A woman in third world countries has very little choice in deciding the kind of life she wants to live. After getting married early she is pressured by society and peers to start trying for a baby whether she is ready for the task or not. Half-heartedly she fulfills the demands of society and seeks to get a baby as soon as she can. She feels insecure and concerned whether she is even fertile and as time passes and she has no good news for people, her concerns are increased. She is taken to a hospital and has her hormones checked for possible imbalances so that she can have a baby with medical help….and finally after a lot of stress and prayers, that day dawns for her when she gets the good news of her pregnancy.
But what happens after that is a rollercoaster ride of confusion anxiety and all sorts of yucky emotions. There are horror stories of labor and delivery all around her. People give her free tips about mothering which are not even relevant to her. However, she likes or not people try to help her even when she is not seeking that help.
By the time, she reaches her due date. She is either deadly afraid of labor and delivery or she has completely ignored the fact that she is to become a mother very soon and that the transition is going to be an intense one. She should be mentally prepared for her transition into motherhood. Both types of moms whether the overly anxious one or the ignorant one are not prepared for giving birth in my opinion. Now one may raise the question that if labor and childbirth is a natural process then whether someone is prepared for it mentally or not, it must make no difference. After all, there are doctors and nurses, and extended family at help all the time. Correct? No absolutely no.
This makes a huge difference between heaven and earth if a mother to be, is prepared to give birth and if she is not prepared. In most cases, the kind of experience a woman has at the time of birth. How she dealt with labor whether she was completely helpless in front of labor surges or rather more in control will be the determining factor in how she deals with the heavy task of motherhood in her child’s early childhood. And not only that it will determine how she looks at herself for the rest of her life. Whether she is weak-willed, miserable and a victim in life. She will be reinforced in her psyche or that she is strong-willed brave capable of dealing with anything that life throws her way will be reinforced in her subconscious mind. Thus making her more self-confident and better capable of making the right decisions in life for the rest of her life.
In my opinion, the common woman of third world countries is continuously victimized by mental health disorder because she has not figured out how to be in her center during childbirth. She is continuously seeking outside support and validation in tough times. She is never present to herself. She thinks that if she is giving her 100 percent to others, they will be there for her in the times she needs them. And although people may help this, pampering does not help her very much in the face of intense labor pain. And as in the aftermath, we have an incapable weak-willed confused anxious mother who is incapable of making the right choices for herself and her baby. A woman who is continuously blaming others for her miseries in life, while if she would have developed a strong will and empowered her soul no tyrant on earth could have abused her for long.
As for me, I have gone through both experiences. And I have personally experienced what it means to be in one’s center in hard labor moments and what it’s like to look towards others during labor pangs. As for me, there was no family member allowed in the labor room for long in both instances but I have some idea that it doesn’t make much of a difference if the attendant is a loved one or a caring nurse. If a laboring mother is present for herself at the peak of her pain and is fully in control of her reactions. This memory will remain in her mind forever and it will feel like a trophy given to her by nature and God himself. She will feel as if she has conquered the world and she will stop looking for external validation anymore. What so commonly happens in marital relation conflicts? Is it not that the wife constantly feels invalidated by the husband? How about a wife who is comfortable in her own skin and doesn’t need constant approval? Wouldn’t it be good for everyone in the family? And more for the mother who has such a heavy-duty to perform of raising her child?
Now, this doesn’t mean that she becomes self-centered and mean to everyone else in the world. It is only to achieve a healthy balance of self-care and caring for others so a woman doesn’t hold over expectations from other people and thus doesn’t feel she is constantly victimized by others and people don’t care for her. This is the philosophy of living and letting others live. And being the cause of one’s own happiness in life and being self-sufficient in every aspect. Can a weak woman be self-sufficient? Yes, of course, why not?
Because I had completely ignored the fact that I will have to cope with labor pain as a psychological coping technique to keep my sanity first time around my pregnancy with a first child I was out of my center during labor and it was really traumatic and it caused me to dip down in postpartum depression for at least 1 year after childbirth. This happened even though I had a loving family to help me all the time. The real problem was not lacking others’ help but the real problem was mine over co-dependency on others. The next time around with the second baby I had so much going on with no support from anyone. It just was fated that regardless of their desire to be there for me. I got separated far away from them and with tears, they could only pray and hope for all the best for me.
I am so grateful that fate removed those external helpers at that time for me to be prepared for what was to come this time. And I saw the difference in my experience and deeply understood where I was mistaken in life as a whole. I realized my mistake of overdependence on others. Oh, how wonderful the whole labor experience was! How I remained in control all the time during all the pain so much so that the nurse around me asked how I was so calm! All praise to God. I have found my superpower at that time. Since then, I never feel depressed or invalidated any more in life. Praise to God. And how much I want other women to discover this secret of true empowerment. For me, it came with the pain and trauma of labor. But it really is not limited just to labor and delivery. Anyone can develop this superpower in the face of difficulties and hardships in life.
By Sara Siddiqui