This week caught me thinking about a topic that keeps mulling in my mind time and again. It is quite an interesting one and probably something I shouldn’t be thinking about this early. But being a woman and also a thinker, this can’t escape the faculties of my mind.
The topic is labor. Yes, I mean labor. Not the 1st of May. Not the people you hire to finish a job for you. I’m talking about the one your great-grandmother, grandmother, mother and probably you have gone through. Personally I have not gone through it, but I have been able to feel just a glimpse of it from the routine cramps that come at the end of every month.
So, during one of those dreaded moments of the month, I just happened to think of the topic again, because there is a way cramps will make you think about labor, and wonder about just how much worse the real pain is going to be.
But as I was thinking about it it dawned on me that the pain of labor, which every woman who intends to bring life into this world will have to go through, is actually a necessary pain. I asked myself, “What gives a woman the strength to push out that child into the world?”
And without question, I realized that it is not just the doctors or nurses urging her to try one more time, it is not her husband waiting outside for the best to come, and it probably is not the thought of the beauty she is going to bring into the world. No, it is none of that. The pain during labor contributes a whole lot. Though I dare not rule out the tremendous contribution of the doctors, nurses and husbands.
This pain is something none of us like. Labor pains never fail to appear on the list of the “most painful things on earth”. Many of us have probably grown up believing that labor pains were a curse given by God after Eve had sinned, but I want to believe that it is much more than that. It is necessary to go through the pain. This pain is one inspiration for every child-bearing woman to push out that child into the world, not so much for the joy of seeing the child, but for the relief of getting out of the pain.
And as important as pain is to a woman in labor, challenges and pain are vitally important for anyone in this world who wishes to succeed in life. It is that discomfort you feel in and around you that will give you the initial force to get up and do something about your situation. As Praise George put it in his book, Start with What You Have from Where You Are, “Success is first an inside job”. It takes some discomfort, some challenge, and some pain to get that success out of you, even if that pain is as simple as having to wake up at 3 am every morning to chase your dream while others are still asleep.
Most of us want to run away from challenges, from hard situations, from uncertainty; and for sure the first instinct when faced with a helpless situation is to turn and run. I personally have run away from many things that would have brought me great success, simply because of the challenges and pains they came disguised in.
I have never heard any woman tell me she will not give birth because she is afraid of the short, yet momentous labor pain. None. Maybe someone should show me a woman who said that. Even those who say it after the first child still go on to make the second, third and sometimes fourth.
So, I have to wonder. Why do we run away from would-be successful ventures simply because we see pain and suffering along the way? Why do we walk out of our marriages simply because a challenge or discomfort is being faced here and there? Why do we refuse to take that course simply because it proves to be hard? Or refuse that job simply because it infringes on our comfort. The truth is there is no success without challenge. Challenge is actually extremely necessary for anyone who desires to make it in this world.
And it is probably not the challenge, but how you respond to it that will make success evident in your life. Just as a woman responds to labor pains by pushing a child out with all her might, challenges are meant to bring the best out of us. They are there to push out the very best qualities that we have been keeping within us all the while. Challenges are not there to stop us, they are there to prove us. Whatever challenges we go through on the way to our goals are the very things that we are built to overcome; but we need to hang in there, because every force has got inertia. The ability to hang in there as you bring out the best in you is what counts. The ability to persist.
Napoleon Hill, in his book Think and Grow Rich said;
“Sometimes it appears that there is a hidden Guide whose duty is to test men through all sorts of discouraging experiences. Those who pick themselves up after defeat and keep on trying, arrive; and the world cries, ‘Bravo! I knew you could do it!’ The hidden Guide lets no one enjoy great achievement without passing the PERSISTENCE TEST. Those who can’t take it, simply do not make the grade. Those who can “take it” are bountifully rewarded for their PERSISTENCE. They receive, as their compensation, whatever goal they are pursuing. That is not all! They receive something infinitely more important than material compensation- The knowledge that ‘EVERY FAILURE BRINGS WITH IT THE SEED OF AN EQUIVALENT ADVANTAGE.”
Being women gives us the opportunity to see an advantage from pain through the fruit of our womb. And just as the pain of labor is short-lived, so are the challenges we face as we move along to reach our goals in life. Not only that but as the fruit of labor lasts longer than the pain, the fruit of our persistence, which is success, lasts longer than the challenges we face along the way.
To my fellow women; do not walk out of that marriage just yet, give that job one more chance, keep that business open for one more day and walk in and take that course. You just do not know what awaits you on the other side of the curtain.
Don’t desist from trying. Don’t stop looking out for more… because there is always more than what the human eye sees now……
And for women trying to find out the meaning and use of pain in child birth, I refer you to The Official Lamaze Guide: Giving Birth with Confidence by Judith Lothian and Charlotte DeVries (www.lamaze.org).