What is Labor?

Labor is much more than the physical process by which women give birth and by which babies are born, awesome as those experiences are in and of themselves. Labor is also the transformational opening of a woman’s entire being. Women who give birth unhindered are open to the elemental forces of nature that bring the baby forth. Heart, mind, spirit, emotions and sexual self, as well as the woman’s physical body, open to allow another life to begin an independent existence on this planet. Thus, labor is a spiritual experience of enormous importance to both the woman and her baby. While women experience various life-changing events during pregnancy. the experience of giving birth is so significant that most women in old age continue to remember their birth experiences as though they happened yesterday. This makes the totality of the birth experience one of the most pivotal in a woman’s life.

Barbara Katz Rothman as quoted in Anne Frye’s Holistic Midwifery.