The initial signs of labor — you already know them by now, if you’re a non-first-time mom like me. You know what to do and what to expect so you stay calm and maybe even continue going about the usual events of your day.
Then labor progresses and you feel that it might be a good idea to get to the hospital or clinic or birthing center or wherever it is you’ve decided to give birth. For those who choose home birth, you don’t even have to leave your home.
You let the process of labor continue naturally and try to remember to take deep breaths. You focus on the beauty of childbirth, the miracle that is taking place right this very minute inside your body.
You think of the life that you’re bringing into the world — a whole new being, separate from you yet very much a part of you. This baby — your baby — will be a part of your heart and mind for a very long time, until you are called to leave this world for good.
It may be a cliché but it is oh so true: being pregnant, giving birth, becoming a mother… all of it changes you. When you are finally able to push your baby out (or he or she is taken out of you if you deliver via caesarean section), you marvel at how this tiny, wailing little person can bring about different emotions in you all at the same time.
The strongest response of all?
An overflowing gush of love for your baby. Most likely every mother has felt it, whether she’s given birth for the first time or the fifth time. This is my child, my precious child, and oh how I love her! I would do anything for her!
And that’s the beauty of childbirth, my friends. It allows us to see beyond ourselves. It reminds us of the importance of living for others, especially the child who has been “given” to us for a special purpose.
As a mother of three, I can testify to how the birth of each of my children, and the events afterwards, profoundly changed me. Each birth, each child, each situation is unique and I know I am blessed and have learned a lot from all my experiences combined.
My children were born in different countries — two were born in the national hospital of Timor Leste (East Timor) and one was born here in the Philippines. They each have memorable birth stories. I rejoice because despite the challenges my husband and I faced after each of our kids were born, all three of them are healthy and happy now.
Sadly, this isn’t the case for many mothers all over the world. Thousands of moms have lost their children to infection and disease. In their case, childbirth did change them but not in the way they imagined it to.
But what if you and I could help make childbirth a more positive and safe experience for mothers? What if we could help women see the beauty of it all, so that they could really say “Childbirth has changed me for the better”?
Well, you know what? We can certainly do so through organizations like Cleanbirth.org, which aims to help provide clean birth kits, and train nurses and volunteers about maternal health. We can also just “be there” for a fellow mom who needs extra support pre, during and post childbirth (especially post childbirth!). We can do simple things like ask how she’s doing, or offer to watch the baby so she can take that shower she’s been longing to have, or maybe even just say, “Hey, I’m praying for you. You and your baby are in my thoughts.”
We can do all of these because, at the end of the day, I believe that of all the changes childbirth can bring about in your life, this one could be the most profound:
Once you become a mother — whether or not your child lives or dies — you’ll forever be connected to other mothers.
And that, to me, is a beautiful thing indeed.
To support safer births for the mothers of Laos in Asia, you can donate to Cleanbirth.org, share this post, and/or join in the Twitter conversation on maternal health tomorrow, February 6th with World Moms Blog, Multicultural Kid Blogs and Girls Globe from 1-2pm EST.
This is an original post by Tina Santiago-Rodriquez of the Philippines of “Truly Rich Mom”.
Photo credit to Cleanbirth.org.