Guest Column10/16/08

Oct. 16, 2008

Awaken your birthing knowledge

By Eron Cardinal

Many women tend to allow society to run their birth experiences. Over the years, society has taught us a woman’s body is in pain during labor, so make it go away. When talking about contractions or labor, most women think of pain. They do not think first of empowerment, strength, beauty and right of passage.

Let us think for a moment, what if society’s message was just the opposite? It would be that of power, strength and knowledge vs. pain and suffering. What if the message tells us not to be afraid of the pain of labor, but to embrace it with power and knowledge? What if it was one of normalcy, a healthy life process?

There are women who, during their pregnancy, make the choice to have an epidural for their labor. They may base this on stories from others. The message being sent here is women are weak, or maybe women can handle the pain of labor, but why bother if we don’t have to? There are also women who would like to have an un-medicated birth, but are unsure of their bodies.

Even if a woman is planning to use pain medication, a positive attitude backed by knowledge can go a long way. Women are not giving themselves enough credit in what their bodies are capable of accomplishing. A woman’s birth experience spills over into her mothering. If women feel strong and powerful while giving birth, they are more likely to feel the same for mothering.

I encourage women (and their partners) to believe in their body’s ability to give birth. It is a woman’s choice if she wants to use pain medication or not. Our society needs to change the view of birth to help women feel stronger about themselves as women and mothers.

A woman’s body is designed to bring forth life, and women know how to birth their babies. It is time to awaken the knowledge that is already there.

Eron Cardinal of St. George, CCCE, is a mother of two childen. Cardinal, of Naturally You Childbirth, is a certified childbirth educator (CAPPA) and doula. She has been teaching childbirth classes in the Chittenden County area for 9.5 years and attending births around the state for 10 years.