A Star Wars Approach to Childbirth: Questions and Answers

Q: I don't know if I can go through labor without an epidural. I'll try, but I want the back-up option just in case.

A: Many midwives and educators will tell you that this mindset actually sets a woman up for failure, since from the beginning of labor--or even before--she is doubting her own abilities. Women who trust their bodies and are confident in their own abilities will (barring very very rare cases of true emergency complications) succeed. As Yoda states: "Do, or do not. There is no 'try.'"

Q: I'd like to have a natural childbirth, but I'm just too afraid of pain during labor.

A: Many people believe that while you might feel pressure, tightening, cramping sensations, or discomfort, you will not necessarily feel pain during labor. Some doctors and childbirth educators believe that pain during labor is only perceived because woman are so fearful that they tense their muscles unnecessarily and work against the natural action of their body, in short causing their own pain and suffering. After all, as Yoda tells us: "Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering."

Q: Is medicated childbirth better? (paraphrasing Luke Skywalker's "Is the dark side stronger?")

A: In short, no. Yoda explains, "No, no," adding that the Dark Side may be "quicker, more seductive," at first, but will not ultimately lead to good.

Q: Modern medicine is here to help us--why should I suffer any discomfort at all during labor? Why shouldn't I just get the drugs, sooner rather than later, especially if my labor is taking awhile?

A: Most midwives and many natural childbirth advocates believe that it's not good to rush your body. Labor will proceed best on its own, in due course, and will be safest for both mother and baby if everyone involved in the birth can relax and be patient. I'll let Obi-Wan answer this one: "To be a Jedi, . . . you must confront and then go beyond the dark side--the side .. . [others] couldn't get past. Impatience is the easiest door . . . [others were] seduced by what [they] found on the other side of the door, and you have held firm. You're no longer so reckless now. . . You are strong and patient."

Q: What about inducing labor, or just using a drug to speed things along? I've heard about the so-called spiral of interventions, but surely just one intervention can't be too bad?

A: Ah, but the spiral of interventions is all too real! Once labor is induced medically, contractions will be stronger and harder on your body and the baby's. Then you'll be encouraged to use pain relievers, which will slow down labor, and then the electronic fetal monitoring may show stress on the baby, and then comes the emergency c-section. Or, once more to turn to Yoda: "Anger, fear, aggression! The dark side of the Force are they. Easily they flow... quick to join you in a fight. Beware, beware, beware of them. A heavy price is paid for the power they bring.. . . The dark side beckons. But if once start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny. Consume you it will..."

Q: But how am I to labor naturally, how am I to know I can find the light side of labor and natural birth? (paraphrasing Luke Skywalker's "But how am I to know the good side from the dark?")

A: Self-hypnotic approaches to birth and other meditative approaches to natural childbirth advocate a process of trusting one's own body, of relaxing, of not fighting the contractions (or surges, or rushes, as preferred vocabulary has them). Yoda responds, in a fabulous birth meditation: "You will know. When you are at peace... calm... passive. A Jedi uses the Force for knowledge and defense. Never for attack.. . . Clear your mind of questions... Quiet now be... at peace... ... Yes... calm..." Obi-Wan sums this up neatly, of course: "The Force will be with you always.. . .Use the Force."


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Created: 5/29/08. Last Modified: 5/29/08.