Before I started taking childbirth classes, I had the impression that they would be some sort of profound experience for me. I kind of expected to be taught how to make childbirth painless, as if that were even possible.
Instead, my to-do list for dealing with labor is two items long:
We learned the physiological reasons for why it’s so important to relax as much as possible, and we’ve talked about different breathing techniques for helping achieve that relaxation. But those are just details, as it all seems to boil down to those two instructions: Relax. Breathe.
I’m supposed to be practicing my breathing techniques on my own at home, but most of the time I find myself watching TV instead. But I’ve found that these breathing methods do come in handy in other situations, so I get a little practice in anyway.
If something minor happens at work to set off my pregnant-lady waterworks, I can stave off the tears by taking those deep, deep breaths. If someone cuts me off in traffic, I hold back the swearing by focusing on patterned breathing. And when I see a coworker getting angry about something trivial, I find myself thinking, “He could really use a Lamaze class.”
If only everyone could learn those two little words. Say them with me: