Grit. The definition of grit is: courage and resolve; strength of character. I like how this word sounds. I like how I relate it to a laboring woman. It reminds me of the moans and grunts, the sweat, the surrendering to the process of labor.
Birthing women have grit. I see it in every woman birthing their child, no matter how she has chosen to give birth or how the scenario plays out. The birthing woman who withdraws inside herself to a serene and calm space to breathe her baby out. The birthing woman who roars, sweats, cusses, grunts and does whatever necessary to push her baby out. The birthing woman who opts for some pain relief when she is at her limit. The birthing woman who puts her baby first when a medical procedure becomes necessary. The birthing woman who advocates for herself and makes empowered decisions. The birthing woman who is wheeled to the operating room so she can welcome her baby into the world in a way most of us would not choose if it were not necessary.
The most magical moment to me during a birth is after a woman looks at me with “the look”. The look that says I cannot do this, this hurts, I’m tired and vulnerable, please help me. And I look at her and nod and say, “Yes you can do this. You are doing this. We’re just here to help you feel safe and supported but you are the one having this baby. We believe in you.” Our eyes lock and I see emotions cross her face, ones of fear and frustration or exhaustion and vulnerability and then she digs deep. The only way I can describe it is as if I see her pull up a line of power she didn’t know was there before. That deep well of courage and resolve. In that moment I see a woman birthing herself into a different plane of being. Perhaps the baby is not ready to arrive yet but the mother woman is and it is a moment that will shape her and society forever.
We must keep the recent trend going of empowering women and letting them tap into their power source and grit. We have to keep supporting them and celebrating their informed decisions. It’s time to say no more will we accept frightening women and breaking their resolve and strength of character. It is too important to each woman, baby, family, and ultimately society. We can do this; I believe in our grit.
All Rights Reserved, 2014, Kimberly Sebeck, Knoxville Doula