Today a girl from church, Christine, came over for lunch. She is pregnant with her first baby and due the end of June. Her parents live in Germany and are music professors (Americans, though), and that is hwere she grew up and even went to college. She and Jeremy have been married for a year and are such a nice couple. She has scoliosis, and so an epidural is not an option for her, so when she found out that I had all mine naturally, she was very interested in talking to me about what I do during labor!
I had planned to send the boys down in the basement after lunch, figuring they really don't need to be in on a conversation about the nitty-gritty of labor and delivery, LOL, but then I realized that Bob was taking leave today. As much experience as he has had in the labor room, I didn't think he needed to be a part of the discussion either, so he ended up taking Nathan and Luke on a long bike ride. Caleb and Jonathan wanted to eat lunch outside on the little picnic table under the trees, so it ended up just being Christine, my mom, Anna, and me!
We had a really great discussion. Her mother also had all natural births, as did her grandmother, and so she has had good role models who have been very encouraging about their stories. I gave her a copy of the article I found many years ago when I was pregnant with Nathan about raspberry leaf tea. A lot of places like on the web recommend drinking it during pregnancy, but I've never seen it spelled out exactly like in this article, where when you go into labor, it recommends drinking a very strong pint of it. That has always really helped me deal with my contractions. Also, the article recommends taking calcium pills to help with cramping, which I did with Nathan and I think Luke. I think as we move into a more technical society, those sorts of natural things are cast off in favor of drugs, and so you just don't hear as much about those kinds of helpful remedies--only what I would call "mechanical" ones, like breathing techniques and different labor positions (also very important though!).
We also talked a lot about what to expect the first few days, especially with nursing, which can be so frustrating. No one is coming to help her, so they will be on their own. I told her not to hesitate to call me with any questions! All this experience should not go to waste! I had my mom and Elizabeth around when I brought Nathan home, and I was so glad for all their calm advice. Sometimes you just need someone to tell you, "That's perfectly normal--you are doing fine!"
We had a really good time, and I think it was helpful for her. I have thought a lot about becoming a doula when the kids are older, and I certainly enjoy talking about things like this and encouraging new moms. We'll see where the Lord leads, but He has given me the experience in this area!