a house where there are candles lit and soft music on and the laboring woman is in a white flowing nightgown that she knows she's either going to be there for a while or that she can shut off the music and they can get down to work. One of the stories in Peggy Vincent's Baby Catcher detailed how a woman had this whole waterbirth planned and had all these friends singing softly and didn't progress until she was taken out of the water and the singing stopped so she could focus on birthing rather than relaxing. So isn't pain an integral part of all this? And besides, according to our biology, birth is going to hurt more for us than for other animals, but we're designed so that we can do it and nature has made sure of that by softening our bones and ligaments during pregnancy.

So explain this to me, or alternately, back me up...

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Old 11-26-2003, 03:03 PM
 
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AnnaKiss, I can certainly identify and agree with what you are saying. I am in no way an authority on childbirth. I have had 3 kids, and all three times, it hurt....like hell! But i wasnt necessarily afraid of it, i just assumed this was the way it was. I have read many a thread here that has made my blood boil because it seems that if i claim it hurt, than somehow its my fault. I have very few issues, and few barriers related to my sexuality and my ability to birth. i never doubted my body's ability at all. Like you, i had a quick first labor, about 9 hours start to finish. my second and third were 4 and 2 hours, with little pushing effort on my part, they came right out. I didnt do hypno birthing, i just let my body do what it needed to do, and i "breathed" through each contraction. I dont assume nor assert that my quick births are because i didnt have issues or barriers, and i wouldnt say that a woman who labors for 40 hours has a psychological barrier to labor. ridiculous.

I especially like what you said about the woman in the flowing nightgown with candles and music. I certainly couldnt stand any noise at all when i was in very active labor, and if i had a freaking nightgown on, i most certainly would have ripped the sucker off. Some women feel that that is what they have to do to set the mood, and get into the right mindset. to each his own.

I really like your OP, thanks for starting this thread.

Lisa
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Old 11-26-2003, 04:43 PM
 
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it's all about SURRENDER....

there is a fear of losing control or "getting out of control" when I talk to pregnant women.

so, by creating a rigid environment of how they believe birth should be, they are able to stay IN CONTROL...

and hence, some women never cross over that line to surrender and kicking into strong, active labor.

I should say that I've seen beautiful births with candles, soft music and a gorgeous woman lounging in the water.
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Old 11-26-2003, 05:13 PM
 
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"But I guess I'm quite irked about this idea that all pain is the result of fear. I can't relate to that one."

This belief has long been long been a peeve of mine. I also was not afraid going into labor, in fact I was ridiculously naive about how bad the pain could get. My midwife wanted to talk about how I would deal with it, and I just waved her off. I really thought it would not be a big deal. I can point to several reasons that my labors have been painful, but fear is not one of them.

"So wouldn't relaxing yourself that much take you out of your body, away from your baby and the task at hand?"

I think that it's not black and white. Birth is a complex bio-chemical process. You want enough relaxation that unnecessary tension/fear/stress does not have a chance to shut the body down or make it malfunction on other ways. The fight/flight response causes blood to drain from the uterus so that it cannot work properly. This is scientifically valid. Also, oxytocin, which is a necessary part of the labor process, is also known as "the love hormone" -- it reduces anxiety and tension. As Michel Odent says, "the right place to give birth would be the right place to make love."

On the other hand, an increased amount of adrenaline, which is the foe of relaxation, is alsoa normal part of the natural birth process, particularly at the very end, and this seems to often be accompanied by a feeling of anxiety (which appears to be common in mammals, not just humans.) (For more about this, see "Fear of Death During Labor," Michel Odent, Midwifery Today Autumn 2003.)

"Pam England wrote in Birthing From Within about how when she goes to a house where there are candles lit and soft music on and the laboring woman is in a white flowing nightgown that she knows she's either going to be there for a while or that she can shut off the music and they can get down to work."

Ooh, this is another pet peeve of mine. England seems to be implying that birthing women don't know best what they need and that the midwife's job is to get her in touch with reality so the birth can happen. Hogwash. Mood in birth is important, as important as it is in sex. I'm not personally into flowing white nightgowns, but I did want twinkling fairy lights and scented hot water and Lenny Kravitz on the stereo. If a midwife had breezed through and said, "enough of this nonsense, let's get to work," I would have been pissed. That was *my* way of approaching *my* work. And yes, it took a while (my last labor was 32 hours) but so what? I instinctively needed to work up to it slowly, and that was just fine with me. Too bad if someone else doesn't like it!

Some women think that birth is going to be this mystical, ecstatic, pleasurable experience. Well, for some women it is! And more power to them. But of course if you have your heart set on that and your body has different ideas, the shock of it may undermine your confidence so that you are never able to recover and deal with the difficulties -- and the fear-tension-pain cycle is set in motion. This is a different issue, though, than what Pam England is talking about.

"So isn't pain an integral part of all this?"

That, I don't know. Pam England offers up several reasons why pain is necessary to the process, but I think that is just conjecture, not yet provable. And what about women who experience pleasurable/easy births even when they're not trying? Are they freaks whose are lucky enough to have the rare malfunction of the body that actually has good results? Or are they possibly examples of ideal functioning of the body? It does not seem off the wall to me to wonder if maybe the majority of women's bodies *do* malfunction in birth to some extent.
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Old 11-26-2003, 05:59 PM - Thread Starter
 
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blueviolet, you're right. every woman is different and therefor every labor is different.

"Some women think that birth is going to be this mystical, ecstatic, pleasurable experience. Well, for some women it is! And more power to them. But of course if you have your heart set on that and your body has different ideas, the shock of it may undermine your confidence so that you are never able to recover and deal with the difficulties -- and the fear-tension-pain cycle is set in motion. "

This is more what I'm talking about though. I know that for some women labor is painless and it is a mystical, ecstatic event, but for most, I don't think it is. As far as I can tell, for most women it is the hardest thing they've ever done. And that makes sense to me, because that's what it was for me. I don't like the idea that having painless childbirth is the ideal functioning of the body. Maybe it is the ideal functioning, but every body is different, and somehow I don't think pain is stopping women from having children to the point that we will evolve to have bodies that function in this "ideal" way all the time. I would just rather we reclaim the pain of childbirth instead of trying to say that it shouldn't exist, or shouldn't have to happen.

My issue is that when I've heard talk of hypnobirthing, it seems to say, "You too can have a painless childbirth without drugs!" I think that this sort of advertisement can potentially lead women into a false sense of security. It also can lead to an undermining of confidence, as you said, so that if we do have pain, we feel that we did it "wrong" or that we should be doing it "better". And I think that painless childbirth really shouldn't be the goal anyway. I think that pain is part of life and how we come to understand that pain can be what supports our confidence in our strength, or alternately, undermines our ability to cope, not just in childbirth, but in anything. Saying that we "malfunction" (or that we might be malfunctioning) can also really undermine that ability. So I'm not real thrilled about labeling things in this manner.

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Old 11-26-2003, 06:55 PM
 
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"...somehow I don't think pain is stopping women from having children to the point that we will evolve to have bodies that function in this "ideal" way all the time."

No, you're right, that wouldn't happen. But, if one is working from the idea that women already *are* evolved to give birth painlessly and it's *un*natural factors that cause pain, then it's a moot point.

"I would just rather we reclaim the pain of childbirth instead of trying to say that it shouldn't exist, or shouldn't have to happen."

But what if it *doesn't* have to happen? Then what purpose does it serve? You already answered this partially (and actually I agree with you because it was the same for me,) but the reason you gave would probably not be relevant to everyone. I mean, sex is unpleasant or painful for a lot of people, and hardly anyone tries to claim that this is character building or whatever.

"Saying that we "malfunction" (or that we might be malfunctioning) can also really undermine that ability. So I'm not real thrilled about labeling things in this manner."

But doesn't it depend on what belief the label reflects? For instance, to say that women's bodies malfunction because they are intrinsically weak is very different from saying that they malfunction because of what is done to them. To believe the former does undermine confidence; to be aware of the latter, however, is power.
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Old 11-26-2003, 07:26 PM - Thread Starter
 
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"But doesn't it depend on what belief the label reflects? For instance, to say that women's bodies malfunction because they are intrinsically weak is very different from saying that they malfunction because of what is done to them. To believe the former does undermine confidence; to be aware of the latter, however, is power."

But I didn't "malfunction" because anything was being done to me. Nothing was done to me to cause me to "malfunction". I "malfunctioned" I guess then because I am weak and unable to relax myself to the point of painless childbirth. So for me, that's still reflecting a negative. And thus, I am made to feel by all this connotation that I am not fully able to give birth in the "ideal" way and that I need to be doing it "better".

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Old 11-26-2003, 11:32 PM
 
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Still working on what you have said... but I gotta jump in with my experience, just gave birth last week.
Before labor, I wasn't afraid of the pain. I was afraid of doctors and hospitals, exactly why I didn't go there for this birth, and exactly the reason I believe prevented my labor from progressing the first time around. But the pain? Nah, not me. I've had some pretty serious chronic pain in my time, thought I knew all about pain.
HA! I knew nothing about pain until the pushing started. Boy did that hurt! I kept telling my midwife, "it wasn't supposed to hurt this much!" I was fighting the pushing urges, which started at about 6cm.
I was still fighting the pushing urges, except my body wouldn't let me, until I felt the head coming out. And baby was born just three hours after labor really got started.
I think the pain was my body's signal to me to not push her out too fast. In hindsight, it was a good thing. And, like you hear everyone say, as soon as baby was born, the pain was totally gone! I am just now beginning to notice soreness from the tearing and stitches I received.
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Old 11-27-2003, 05:27 PM
 
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"And thus, I am made to feel by all this connotation that I am not fully able to give birth in the "ideal" way and that I need to be doing it "better"."

Well, I don't know if I buy that you're being made to feel that -- you're either accepting that conclusion for yourself or not. If you do accept it, and that is your prerogative, you can't blame anyone else for how it makes you feel. If you don't accept it, nothing anyone else says truly matters.

"But I didn't "malfunction" because anything was being done to me. Nothing was done to me to cause me to "malfunction". I "malfunctioned" I guess then because I am weak and unable to relax myself to the point of painless childbirth."

