the spirituality of birth

i am really curious to hear what my readers have to say about this subject...so please, please, please comment! it doesn't matter what "kind" of birth you've had...epidural, c-section, natural...please leave your thoughts.

i have been reflecting A LOT (i'm a birth junky now) about my birth experiences. something i have thought a lot about is the spirituality of each of my births.

my son's birth, in a hospital with an epidural, was a beautiful experience. HE made me a mother! it was overwhelming, surreal, peaceful, calm...incredible. but i would not say that the labor and delivery in and of itself was a deeply spiritual experience. it was spiritual, yes - because how could a birth not be spiritual on some level? with my belief that a baby is coming straight from being with our Heavenly Father, it would have to have some level of spirituality. but what i am trying to say i guess, is that it was not some incredibly deep spiritual experience that left me changed. the moments and days after his birth were actually incredibly and deeply spiritual for me - i looked at my tiny baby, swelled with love, and realized how much i was loved by my Heavenly Father. but again, the actual labor and delivery itself were not deeply spiritual - for me.

i contrast that with my daughter's birth, naturally at home in the same room in which she was conceived. i would use the same words about her birth as i did with my son's: overwhelming, surreal, peaceful, calm...incredible. but i would add - deeply spiritual. i believe that i was able to have such a deep spiritual experience with her birth because i gave birth naturally. i felt every emotion God intended a woman to feel as she birthed her baby and i feel that that experience connected me with Him, even more. the sacrifice that i made, physically, to birth her - can be contrasted with the Savior's Atonement - He gave His life that we may live. He shed blood, just as i shed blood. there was a moment everyone told me i would experience in a natural birth...a moment where you would "walk through the valley of the shadow of death." and when you reached that moment, it would be the end and be almost over. i truly experienced that moment - the moment where it was so intense, the tightening of my uterus so strong, that i almost felt like i could not do it anymore - that is when i relied on my Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ - i knew they were with me and i knew i could do it. the next instant, my body felt an overwhelming urge to push and my daughter was delivered. i feel that the sacrifice i made - and the intensity that i felt in doing so, led me to have such a deeply spiritual experience with her birth. i did not come even close to feeling that intensity with my son's birth - it was quite literally numbed. for me, i felt the medicine numbed my ability to have that transforming experience.

i am interested in how you feel. what was your birth like? did you use medication or did you do it naturally? did you have a deeply spiritual experience? or, if you had medicine, were you sort of "numb" to the experience like i was? there is no right or wrong answer here. in fact, i just read about a woman who has had several children, all with epidurals, and feels that her children's births have been incredibly spiritual. i am just mostly curious to see how birth has been for you - i love to hear about other women's experiences and i think we can all learn something from each other, so please, please share! you will make my day :)

if you want to read a couple of blog posts that will sort of be "food for thought" on this subject, please read this, this, and this. the first link is especially for an LDS birther since it deals a lot with LDS theology, the second link is a beautiful insight on the pain of childbirth by a local (mesa) midwife, and the last link talks about ecstasy and transcendence in childbirth - i especially love the last two paragraphs.