I am having my first baby next month. In the natural birth classes, we have discussed the labor process. A major question for many mothers is: When do I know I’m really in labor? When do I know this the day I’ll see my baby? When can I stop waiting and become actively involved in the birth process? When it is appropriate to push? These questions reminds me of the story about my mother’s horse, Blaze.
Blaze was an amazing horse. He was a race horse past his prime, sold to my grandparents to live out his retirement years on the farm. My mother was not yet a teenager when Blaze arrived on their New England dairy farm. Blaze understood children. He stood very still when my mother’s brothers and sister scurried around his tall legs and whooshing tail. His big eyes followed them around the barn with experienced patience.
When my mother learned to ride, she was given the opportunity to explore hundreds of acres of wild highlands. One time while riding Blaze, my mother found herself lost in an open field that resembled all the rest. She became disoriented and lost her sense of direction. After plowing from field to field in search of familiar landmarks, she gave up. Only then did she remember she wasn’t alone. She let go of the reins, hugged Blaze around the neck, and let him take her home. I can only image Blaze’s relief when he was allowed to do his job without interference from the rider. My mother needed only remember that she was never alone and never lost.
When the maternal questions seem overwhelming, I think about dropping the reins and being still. I do not feel alone in this natural birth process. I’m not alone. Don’t worry, I’m not comparing Baby to Blaze. I’m known for being politically inappropriate, but that wasn’t my point. I simply mean that the process is natural. It’s beautiful. It may be new to me, but it’s not a new process. I can let go of the reins and I can safely come home.