All I can say is that it is possible to have a different perspective about this. I can say you malfunctioned because you are weak, or I can say a body part of yours malfunctioned, possibly because of circumstances that were not in your control at the time. We don't take it personally when any other body part doesn't work optimally; we say, "I shouldn't have eaten so many saturated fats," or "it was a genetic thing," or "it was an iatrogenic complication," or whatever. But it's not tied up in our self worth, like birth is in this culture. (Which is ironic when birth has been pretty much been taken out of women's control....)

Anyway. I don't pretend to know the ultimate truth about all this. I'm just saying that it's possible that the truth is neither "it's normal and I am therefore perfect" nor "it's abnormal and therefore I am deficient in character"; maybe not even close to either of those things.

I experienced EXCRUCIATING pain in labor. That's in all caps for a reason -- if you asked me what my pain was on a scale of 1 to 10, I'd say 100. It was the most horrible pain that I can imagine experiencing. I don't believe it was necessary for the pain to be that bad. A lesser amount of pain I could maybe see a purpose for -- to signal to me that I needed to do something different, just like when your back starts hurting while sleeping, that prompts you to turn over so you won't get bed sores. But I have found no reason to believe that the level of pain I experienced was normal or good.

I didn't have the routine interventions that are usually blamed, nor was I in a stressful hospital environment. But I suspect there were things that contributed to my body functioning less than ideally in birth: I think a large part of it is that my body is not in the right shape -- I mean that literally, as in form -- for giving birth as the human body is meant to, because I have spent so much time in my life with my uterus tipped backwards. What physical situation did the female body evolve in response to? Being upright, fairly active, and squatting a lot. It's only very recently that we have become so sedentary, not only spending a lot of our time sitting, but reclined sitting. (Having a lot of nausea in pregnancy, I spent a lot of time in our recliner.) I know some people will scoff at that idea, and maybe it isn't true for them. But in my case I think it's true. And I think it's too bad, but it doesn't make me a bad, or weak, person.

The other thing that I believe greatly prevented my body from functioning ideally in labor was that my neocortex was overly stimulated. If that were not true, it would be awfully coincidental that each time the pain reached an unbearable level only when other people with whom I am not normally intimate were present. But I think it is true. The science behind it is solid. So it makes sense, to me, that women should have gotten this idea that childbirth is inherently painful -- because humans have never treated birth like others mammals do -- they make it into a cultural ritual that bonds the tribe together. And the unhappy side effect of that is that the birthing mother's neocortex is stimulated by the activity around her, so the hormonal process is disturbed and its choreography is upset. Malfunction, and its result: pain. (Of course, the body is resilient and powerful, so luckily in most cases it still manages to get that baby out safe and sound.)

So I do regard my level of pain as malfunction that was at the time of birth outside of my control. And therefore no one can blame it on me being weak. In fact, I powered my way right through it, and that is certainly not weak. Are there things I could have done differently? Sure. But it's pointless to blame myself, say it's my fault, because at the time I didn't know better or didn't have the tools to do better. None of us does the perfect thing every second of the day; we are still learning. That's not something, IMO, to be ashamed of.
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Old 11-27-2003, 05:45 PM
 
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"So it makes sense, to me, that women should have gotten this idea that childbirth is inherently painful -- because humans have never treated birth like others mammals do -- they make it into a cultural ritual that bonds the tribe together. And the unhappy side effect of that is that the birthing mother's neocortex is stimulated by the activity around her, so the hormonal process is disturbed and its choreography is upset. Malfunction, and its result: pain.

I want to point out too that if sex were treated the same way birth is, it wouldn't be very pleasant either. Can you imagine if, every time you had sex, there was a paid professional in the room with you to observe, monitor, and even guide you? The difference between attended sex and attended birth, though, is that birth is a much bigger process, your body has to go through a much bigger change, and admit a much bigger object through the vagina. So it makes sense that the level of pain experienced would correspond to that: observed sex can be painful; observed birth can therefore be VERY painful.
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Old 11-28-2003, 10:38 AM
 
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Anakiss -- how would you like to see HypnoBirthing (and others) phrased? It seems like we're talking a bit of semantics here. I don't know what articles you read (perhaps the Pregnancy magazine that's on the shelves now that I'm talking about painfree childbirth in?), but I think a lot depends on how you define things: pain, malfunction, fear, interventions, complications, etc.

I think anytime a group says, "You're doing it wrong," people get defensive. Somewhere in the HypnoBirthing information you read, you must have felt it was saying that "You were doing it wrong." That never feels good.

We do what works for us. If painful childbirth is what works for you, then hey, it's works. If painfree childbirth is what works for me, then hey, it works for me. I'm not going to say that your beliefs are wrong, and I'd appreciate it if you don't say that my beliefs are wrong. We just agree that our views on childbirth works for us.

If Catholicism works for you and Taoism works for me, who's to say that one doesn't really work? Or that one is malfunctioning? I wouldn't sit here saying that I don't get Catholicism and feel attacked by it. I would simply accept that these are two world relegions that exist and are based on two different belief systems that serve a purpose for groups of people.

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Old 11-28-2003, 04:18 PM - Thread Starter
 
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The simple existence of hypnobirthing does not cause offense. If that's how you want to do it, then brilliant, go for it. Heck, I'm interested too, which is why I care enough to even ask about it. I understand and have stated that everyone's experience is different, which is being proven in this very thread because everyone is definitely writing about this with the perspective of their own experience in the forefront of their mind. I don't think that can be helped.

But there are smaller points that I take issue with, namely the statement that all pain is the result of fear. Now, I'm sure that no one writes that to cause offense, and perhaps it's not explicitly stated in all hypnobirthing literature that that is the belief. In the article I posted a link to, however, the suggestion is that MOST pain is the result of fear, and the rest is the result of physical or psychological limitations, meaning dehydration or the positioning of the body in childbirth, or past psychological trauma, or as blueviolet pointed out, the unnaturalness (I know that's not a word) of having strangers or at the very least those we do not know intimately present during childbirth. Making that statement I'm sure is not intended to cause offense to anyone, and is even intended to allow for the idea that circumstances aside from fear might cause pain. And I'm not particularly offended by that, but there is a part of me that can't help but read "fear causes pain in childbirth, except for these other more rare conditions" and think, well f-you, I didn't experience any of that and I still felt pain, so where does my experience fit in? My problem with the literature is that it narrows instead of widens the definition of normal. And can't we all agree that widening the definition of normal regarding childbirth is part of empowerment? Don't we all look for others with our shared experience in order to bolster our power? Don't we feel strength in numbers? Sure, not everyone feels better when they have others who've shared their experience, I'll allow for that. Not every situation is one way. Which is what my problem with hypnobirthing literature is. Maybe it's just too far out for me and I'm not willing to let go of my experience as correct (if even just for myself) in order to say that there is something better. Maybe the goal of hypnobirthing literature is not to suggest a better alternative to dealing with labor, but simply an alternative. And I'm sure that that is the intention. And I feel great about that being the intention. I don't take offense to that at all. It's making blanket statements that bothers me. Because like it or not, birthing is tied up to self-worth in this culture and I'd think in most other cultures as well. Reproducing is what we do, it's what the intention of your existence is - to pass on your genes. If you can do that well repeatedly and raise those children to adulthood so that they can pass on your genes yet again, then you have achieved your biological function. So because we are big-brained, social animals, we spend a lot of time thinking about our alpha male and alpha female counterparts and trying to be like them, or trying to get their genes for our children. We are a semi-monogamous species, which can mean that we women will risk a lot to ensure good genes for our children and that they grow to adulthood. We will risk our lives. Our big brains let us think about all this a lot. We have used those big brains to create more time for us to sit around thinking about this stuff and thus we have a consciousness that is tied up in the social order, so that if we see a woman who can have lots of children with less effort than ourselves, we would like to be more like her and that affects our self-image. It's simply how we work. So that if I can't breastfeed, I feel like I've failed my children, and if a more attractive woman comes to my house, I feel threatened and ugly. It's all tied up in biology. As is pain. The sense of touch is the only sense humans cannot live without. We know that we get burned by hot things because of our sense of touch. We know, as blueviolet pointed out, that we need to roll over in bed when our back hurts. Pain in childbirth, it is theorized, lets us know how to move in order to get the baby out best. It's a call and response mechanism. Saying that animals experience no discomfort during childbirth, is a bit limited. We don't know that. It is somewhat simlar to saying that animals don't feel pain at all, thus it's no problem if we shoot them and eat them or crowd them into feed lots. Our anatomy may increase our discomfort during childbirth over other mammals, however. We're bipedal, so our pelvises are more narrow. Babies are born weak and helpless because they have to come out before their heads get too big thanks to the big brain we've evolved. If pain was a malfunction in childbirth, evolution should be, or would have selected against it.

If other people want to experience painfree childbirth, that's fine. I think that most women experience some discomfort in labor, and I personally think that's the way it's supposed to be. I don't think that's the way it has to be, but that's the way it is. I do think that the advertisement of painfree childbirth feels like a "solution" to that pain "problem", which sort of takes away what I feel is the importance of pain, the function that pain serves in the birth process as a call and response system. I can see, however, how feeling 100 on a scale of 1 to 10 might be a less than ideal functioning of the body. In my personal experience, I got to a point where I didn't want to do it anymore, where I felt like I couldn't do it anymore, but I still knew that I could and that I would because I had to. And I did. And from my personal experience, with some perspective in the way of the intensity of those sensations, I feel like that's how it's supposed to be, not that anyone else has to agree with that. My whole point, was that I cannot relate to the desire to feel no pain, or the ideas that pain in childbirth is (almost) always the result of fear or that pain in childbirth is unnecessary and a "malfunctioning" of the body. And yeah, I also don't like to feel that other people (whose ideas I can't help but to consider and use to evaluate as part of my self-image) think that I malfunctioned when I felt pain. I feel like if you say I malfunctioned then my experience was wrong, or could have been better, when in fact it was just my experience and what happened, happened and what came out of it, came out of it. I feel like experiences are just that and should not, in an ideal world, be judged for anything other than the quality of their outcome. As I write that last sentence, I'm not totally convinced of it's absolution, so pardon me if there are situations where experiences should be judged for their method, because I'm thinking that there are... I guess then I mean in this respect, regarding natural childbirth, experiences should be judged on the merits of their outcome, though I'm still a bit nervous about it.

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Old 11-28-2003, 06:15 PM
 
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YOu know, before my last birth I did think that my pain durring my labors WAS my fault.

My history: first birth was painless. Contractions were annoying, kinda hard near the end, but painless. Pushing felt great! Had the sought after birth-orgasm that is supposed to be so rare. I was in a strict hospital, pushing drug-free, in stirrups and there were 2 female strangers in the room. so.. How can this be that I felt so great and in-control?

second birth: military hospital 8hr labor (1/3 the time of the first one) no interventions, upright birth. excruciating pain. I wasn't certain I was going to die, but I was praying I'd at least loose conciousness. birth attended by countless uninvited "guests", which I never noticed until I turned around, so THEY didn't affect me at all. It was hard, it was unexpectedly hard. Ben scheduled a vasectomy, and cancelled it (both at my insistance)

third: home, unassisted m/c at 14 weeks. 4 hrs, as painful as the previous birth. pouring hemmorage pp. But I felt great and in-control.

Fourth birth. Now by this time I had read everything published on birth. TWICE. I was certain that God never intended pain for women, that UC was the way, that water would help me to move easier. Hey..birth was still QUITE painful!! MOstly because I was so relaxed..it was 3 days on contractions. all the same intensity. so If I was relaxed, alone in water, at home, at night....why did it still hurt? I enjoyed my labor. I relished in it. I shared it with everyone who would listen. But I was judged "not good enough" because it wasn't painless. was it really supposed to be painless? Maybe that is nonsense, and another way to make women feel inferior.

Maybe all hard work, work worth doing was the kind of work that was challenging? Now I'vve changed my opinion on a few things...

Those who don't have pain are simply lucky. I am very happy for them. It's like those that have great jobs in this economy. We do everything they do, have the same and more education and training and personality; but it just isn't meant to be for us. I'm ahppy with my lot, and I do my best with it. I shop with coupons and my babies are hard work!

Don't judge yourself. Prepare for a great birth for your baby. There isn't ONE great way to do it, there are many. (yeah, like sex too ) Do we read stories of other people making love and think we don't measure up? I'd pity anyone who did that.

Personally, I think preparing for a painless birth is setting yourself up for dissapointment. It might happen, it will be a nice surprize if it does happen. But from the beginning of women birthing (from history) it's been RARE. I love to read painless-birth stories. It's hard to find them though, isn't it? I imagine that when it does happen..you'd want to shout it from the rooftops, call the local news right? so why don't we hear of it more?

I don't imagine that all women experience pain because they are tense or in a hospital, or are being told what to do . some women WANT that. If they WANT that, why are they still experiencing discomfort?. If you look around, far more women are happy with hospital directed births, then complain about them. Getting what you expect seems to be what creates happiness with one's experience.

Goodluck. It's not a failure untill YOU decide it is.

Carrie (expecting hard-earned blessing #5 in later April 04)
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Old 11-29-2003, 01:35 AM
 
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Annakiss wrote:"If pain was a malfunction in childbirth, evolution should be, or would have selected against it."

I didn't mean to say that pain *is* a malfunction, but rather that it is the *result* of a malfunction, in other words it is a signal that something is wrong (as it is in every other bodily process.) We have evolved to not feel pain when everything's okay, and to feel pain when something's not okay. There's no evolutionary contradiction there.

And from my personal experience, with some perspective in the way of the intensity of those sensations, I feel like that's how it's supposed to be [painful], not that anyone else has to agree with that.

But you take offense if they don't... ?

And yeah, I also don't like to feel that other people (whose ideas I can't help but to consider and use to evaluate as part of my self-image) think that I malfunctioned when I felt pain. when in fact it was just my experience and what happened, happened and what came out of it, came out of it. I feel like experiences are just that and should not, in an ideal world, be judged for anything other than the quality of their outcome.

You said, "I feel like if you say I malfunctioned then my experience was wrong, or could have been better, it was just my experience and what happened, happened and what came out of it, came out of it." I really cannot have any comment on that, because it's not really the way I approach things. But if that's the way it is for you, that's the way it is for you. I have absolutely no argument. The only thing I can say at this point is that I'm sorry you feel judged, but that it's something in you, not in me. I felt tremendous pain in birth and I don't feel judged by the notion (still conjecture) that pain is unnecessary. (To the contrary, I find it fascinating and potentially valuable to think about.) So how could I possibly judge you on the same basis?
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Old 11-29-2003, 03:15 AM
 
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Carrieanders wrote: "But I was judged "not good enough" because it wasn't painless. was it really supposed to be painless? Maybe that is nonsense, and another way to make women feel inferior."

Well, I know what you're talking about. I had people telling me that I felt pain in labor because I was afraid. And while nobody said to me that I was "not good enough," I don't think I imagined a somewhat self-righteous tone to their words. That is what's nonsense. (I did a lot of rolling of eyes...) Did they say it with the intention of putting me down? Showing how superior they think they are? Maybe. Some people are screwy that way. But that's irrelevant to the issue of whether birth is or isn't inherently painless.

