The Fear of Giving Birth
Why do women have to suffer through periods and the pain of giving birth? If I'm being completely honest, this is exactly what I used to believe - that giving birth was something to dread. I would brainstorm ways of skipping out on that excruciating experience when the time came to have children of my own. Then, as silly as it sounds, all those ignorant thoughts changed when I witnessed a cat give birth.
I was a sophomore in college, when I noticed a fairly thin cat weaving in and out of drunk college kids in my apartment parking lot. She was desperately searching for food and attention, which told me she wasn't feral. Long story short, a quick trip to the vet for a microchip scan left me with the shocking news that this homeless kitty was pregnant! The vet predicted she would give birth in less than two weeks, to two or more kittens.
I anxiously brought mama kitty back home and started researching: "How do cats give birth?". Everything I read suggested that we provide her with a large box with soft blankets and she would handle the rest on her own... But that can't be it! Doesn't she need help delivering her babies? How will she know how many babies to push out? Won't it hurt? What about the mess? I was left with so many questions, but had no choice other than to trust Dr. Google's suggestions.
With each day that passed, mama kitty had absolutely no interest in the Costco box we gave her - until the day she gave birth. It was about 10 days after visiting the vet that we found her in the box, admiring her first born kitten! I was so confused how we didn't wake up to her painful cries. But little did I know, it was because she never cried. She purred. She purred and kneaded the blanket in front of her as she ever so confidently birthed her second kitten in front of us. I was amazed!
Mama kitty now had two kittens; she welcomed and cleaned the second baby as the first found its way to nurse. Within fifteen minutes, she was pushing out her third as she nuzzled the second kitten to nurse along with the first. This seamless process happened once again with her fourth and final kitten.
I'm sharing this story because it was in this moment I witnessed a mother give birth three times, and it was the furthest thing from what I had previously envisioned birth to be. Not once was it a scary experience. It was simply peaceful and empowering. What had I feared all this time? It was very clear this kitty followed her instincts and allowed her body to do the rest.
"Birth isn't something we suffer, but something we actively do and exalt in" - Sheila Kitzinger
After supporting births as a doula for the past two years, I could not love this quote more! I can guarantee the more you learn about birth, the more confidence you'll gain in the natural process - and this is the exact reason I'm no longer scared of childbirth anymore. In fact, I hope I'm lucky enough to experience it for myself one day!