Birth Encouragement: You Are Not a Lemon!

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Today I offer a simple quote of encouragement for all you pregnant women out there and even for those who aren’t. It comes from the very wise and prominent midwife, Ina May Gaskin:

 Birth Encouragement: You Are Not a Lemon

“Your body is not a lemon.” In a society where we often hear that our bodies are broken or ugly or need improvement, remember these words. In a country that has over a 30% c-section rate (the World Health Organization recommends the rate be under 15%), this can be a fact that women don’t hear often enough, if at all. But I believe Psalm 139:14 when it says “I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” And, I want you to believe it as well.

The truth is our bodies are pretty awesome. I mean they can grow little humans. And, sometimes they grow more than one little human at a time. And your uterus that protects those little humans starts out the size of a pear, but it expands about 500 times from its original size over the 40-ish weeks of gestation. Then within a month after birth, it returns to its pre-pregnancy size. Our bodies can nourish those little humans, while they are still inside and even afterwards through breast milk. In fact, our bodies are so awesome that the breast milk we create changes over time to meet the nutritional needs as our babies grow and change. We don’t have to take any special pills or drink any magic potions to make this possible; it just intrinsically and instinctively happens.

Now, I understand that there is a time and a place for certain birth interventions. I know that c-sections can and do save lives. And, I’m not saying that natural birth is the only way to go. But, I do know that many women fear birth. They fear what will happen to their bodies. They question whether or not they are capable of doing it. Take for instance what Nicole Klemp said in her birth story, “Before I was even pregnant, the thought of giving birth was terrifying. I was certain there was no way something the size of a watermelon was going to come out of me without ending in my untimely death.”

She is certainly not the only woman to feel this way and, sadly, oftentimes our society and even doctors don’t tell women otherwise. Instead, they perpetuate the dialog that discourages women from realizing just how awesome their bodies actually are. But, what Nicole discovered was that she was capable and that birth wasn’t as frightening as she had anticipated. In fact, she titled her story “That Wasn’t So Bad.”

So, if you are pregnant, ignore those negative voices, whether they are internal or external. Instead, do your research. Get the facts. Learn about birth. Find a midwife or physician who practices evidence-based care, not convenient care. As my midwife has often said:

“My job is to make sure [your birth is] safe and your job is to make sure it’s what you want.” ~ Kristin Vincent, midwife

And, even beyond birth, remember that your body is not a lemon. You are not a lemon. You are more capable than you realize. Pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding and motherhood can be downright tough and exhausting both physically and mentally. But hear these words: YOU CAN DO IT. You were wonderfully made and designed to do it. You are not broken. The truth is you’ve been given a pretty awesome body that has been designed to do some really incredible things. Believe in it. Believe in yourself. And, know that you are not a lemon.

If you are pregnant and want to learn more about pregnancy and birth, take a look at my top five book recommendations. And, especially pick up a copy of Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth. It’s packed full of important and helpful info for every pregnant woman.

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