Re: birth experience that isn't what it's supposed to be... (your 1st orgasmic hospital birth, 4th painful UC...) Once in a while I hear about painless birth in the strangest of circumstances. I read about one woman who had an orgasm at birth while in an ambulance speeding to the hospital. All I can do is compare birth to sex again: the fact that people can become sexually aroused in unusual circumstances doesn't mean that those circumstances would be generally conducive to sexual arousal. Likewise, the fact that sometimes painless or pleasurable birth occurs in unusual circumstances doesn't mean those circumstances would be generally conducive to painless or pleasurable birth.

"Those who don't have pain are simply lucky."

How do you know that? Maybe you were lucky. But it hardly follows that nothing more than luck is responsible for every good experience.

"There isn't ONE great way to do it, there are many. (yeah, like sex too ) Do we read stories of other people making love and think we don't measure up? I'd pity anyone who did that."

And sex is sometimes a miserable affair. Painful. It was for me. I didn't look at it as me not measuring up, but I knew something was wrong. (And glad to know, because that prompted me to do something to change it.)

"Personally, I think preparing for a painless birth is setting yourself up for dissapointment. It might happen, it will be a nice surprize if it does happen. But from the beginning of women birthing (from history) it's been RARE."

Written records of birth have mostly been of those that have been attended or unplanned unassisted. More recently we've seen more stories of women birthing planned unassisted, but I think it would still be hard to make a case that these were largely unhindered. I would not assume painless birth to be common in any of those cases. In any case, I agree that expecting painless birth might set one up for disappointment. But I don't believe that making conditions conducive for it can possibly hurt.

"I love to read painless-birth stories. It's hard to find them though, isn't it? I imagine that when it does happen..you'd want to shout it from the rooftops, call the local news right? so why don't we hear of it more?"

Well... when I had a wonderful experience giving birth (partly painless) I felt very uncomfortable talking about it to other women, because just about everyone has had bad experiences, or so-so experiences, or good experiences that were the exact opposite of mine. They really didn't want to hear me rave about my sensual, free, amazing-in-its-intensity birth. So I have been very careful about who I share it with, for the protection of my own feelings. I haven't even shared it that much here, I don't think, though I suppose there's been ample opportunity in the last 1200 posts. How many here know that I've had a painless labor, raise your hands! You know, even when it's mentioned I think it kind of just slips under the radar. It is really not what people are interested in. But shoot, if you'd love to read them... hm, I'm starting to feel inspired to compile a page of them on my website...

"I don't imagine that all women experience pain because they are tense or in a hospital, or are being told what to do. some women WANT that. If they WANT that, why are they still experiencing discomfort?.

Lots of possible reasons. Because they expect it? Because they are afraid? Because they are made to lie on their backs? Because they have no privacy? Because they are induced? Because their flesh is being cut open? Because the back of the baby's head is pressing on their sacrum? Etc.

"If you look around, far more women are happy with hospital directed births, then complain about them."

If you say so...

"Getting what you expect seems to be what creates happiness with one's experience."

Not necessarily. I know plenty of women who expect pain and are not at all happy about getting it.

"It's not a failure untill YOU decide it is."

In total agreement with that one.
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Old 11-30-2003, 04:44 PM
 
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That "fear/tension/pain" thing was first written about by Grantley-Dick Read in Childbirth Without Fear, which I do believe opened the door to discussions of childbirth without painkillers/anesthesia, and to the torrents of alternative methods as Lamaze, Bradley, and other methods of prepared childbirth that educated expectant women to what would happen to their bodies during labor. My own parents used hypnosis with a recording of Emil Franchel with the Read method for their UC homebirths in the 1950's.

The prepared childbirth classes have become simply PR for hospitals to let you know what you can expect when you deliver there. That way your OB does not have to take the time to discuss it with you and the CCE, who may or may not be a mother herself, can answer your questions, and the office and hospital staff can get all of the admission papers signed ahead of time.

Efficiency Plus.

"The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie, deliberate, contrived and dishonest, but the myth, persistent, persuasive and unrealistic."
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Old 12-03-2003, 08:47 PM
 
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blue violet
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Old 12-03-2003, 09:20 PM - Thread Starter
 
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The point that I was trying for seems to have been ignored completely, so I'm abandoning the repeated attempts I've made at clarification. Just know that I have nothing against hypnobirthing.

anna kiss partner to jon radical mama to aleks (8/02) and bastian (5/05)
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Old 12-05-2003, 06:13 AM
 
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Yeah, my dh recently "learned" in one of his classes that "pain is just a perception." Jeez, that irks me! What immediately popped in my head is people dealing with chronic pain, like Jerry Lewis (the telethon guy). I've seen him on tv talking about the amt of pain he is in constantly, and it sounds horrible. I can't believe that what he is experiencing is just his "perception", yk? Saying that makes it seem like it's his fault. Anyway, I believe pain is a real thing and is also something that people have been able to learn how to cope with in "natural" ways. I'm going through the hypnobabies course right now, and I don't necessarily believe or expect my birth to be painless. I don't want to have a high expectiation only to be disappointed and feel like a failure. but I do believe that my mind is being "programmed" somehow to allow my birth to go more smoothly and --hopefully--quickly. But people use hypnosis to undergo major surgery w/ no drugs. I can't understand it....

