Sunday, July 27, 2008

Baby...Keep Your Cool

Here's something I think you should try. Take a handful of ice and hold it for sixty seconds. How did it feel? My wife and I had to do this last Monday at our first natural birthing class. It was pretty interesting. About eight couples grabbed handfuls of ice and held on simulating the length and discomfort of the contractions the wives would experience in the coming months. The first time I did it I didn't think I was going to make it. My head froze like the brain freeze you get when you eat ice cream too fast and I lost the feeling in my arms from the wrist up. My hands felt like I was holding a hot coal. It was quite an experience and my respect for women, who have to have the mental and physical toughness to actually push a baby out of their bodies and into the world, expanded exponentially. What was interesting about this exercise was that the variety of techniques our teaching taught us to manage this discomfort actually worked! When we tried them I had a totally different experience of holding that ice, the pain felt far away and much more manageable. I left the class thinking of the simple philosophy of our instructor, "Labor hurts and you can do it". It's an apt description of facing the tests and difficulties of life actually, "It hurts and you can do it."

"The necessity and the particularity of the assured and believing ones is to be firm in the Cause of God and withstand the hidden and evident tests...Anybody can be happy in the state of comfort, ease, health, success, pleasure and joy; but if one will be happy and contented in the time of trouble, hardship and prevailing disease, it is the proof of nobility. Thanks be to God that that dear servant of God is extremely patient under the disastrous circumstances, and in the place of complaining gives thanks."
(Abdu'l-Baha, Baha'i World Faith - Abdu'l-Baha Section, p. 363)