I know, I know. The title of this post sounds somewhat ridiculous. Trust your body, yeah yeah. When I read that phrase during my pregnancy, I remember thinking “um, yeah, and what about all those women who used to die in childbirth because their body could not actually deliver, or because the baby had a problem – what about them? Trusting your body only gets you so far in those situations.” Which is true. Modern medicine is an amazing thing. And often very necessary in childbirth.
But that is not actually what “trust your body” means. Neither does “trust your body” mean “mentally check out of your pregnancy because your body will do it all for you.”
It simply means that you CAN do this. And do it well. No matter how much you hurt before or during labor, you CAN do it. You may not be able to do it by yourself, but that is not the point. The point is that your body can nourish this baby, can grow the baby, can protect the baby. That is an amazing thing.
More than anything, “trust your body” is a euphemism for “don’t be afraid.” There is no need to be afraid of labor, of pain, or even of delivery and recovery. Those things are part of life, part of womanhood. They may not be convenient or comfortable, but it is okay to step back for a few weeks and relax into the demands of nature, of creating life and giving life. Let the chores go. Let the work sit. You are creating another person. It is no ordinary thing.
The greatest mistake I made in my labor was that I started to fear it about halfway through it. I had trusted my body throughout the pregnancy, had stayed calm and focused on it. But fourteen hours into the labor, I fell out of my comfort zone, and started to fear what was coming instead of trusting that my body and my choices for assistance and support – my husband, the hospital, the doctor – would make sure things turned out all right. The fear made me tense, it made my muscles tighten, it made my body hold instead of release, all of which made the labor much, much harder, because then my body was fighting itself.
So remember not to fear. This is a time to dig down deep and enjoy the power and privilege that comes with creating another person. Trust yourself. You will be grateful that you did.