“Labor is all about finding your threshold and learning you can go beyond it.” –Rose St. John
I think one of the powerful lessons of birth is about one’s own immense capacity. Each of my births has had a “threshold” moment and, indeed, I have some notes taken for a possible future article about being, “At the Threshold: Pivotal Moments in Birth.” With my first son my threshold moment occurred during pushing when I realized I had to just do it, I had to push him out even though it was scaring me a lot to do it. With my second son, the threshold was when I realized that I was actually in labor—I had a distinct sense of literally crossing a threshold. A sense of: “there is no turning back now. I’m going back into that house and I’m having a baby.” With my third son, it was when I got up in the night feeling contractions and went into the kitchen. There, I talked to the baby, telling him it was time to let go of each other—”Let’s do this. Let’s get it done by 3:00″ (and we did). With my last baby, the threshold came when I was talking to myself prior to pushing—fretting that I was too “in my head” and not letting go enough. After this moment, I did let go and she was born very rapidly after that.
It looks like I had two “pushing” thresholds and two “bring it on—labor is beginning” thresholds. The pushing thresholds occurred during my longer labors and the bring it on moments during my short labors.
Did you experience a threshold moment in birth? I’d love to hear about it!
The concept of threshold moments in birth is closely tied to the idea of birth as a liminal experience and also reminds me of Sarah’s book, Birth on the Labyrinth Path, which is approaching its one year anniversary.
Related posts about liminality and birth:
This post is adapted from an older post: