Trust Sleep

2 11 2011

An insomniac looked for a natural solution to their condition. Someone taught them relaxation methods, ways of disciplining the mind, and ended with saying “trust sleep”. The profound words of such a simple sentiment provided moral support as the person carried on with their goals. They were successful.

100 insomniacs scoffed.

“Trust sleep?!” they mocked. “People die every day in their sleep.” Others ridiculed the nature of the solution, calling it too hippie and new age. “I use medication and I get a good night’s sleep every night, thank you very much,” some said scornfully.

I don’t know if I’ve ever uttered the words “trust birth” or not. It’s possible. What I do know is that this seemingly innocuous phrase is now on the no-no list of things to say for fear of being deemed impractical and unrealistic. It is a denial, some think, of the risks that may come with labor.

I know I can’t speak for everyone, but I think I speak for a lot when I say that any time I’ve ever heard the phrase “trust birth”, I’ve never thought of it in cultish, do-or-die terms. Trust birth, like trust sleep, is a reminder to give your body a chance to relax into the process. Would we laugh at the notion that “your body knows how to sleep” or that you were “made to sleep”, or would we accept this as generally true and try to apply these concepts to our own improvement by virtue of being an encouragement or affirmation?

Some of us need a drug to give us a hand, but more of us need inner peace and a belief that these things typically take care of themselves, but we can’t get to that state when our minds are full of fearful chatter.  When your mind is constantly unsure of what will come next, and looks apprehensively to the future, your body will not be able to relax. Who could? Fear creates worry and tension, and neither are known for producing a good night’s sleep or an easy birth. Panic and dread will also not automatically solve problems, and should be let go.

Those who feel so diametrically opposed to “trust birth” should have their own saying... “trust fear”. Because one way or another, you’re choosing what to believe in, and 90% of the time that is a self-fulfilling prophecy.


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2 responses

3 11 2011
thatsnothowscienceworks

There are a lot of things in the world that rarely go wrong. We would all be better off if we paid them less attention. Sleep can be in this category for some people. Childbirth is in this category for no one.

I ride our elevator a few times a day. It got stuck once, 5 years ago. I wasn’t in it, but I heard someone banging and called the fire department to get them out. The lady was quite elderly and understandably upset. They’ve fixed it since then. It could get stuck again, but it’s unlikely. So… I ride the elevator.

Crossing the street is different. People drive badly. Everyone knows lots of people who died or were injured in a car accident. I am extremely unassertive about crossing the street. The vast majority of care trips end well, but that doesn’t change anything for me. Driving is dangerous. You can’t trust drivers.

Just because you can draw parallels, doesn’t meet the analogy holds up. This does not ring true.

3 11 2011
♥♂►Elizabeth, ISOTP Birth◄♀♥

I agree that just because parallels can be drawn, it doesn’t mean an analogy holds well. I see that a lot and find it ridiculous myself.

However, this will all have to do with how you view birth on whether you’re willing to give this analogy any credence at all. Some people say that birth already “rarely goes wrong”, so let’s start there– it’s a fairly neutral point. Okay. That’s relative, but sure, I’ll give them that. Most babies are born fine, most labors are healthy enough for maternal survival. But, birth could be even safer. Natural physiological birth, is, in my opinion, even safer than usual birth as we know it. It is for this reason that I liken it to other bodily functions, other normal abilities of the body, including sleep.

Now, for the crowd who doesn’t buy into birth being “inherently safe” (generally speaking), obviously this would seem a major fallacy. Knowing what I know now, I now liken birth of the physiologic sort closer to your elevator scenario (and tentatively… elevators CAN be a little freaky, can’t they?). Medicalized birth, however, is much more in the realm of car accidents– from the minor fender benders to the tragic. JMHO.

Now. what would happen if something that only required an elevator was instead attempted with a car??? No, better yet… what if everyone insisted that taking the elevator was safer than stairs? Saying that the stairs had so many things that could go wrong, that experts made elevators and were thus safer, that stair-goers were stupid and old fashioned for ditching the elevator, etc.– because this is what is happening to birth. If you don’t agree with these parallels either, you still think birth is riskier than I do. But, since most people have never even experienced or witnessed a truly physiologic birth, these would only be assumptions based on fear. But, to me, and many other first-hand witnesses, this rings very true.

Besides… parallels aside, the point made was really that “trust” phrases are innocent reminders that these things are typically kosher. It’s a comfort, and has virtue, rather than just being associated with some kind of cultist blind faith, which (for me) it is not.

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