Alright ladies, when you experienced your first strong contraction during labor, was it exactly the way someone described it to you? My guess is probably not. You can’t really explain a contraction. You’ve just got to experience it.

I remember when contractions started getting intense with my second birth, I remembered vividly feeling that same feeling with my first baby. As a contraction began, I would brace myself, hold my breath & relax when I got through it feeling triumphant that I got through another one. Well, this didn’t last too long til I was asking how soon the epidural doc could get there.

When it came time for baby #3, I was determined to have an unmedicated birth. I signed up for a hypnobirthing class & made my husband come with me, so we could do this together. In that class, I learned a very different technique for dealing with contractions, or ‘birth waves’ as they called them. To start with, the instructor explained the muscle layers of the uterus & what each layer was doing during a contraction & how that helped open the cervix. When a contraction started, I was to take a deep breath (giving those muscles the proper oxygen they needed to work so hard) & just relax my whole body. Then I was to continue taking deep, slow breathes throughout the contraction. As it finished, I would do one final cleansing breath.

In comparing the 2 very different ways I dealt with those contractions, here’s what I found:

with the grin & bear it method, I fought against the very work the contraction was trying to do, created more pain for myself, and actually slowed down my birthing process. With the other method, I understood what was happening with my body & how to work with it, I gave my body lots of oxygen to work with, and got out of the way, so my body could do what it was designed to do. When I would experience an intense contraction, there was some actual excitement believing that the contraction had made some headway in opening my cervix.

In life, we experience ‘contractions’ if you will. They have a purpose which usually has to do with our personal growth. We can fight against them & suffer through it. That’s an option. The other option is to take a deep breath as it starts, and then lean into it, being willing to let it do its work and learn & experience what you need to. I feel like leaning into them helps them pass a whole lot faster. Life’s contractions are going to happen. What’s your game plan for the next one?

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