But hypnosis is not the only thing that promises a painfree birth. There is also a book I've read at the bookstore about how God didn't design birthto be painful, so if you're a good Christian and believe that, then you'll have a painfree birth. So reading that makes me feel like I am a bad Christian and don't have enough faith to have a pain-free birth. I don't think God meant it that way either.

so anyway, like you said, I think people with painfree births are lucky and that's awesome. I also believe (to some extent) that we experience pain b/c we expect it and believe it's part of the process. I wonder if we had all grown up in isolation or with only a wisewoman instructing us with ideas of painfree birth, how would it be??

Anyway, I'm rambling. But I also wonder about this topic. I think there is definitely validity to tension and fear causing more pain. It's a visceous (sp?) cycle. but when you add relaxation, support, and other coping tools to the equation, I think it helps slow the cycle and bring more peace. That's what it's about, right?!
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Old 12-07-2003, 12:33 AM
 
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Anna -- I'm feeling neither eloquent nor motivated, so I'm not writing much of a response here, but I get what you're saying, and I agre with you. Elsa
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Old 12-09-2003, 06:36 PM
 
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Emma Jean wrote: "Yeah, my dh recently "learned" in one of his classes that "pain is just a perception."

Yeah, and the perception is that of pain, which I do not find pleasant or easy!!! So, I have to ask people who think that is such a clever thing to say, what exactly is your point?? That I should be able to perceive each sensation as I wish to? Okaaaay, next time y'all get your arms cut off and are able to somehow translate that into a good feeling, get back to me. :

Pain is pain. I'm sure there are some Indian yogi mystics or self-hypnotists out there who can make one thing feel like another, but I don't have that ability, and I think most people don't either. It is not helpful, for someone without that ability, to say, "pain is just a perception." Whatever. I can call the sky green, and maybe it is to some people. But I am only capable of (without filters) perceiving it as blue. Now, if I saw the sky as being orange, I would think to myself, "gee, there's a lot of pollution in the air, maybe I should try to do something about it." What I wouldn't do would be to declare that "orange is just a perception." :LOL The pollution, after all, would still be there.
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Old 09-30-2006, 06:50 AM
 
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Hi All,
I notice this post is very old, but I found it thrown up by a search engine and read it through before I realised the age of the post.

As others are still reading the post, I hope noone minds me adding my two pennies worth.

I am intrigued that so many women who felt pain during child birth are angry at those who advocate less pain and control in child birth,

The way I see it is this; If you had a painful birth and you coped, and you are left with no major stressful memories of this, then that is absolutely fantastic!

However as a midwife I know that this isn't the case for many women, and these women not only experience pain, but end up being psychologically scarred by the lack of control and pain they felt in child birth.

It is a proven fact that anxiety will increase pain, and this doesn't mean that all you ladies that felt pain were jibbering ignorant ladies who were scared senseless of the birthing process, instead it is often an ingrained 'knowledge' that labour will be very uncomfortable! How many of you were surprised by the discomfort? Not many I'm sure, it lived up to your expectations.

As a clinical hypnotherapist I never tell my clients they will feel no pain, but I have an extremly good sucess rate of helping my clients to reduce the discomfort to a degree where they are back in control.

Labour is messy, smelly and very hard work, but it really doesn't have to be the most painful experience ever, each womans experience is different and if anyone here is happy with their birth, then that is the perfect solution, but don't feel cross at those of us who strive to help those who don't share your experiences.

Childbirth should be a memorable experience for all the right reasons, and when I look at those I have taught and when they have compared their hypnotic labour to their first labour and they can talk about it with good feelings, then that is good enough for me....

Hope noone minds me adding some positive comments to the negative

Anne
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Old 09-30-2006, 11:16 AM
 
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Holy thread resurrection batman!!

Actually, I've never seen this one before, so it was nice to see it for the first time this morning. I read through almost all of it but got sleepy so I'll be back. I wish I'd been around for original discussion

Namaste, Tara
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Old 10-01-2006, 03:59 PM
 
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Originally Posted by fourlittlebirds View Post
Emma Jean wrote: "Yeah, my dh recently "learned" in one of his classes that "pain is just a perception."

Yeah, and the perception is that of pain, which I do not find pleasant or easy!!! So, I have to ask people who think that is such a clever thing to say, what exactly is your point?? That I should be able to perceive each sensation as I wish to? Okaaaay, next time y'all get your arms cut off and are able to somehow translate that into a good feeling, get back to me. :

.
This reminds me of an instructor I had in college. He had been in a farming accident as a child where one of his arms was nearly severed. He said the sensations in his arm immediately & for a short time after the accident were the best thing he'd ever felt. He cannot explain that except to guess that he had a huge rush of endorphins.

but I agree saying pain is just a perception is really rather meaningless...


I had a hard time dealing with the pain of labor with ds1 and I have since felt the impulse to tell my body, "you don't need to scream at me with sensation, just signal me normally & I will respond and give you what you need".

On one hand I have thought, man that level of pain was so unnecessary, but on the other hand I was not listening to it or responding, I was only trying to escape it. So in that one case, for this one person, my response or lack of it, could have had an effect on the level of pain experienced. I'll never know because there's no way to do that moment in time again a different way.

