A Painless Birth
I was expecting my second baby. I was determined that this birth would be a better experience than the birth of my first child which had been difficult and long. I have to say that I was unprepared for the first birth. I had not done the mental preparation that is required. I thought that just because I was a Christian Scientist that the birth would be easy.
So as I said, I was expecting my second child. I decided to take a much more focused approach. I contacted a Christian Science practitioner that I has worked with many times. As we talked, I told him my fears and concerns about the previous birth. He suggested that a deep sense of calm handles pain. So I decided to spend the next several months understanding calm. I began by making a list of qualities of calm. What did the concept of “calm” really mean? Did I have to wait for some sort of emergency to be calm? If not, how could I bring a greater sense of Calm into my life even before the birth?
In the beginning of my study on Calm, I thought there was a lot about calm that I did not admire. I thought being calm was doing nothing. I was a go-getter. I admired energy and vivaciousness. I thought calm people were boring. I began to get a whole new view of calm that included peace, harmony, and tranquility as I began my research into what “calm” really included. I began to appreciate a quiet sense of calm in others. A calm Reserve was a good quality that allowed one to think before speaking and to be considerate of others by putting others needs before their own. I began to start appreciating the qualities of peaceful calm. I tried to put calmness into practice in my life. For example, I would sit on my bed after a long day at work and practice stilling my thought and enjoying the quiet. I had never been able to do this before.
During the first pregnancy, I chose not to take special classes to prepare for the birth that the midwife offered. I was afraid that the classes would just be a lot of talk about the medical aspects of birth. This time, I decided to take all the classes and to translate the material circumstances into spiritual ideas. Instead of being worried about what to eat and what not to eat, I studied Hymn 20 in the Christian Science Hymnal that has this line; “Fed by thy love divine we live for Love alone is Life.” During the class on breathing, I thought of Hymn 49 “Breath through the pulse of desire (prayer) Thy coolness and thy balm. Let sense be dumb, let flesh retire, speak through the earthquake wind and fire (pain), O still small voice of calm.” When we had a class that discussed special exercises, I prayed to see that I already expressed flexibility, openness and inspiration – Qualities of God that are mine because I reflect him.
There were a few other fears that I had to face too. First, the fear of emergency. I lived 45 minutes away from the midwife. What if I went into labor during rush hour and I couldn’t get to the midwife on time? Would we have to deliver the baby ourselves? What if something terrible went wrong and I couldn’t get to her clinic? I conquered these fears with the fact of my oneness with God. God is ever-present, all knowing, all seeing, all acting, and all wise. How could I be in better hands than those of God? I was his expression I could never be too far from God. I calmed down and stopped worrying about an emergency.
I was afraid of Pain. During the first birth, I was in labor for 2 days. I ended up in the hospital. I had felt chaotic and out of control. I had been absorbed into the mental picture of pain. To overcome these fears, I reminded myself of those qualities of peace I had begun to cherish. A favorite Bible verse helped me through this fear. It goes “Fear not little flock it is God’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” His kingdom is harmony, peace, fearless, and painless calm. Pain is Hypnotism of mortal mind. There is no mortal mind since God is the only Mind. That Mind, God, knows only Good. Recognizing this freed me from the hypnotic sense that pain was inevitable.
As I handled some of the more superficial fears, others began to emerge. I realized I had to admit that I had to handle the fear of failure. I felt I had failed in my practice of Christian Science during the first birth because I went to the hospital instead of being able to rely on prayer alone. I threw in the towel and took the drugs and the epidural instead of praying. Would I fail again? This line from a favorite article in Prose Works written by Mary Baker Eddy tenderly lifted me out of that fear: “Divine Love is an ever-present help and if you wait, never doubting, you will have all you need every moment…. More we cannot ask: more we do not want: more we cannot have. This sweet assurance is the ‘Peace, be still’ to all human fears, to suffering of every sort.” What is that sweet assurance of peace that handles suffering i.e. pain? Omnipresent Love.
The last fear I had to handle was not my own fear but the fear of the midwife. My husband recognized this. He told me that even though the midwife was wonderful and supportive she still believed this was a human process – natural but also painful. I thought “No, she is completely supportive of my beliefs and prayers.” My husband reminded me that yes, that was true, but I still had to handle the mortal concept that though this was a natural process it was a material and painful experience that she held in thought. I saw that he was right. I handled the last fear with this Truth by Eddy “The foundation of mortal discord is a false sense of man’s origin. To begin rightly is to end rightly. Every concept which seems to begin with the brain begins falsely, Divine Mind is the only cause or Principle of existence. Cause does not exist in matter, in mortal mind or in physical forms.” I followed that idea with this one “A logical and scientific conclusion s reached only through the knowledge that there are not two bases of being, matter and mind but one alone, — MIND.”
During every checkup leading up to the birth the baby was in a “Posterior” position. This meant he was facing the wrong way. This type of positioning was known by the midwife to be especially painful to the mother causing a lot of back pain. I had prayed continually about this issue. I finally thought, I have done the prayer I am not going to worry about that problem anymore. I am simply going to let God handle it. I was inspired by “Mind is the source of all movement, and there is no inertia to retard or check its perpetual and harmonious action.” I looked up these words inertia – tendency to remain in a fixed position, unchanged, disinclination to move or act. Retard – delay, slow the advance or progress. Check – to hold back. I decided I would just yield, surrender all to the Divine Mind, the source of all movement. He would handle the rest.
The day came for the baby to be born. At 10 am my water broke. I had arranged for the midwife to come to my home for a home birth. I would not worry at all about getting to her or her getting to me. I had control of the complete environment in my home. I asked everyone to be quiet – a quality of calm. I had my husband read to me a list that included the previous quotes to keep my thought focused on these truths. The first contraction my stomach looked like an alien invasion was taking place, the baby had completely flipped and was now in the correct position for birth. In just 4 short hours my son was born. After that first contraction flip, I felt absolutely no pain.
When he arrived I thought; “that was so much fun. I want to do it again!” God is so good. I wanted to stand on a chair and shout it to the world. But instead, I will share it with the world by sharing my experience with you.
Karen Christian McMullen