Comedy legend Carol Burnett once said, "Giving birth is like taking your lower lip and forcing it over your head." She wasn't joking.
Going through childbirth is widely acknowledged as one of the most grueling things a human can endure. Having birthed three babies myself, I can attest that Burnett's description is fairly accurate—if that seemingly impossible lip-stretching feat lasted for hours and involved a much more sensitive part of your body.
I found childbirth amazing and empowering, but I can't deny that parts of it hurt like hell. Even my easiest and shortest labor felt like my body was being split in two for a while, and if you don't know what "back labor" feels like, imagine being stabbed in the tailbone with a white hot knife. With each birth, I got to a moment where I didn't think I could do it anymore. Each time, I hit a point where I would have happily handed over everything I owned to make it stop.
I chose the unmedicated route, but women who get the epidural or have their babies via c-section go through drastic bodily transformations to have their babies as well. No birth is a walk in the park, and everyone who sacrifices their body to grow a human being and then bring that human being into the world is super badass.
That's why a Facebook post from a new dad describing the awe he felt watching his wife give birth has gone viral. Witnessing the strength and stamina of a birthing woman is enough to make anyone feel awed, but William Trice Battle's poetic description has got thousands of us all up in our feelings.
I honestly don't know how she did it. The pain was so intense, so overwhelming, that even I felt it. Everyone in the room felt it. Yet she pulled through. Her pain was gruesome. Her struggle seemed almost unbearable. I found myself gritting my teeth when she did, tensing my entire body when her contractions hit, and shedding tears along with her. All while realizing that I was merely a passenger, never to truly understand the excruciating pain she was experiencing.
She gave her labor every ounce of life and energy she had in her. And then gave a little bit more. And through it all, at the end of it she selflessly gave all of us a glimpse into what she has been enjoying exclusively to herself for the past 9 months. We all finally get to love and hold the boy that she sacrificed her body, comfort, energy, and self for. My son is an absolute miracle. Babies are absolute miracles. But to me, the greater miracle is his mother, who has shown me what selfless sacrifice really is. What love really is.
My wife is the real miracle.
"My wife is the real miracle." Absolutely beautiful, Mr. Battle. Here's to the birthers of babies who go through immense self-sacrifice to keep the human race going.