Shawn was born after 15 hours of slow and intensely painful labor. That experience was both terrifying yet thrilling. At one point while I was nearing transition, I was crying and I looked up at my mother and said, “Mom, I can’t do this. I am going to die. I am going to die.” She looked right back at me and said, “You know what, Rebecca? You ARE going to die. The carefree maiden you have been all your life is dying. You are giving birth to yourself, as a mother. It is the hardest thing you have ever had to do. And you CAN do it, because look at you – you ARE doing it!”
My mother always viewed birth as a rite of passage, a spiritual transition, an initiation into a new realm. She firmly believed that a woman must put her blood, sweat, and tears on the line for the child she was birthing – that it was an opportunity to demonstrate that she had the strength to be a mother....
This was not a time to avoid pain, because motherhood is painful at times. This is not a time to seek comfort, because motherhood is not comfortable. This is not a time to shrink back, because motherhood requires that a woman reach deep inside her soul and show what she really stands for. It is in birth, my mother taught me, that a woman must stand up, show her trust in herself, and her trust in God, and be consciously involved in a deliberate act of creation by giving your heart, might, mind, and strength to what is before you.