ISRAEL — Like veterans of war, women will exchange stories of stitches, scars, pain, and heroism. The way men recount their wartime experiences, exchanging tales of bravery and perhaps near fatal operations, is the way women will tell their birthing stories. I would like to share mine.
A gush of water was when I knew the journey was beginning. A journey into the unknown. Yet, like thousands of women since the beginning of time, I made the decision to let nature take its course.
The contractions came every few minutes, and I labored on my hands and knees breathing through the pain. Each wave of agony brought my daughter closer and closer to my ever-waiting arms. Stronger and stronger, I moaned thinking this will never end…
The nurse checked me and gave me the disappointing news that despite my pain I was only dilated 3 cm. Tears of despair streamed down my face and I was ready to give up, but somehow consciously — perhaps subconsciously — I knew there was no giving up.
I stood swaying through the tremors that shook the core of my very being. Suddenly, I felt her coming. The nurses and midwife quickly rushed me onto the bed. This was the moment of no turning back; with a rush of adrenaline I pushed with every breath to get my baby out into the world.
I have been through hell and survived. I have experienced a force so great it cannot be described. I could not fight it, I could only ride the waves of pain as they rushed through my body. I yelled out, animalistic noises escaping my mouth, as I surrendered and let the pain rip through my tired body.
And suddenly all was quiet.
In the distance, a tiny cry was heard. I lay there in my own blood, sweat, and tears as I was handed the new life that I fought to bring into the world. Trembling I held this beautiful, tiny helpless form as feelings of strength and euphoria flooded through my veins. I had done it, I had won the battle. Every moment of agony was worth it. My “Medal of Valor” is the highest that one can receive; it is to hold my baby girl and gaze awestruck at the miracle of life.
In time the pain will fade and the scars and stretch marks will soften. But no matter what, my own sense of strength and endurance will forever remain as a reminder to myself that I am stronger than I ever would have imagined.
And like veterans of war, women will exchange stories of stitches, scars, pain, and heroism. Giving birth creates a natural bond between all women. No matter their color, age, or race. No matter what life experiences or education we have, we are like comrades in arms. Wherever you are, you can sit down with another woman and exchange your “battlefield experiences”. Yet this battle was not one where death and destruction were brought into the world, rather it was life!
This was my third time giving birth. My second time going through labor without any pain killers. Whilst lying in my hospital bed, unable to sleep, reliving those moments of labor, I was struck by a thought. The incredible pain and force our bodies can withstand is a testimony to a woman’s strength and bravery! This is what inspired me to write this piece. I hope you, dear reader, were not traumatized by my descriptions because I would do it all over again!