I was reading a novel the other night, and the narrator was going through labor and in the transition phase...I have no personal experience of this and must admit that I am not sorry, given the particularly graphic description.
On a site called Birthing Naturally, I find these sentences used to describe the feelings of a laboring woman in transition:
The major emotional marker for this stage is giving up....Another physical sign is the inability to relax or be comfortable. At this point, it is the job of (the mother's) coach or labor partner to assist her into various positions in an attempt to find the one that will keep her most comfortable.
Transition is the time when the mother is the most emotionally needy as well. The "giving up" or feeling out of control may be recognized by comments the mother makes. It is not uncommon for a mother to say, "I can't do this," or "I need something." Recognize that this is not the mother asking for medication,* but for help. She can no longer handle the labor the way she has been, and she needs to do something different.
This resounds for me. I am being born into something different in my life, and I am not sure what it is...or what I will be when it's over. I wasn't expecting it when it came. I don't know why it happened when it did. And I have not enjoyed it.
There have been friends, coaches if you will, who have listened to me explode and weep and rage, who have suggested reading and helped me to get into different positions, from which I can progress until this stage is over. They are walking the road with me. They are not letting me give up. Thank God, thank Goddess.
So what is it? Without going into a lot of detail, I'll say that some things I had never before questioned about my faith, I am questioning. Why I had to get to be 43 years old to do this, I have no idea.
I find that I am not willing to accept some things any longer. And some things that used to trouble me, do not. It's as if I'm shedding a skin.
I am offloading tremendous amounts of anger, most of which is likely not related to this topic at all. But I am a classic anger represser from way back and this seems to be a deep fissure through which some of this is finally able to escape.
It reminds me, in fact, of the two deathbeds I have been at, those of my Bigdaddy and my Aunt Etta Jane. In both cases, I felt privileged to be there and was powerfully impressed by what hard work it was for them to die. It was, in fact, like labor, like being born into something else. Like shedding a skin.
Preparation for Lent actually brought this up...and it is being the most profound Lent of my life so far, though entirely different from any I have ever spent. I have not done the things I normally do. I have not kept a Lenten discipline of specific devotion or reading or sacrifice, gone to Lenten services, etc.
I wonder what comes next.
* Of course, this site is advocating natural childbirth. I do believe that many women are, in fact, asking for medication at this stage, and I am all in favor of giving it to them...!