The Shift to Empowered

This is a re-post from my previous blog. It brought a smile to my face today as I remind myself why I love what I do…. Enjoy!

The other day while working, I had a patient ask me a question that really made me pause.  The question itself was not really profound, and yet as I thought about my answer I realized no one had ever asked me for that information in quite that way.

I was preparing her room for her delivery and we were having a casual conversation when she asked what was to her I’m sure, a simple question.  “What part of helping a baby be born do you like BEST?”

I absolutely love what I do, and anyone who knows me knows that.  I can talk all day about labor, and birth, and deliveries, the beauty of it all. YES I love it and I have had conversations about what I love time and again with many patients, coworkers, family and friends.  I have been told “I can see you really love your job,” And this will start a conversation of all of the things I do indeed love about being a midwife, a labor nurse, a doula for some. I have been asked very generally “What do you like about your job?” and again the answer to this is wide and varied.

What she asked me though was different. She asked me what I liked BEST.  I had never been asked this before and quite honestly had never really thought about it. What do I like BEST.  After a bit of a thoughtful pause I was able to put into words what it is that I like best.

I smiled and said… It starts at the point when a woman makes her “shift.” (That’s what I call it.) As she makes that shift all of a sudden she looks at me, her partner, her doula, her mother and she says something along the lines of “I can’t do this….it’s too much.” This is where the BEST part STARTS!

She does not always say it with her voice, sometimes it’s with her face or her actions.  “The Shift” happens at different points for different women but it always happens.  I am not talking about “transition” here. Transition is something else altogether. Now for some women, “the Shift” and transition happen simultaneously and for other women “The Shift” doesn’t happen until they are well into the pushing phase of labor.  I have seen “The Shift” happen with women who are unmedicated and with women who have an epidural.  Even without a word I can tell she has made that shift and then shortly thereafter usually within 30-60 minutes she delivers her baby.

Immediately after “The Shift” she gets a surge of energy from somewhere and then WOW! The miracle of birth and life happens.  And as she delivers her baby, she realizes that YES not only could she do it… she just DID it and the pride, the energy, the happiness, the beauty of it all. OMG!!! If we could put it in a bottle we could send love and stop war around the globe.

That is the BEST part to me.

Watching a women feel her power, harness her energy, and be empowered by the birth of her baby. I never get tired of seeing it. I never stop loving it. Each and every time it happens and I am blessed to be a part of it I feel blessed that I had the calling of midwifery and birth on my spirit.

To use this young woman as an example:  At the age of 19 she had a looooong history of social abuses and life’s horror stories; more than I have had or could even imagine at twice her age.  Her experiences had created a personality that was doubtful, fearful, and meek.  She apologized for having a contraction and apologized for having to use the restroom, and apologized for wanting water… If I had questioned it she probably would have apologized for breathing. Yep… she had a social history that had worn her down.  I did what I could to assure her that she was in the perfect space, doing the perfect thing and that she was all RIGHT in everything that she asked and needed of me. I mean she was in labor for goodness sakes! I was there to help HER!

Then the time came and I watched this young woman make her “Shift” and I smiled to myself.  She was a ROCK STAR!!!

She moved, she danced, she swayed her hips.  She asked for an intrathecal (a form of anesthesia to help relieve labor pain) and as she asked…  her bag of waters broke and she knew instinctively it was time to deliver her baby. Her doctor had already been notified that she was near delivery and he was in route.  He arrived only moments after her water broke and she began to push.  She pushed (open glottis pushing with no need for coaching) and she delivered her first baby after only 30 minutes of pushing!

She never got that intrathecal and after she delivered her baby she looked at her mother and said… “I am so proud of myself, I didn’t think I could do it! Especially without any medicine.”

She had a soft satisfied smile on her face.  She held her baby close and repeated over and over…… “I am so proud of myself, I am so proud of myself, I am so proud of myself!”

It was beautiful to watch. It was beautiful to be a part of and I pray that more women can have an empowering birth experience the way this young woman did. THAT I have to say is the BEST part. Witnessing the transformation of a woman empowered!

Have you witnessed “the Shift” in women that you have worked with?
Do you remember feeling a sense of powered during or after your birth?
If not, what could have given you more of a sense of empowerment? Do Share…

In Birth and Love
Nicole ~ Follow me on twitter @SistaMidwife


5 responses to “The Shift to Empowered

  1. Oh Nicole!

    This is such a beautiful and moving post. Thank you for sharing your love and passion!

  2. I experienced “The Shift” and it changed me to my core. It empowered me beyond anything I could have imagined. I thought labor would be something I to suffer through. Because of my wonderful experience (one hospital birth one homebirth) I am now a doula, childbirth and breastfeeding educator and leader of a non-profit to increase the number of positive births in my local area. I have to agree that “The Shift” I see in women is my favorite part. I hope more and more women are able to have this boost at such a needed time. Thank you!

  3. Well, the story of that young woman made me cry.

    Thank you for writing this.

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