Can labour be fun?
Every morning for the past several weeks, I have been joining the sexy Shaun T and his friends to sweat – and swear – through his grueling DVD workout series, T25. One morning, one of Shaun T’s friends started smiling and laughing – you could tell it was unscripted. The first time I saw this, I asked myself how he could laugh while doing an intense workout. Next time I did that work-out, I sarcastically mimicked him while he smiled. To my surprise, it made me smile more! And do you know what? It totally changed by mood. I laughed, had a surge of energy and felt like I could push myself and continue on for a while more and actually enjoy myself. And I did, at least for a bit!
The benefits of smiling are well-researched. When we genuinely smile, we feel in a good mood. It generally brings about happy thoughts and makes us feel better. And smiling is known to help reduce stress and blood pressure, while increasing hormones such as endorphins, our body’s natural pain killers. Try it. Smile at me right now. I bet you’re feeling happier!
Smiling during birth
Of course, this all reminds me of a birth during which the dad encouraged mom to smile, particularly in the throes of very active labour. She would do so, sometimes halfheartedly and other times ecstatically. After the contraction, he followed up with a kiss. It was very beautiful to watch. OK, I can see your faces now, saying it’s not for everyone, that never in a million years would you have smiled or kissed throughout your labour. Try googling ‘smile through labour’. You’ll see that you’re not the only one!
As a doula, however, my role is to help you through labour and suggest ways that will make you feel strong and capable of birthing your baby. It’s all about filling up your tool box with different ways of coping with the intense feelings you may have during your birth. From position changes to taking a bath, eating, vocalizing, and massage, this list is long. But from now on, thanks to some stranger I watch every morning while exercising, smiling is at the top of my list.
Did you smile during your labour?
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