Pain, discomfort, suffering…
Many see these words and want to run the other way. Who in their right mind would want to suffer when there are ways to bypass it?
Let’s consider the word “pain”. The English language does not distinguish between varying levels of pain as opposed to other languages that have multiple variations for the sensations we experience (or so I’ve been told by my foreign friends). It’s a valid word for experiences that are traumatic in nature, but I question whether it’s the right word to use for all sensations felt during normal physiological experiences such as pregnancy, birth, and breastfeeding.
After all, the discomforts felt during these processes is much different from breaking an arm or getting a root canal done.
I think that it’s more accurate to recognize that the sensations that women experience during these processes have a purpose and that much learning can happen when women learn to navigate accordingly. The pain that surfaces during these processes is our body’s way of telling us to do something different. That there’s an imbalance present. I believe that suffering happens when we do not respond to the messages our body sends us. Therefore, if we listen and respond we can avoid unnecessary suffering.
It’s been my observation that many in our society tend to run from pain when given the option. Look at how people respond when a woman shares that she will be aiming for a birth free of pain medication. I can speak to that personally as many thought I was crazy for considering such things. The general attitude from conventional thinking is that it’s silly to have a medication free birth since there are ways to numb the pain. Some even choose not to breastfeed for this reason. It’s been these observations that have caused me to call these behaviors into question. Particularly, what the consequences are of choosing to bypass the discomfort that life throws our way.
Ask anyone who has breastfed or given birth without pain medication and I’m sure they will tell you it was hard work. Work that took a lot of faith in oneself, effort, and perseverance. There are walls that need to be scaled, whether it’s opposition from people who do not understand the nursing relationship or the intense surges that come when a laboring woman enters into transition. It’s these experiences that test our limits and push us to find our way to the other side. Then when confronted with these experiences again, we use our history and what we have learned to navigate through the situations better. Usually this results in boosted confidence.
The realization I had after pondering all this is that there is a reason we have been given these natural experiences. The more experience we have with connecting to our discomfort, confronting it, & overcoming it the better prepared we will be to take on future endeavors.
Because let’s face it, parenting (and life) is hard! Given how modern family units operate nowadays many of us don’t get much hands on experience with the demands of being a mother until the task is upon us. It’s been my observation that the challenges we go through during pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding re-connect us to our body and the natural lessons it offers.
When we opt out of life experiences we miss out on the lessons that are learned through these relationships. It’s understandable why this happens since we have more options available to us with all the innovations we’ve made in these areas over the years. Except that there’s a price to pay when things swing out of balance. The more we disconnect our self from what we were made to do the more disconnected we will find our self from the internal wisdom that we have within us. Childbirth and breastfeeding are only the beginning, but still set a pattern for future behaviors and decision making.
What do you think? A stretch, or have you observed the same?