Either way, there's a set of Hypnobabies cd's on my shelf waiting for the next birth.
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Old 10-01-2006, 04:38 PM
 
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Fear/Tension/Pain is originally from the Grantley Dick-Read book Childbirth without Fear, published in 1954...

The pain of childbirth is different from the pain that tells you something is wrong in your body. The brain registers the pain in a different part of the brain, a very primal, basic part; the body also cooperates by making endorphins to help the body along. The pain from natural childbirth is more as pain from work or exercise, rather than from an injury or illness. Usually there is NOTHING wrong with the mother; she simply needs some assistance to do the work her body is performing, much the same way women have done for eons.

Speaking for myself, I suppose.

There was a hypnosis movement at that time also and then the Lamaze movement but most women still went to the hospital for childbirth, much as women do now. The more things change the more things stay the same.
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Old 10-01-2006, 05:13 PM
 
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great thread to bring to the fore again- could almost be a sticky....as this will stay topical
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Old 10-02-2006, 01:16 AM
 
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Something keeps nagging at the back of my mind while reading this thread.
I keep remembering the conditioning I've been as a Westerized woman that really when you come down to it, I am a daughter of Eve and one of my punishments for not having a penis is to have terribly painful birth.

Now, I don't believe that for one minute. But I sure did when I was taught it at, what, age 6? And my family wasn't even all that religious. it's like it was more conventional wisdom-a matter of course.
Now who's to say that kind of brainwashing doesn't permeate our subconscious minds in the deepest recesses?
Thought creates reality-my deep beliefs have the ability to trump all my wishes and hopes. What if deep down inside, many of us are scarred by the brainwashing of our culture? What if that is helping to make the pain more intense than it might have been if left to an innocent mind?

I am doing Hypnobirth for my birth. Noone is telling me that pain is guaranteed to not be there (and for the record, I do understand that OP from years ago was not against hypnosis). What the hypnosis process IS guaranteeing for me is that I will be free of all and any deeply held cultural and personal beliefs that would create a traumatic birth experience.

My psyche is not entirely at my beck and call on a conscious level. I am more than willing to communicate with it at it's level. What this will leave is simply the process as it happens in real time-no past-life or history laden baggage to deal with. That is the magic potion that will allow me to surrender. Then we'll see. Pain can happen-it's no longer colored good or bad, so like AnnesW said, I will be free from psychological trauma.
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Old 10-02-2006, 03:54 AM
 
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I am a daughter of Eve and one of my punishments for not having a penis is to have terribly painful birth.
NO, the curse of Eve was for "eating the apple", not for the lack of a phallus which is the way that God made her, but then this is not the Religion forum, is it?

In all honesty, labor is work, and work can be painful and traumatic, so I always saw it that way. I always figured that the book of Genesis was written by men and interpreted by men for centuries, so what do you think they were going to come up with?
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Old 10-02-2006, 03:20 PM
 
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NO, the curse of Eve was for "eating the apple", not for the lack of a phallus which is the way that God made her, but then this is not the Religion forum, is it?

In all honesty, labor is work, and work can be painful and traumatic, so I always saw it that way. I always figured that the book of Genesis was written by men and interpreted by men for centuries, so what do you think they were going to come up with?
LOL, fair enough. That's what I get for talking tongue in cheek.
My point is simply that we can be more influenced than we realize by our social upbringings.
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Old 10-02-2006, 03:57 PM
 
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Hypnosis is not "tuning out." It's a state of deep muscle relaxation combined with intense concentration. Hypnobirthing moms report that as the birth progresses they literally feel the baby's progress as the contractions open up their cervix and the baby comes down through the birth canal. They look zoned out, but they are in reality intently focusing inward.

Hypnotic suggestions allow you to give your subconcious messages that will affect your body, yes, even the involuntary aspects of one's physiology. Like anything though, it takes a hell of a lot of practice.

A good way to learn about hypnosis and its effect on childbirth would be to skip the feel-good sounding hypnobabies/hypnobirthing promotional materials and read up about clinical hypnosis itself and how it works. I found that studying hypnosis from that angle first helped me to navigate better through the hypnobirthing program. It helps you to mentally cut the sappy sounding stuff out and just focus on the scientific, biological basis for hypnotic trance and how you can apply that to childbirth.

Hypnosis techniques have been used as a replacement for anasthetic, however unfortunately once cholorfoam came on the scene research into this option just dropped. A person who is anasthetized with hypnosis is not zoned out or drugged out, but they have worked with their subconscious on a level that they can release the body's natural endorphins at will, leaving them with no discomfort in normally painful circumstances. This type of hypnosis is much deeper than the traditional hypnobabies/hypnobirthing programs teach, however. (Hypnotherapists are often only able to help 20% of their clients get to this deep of a trance).

I took a hypnobirthing class and my philosophy is this: I can, through deep relaxation and intense concentration decide to relax to the point that I allow my uterus to contract and dilate the cervix without pain. If it happens that way, great, if not, I'm ready to go with the flow, because pain has a purpose. But I'm confident that the discomfort can be greatly lessened through an intensive study of hypnosis and practice towards achieving deep trance. Even the "mainstream" research bears that much out.

Wrote this all out fast, so hope it makes sense...
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