Now that Coronavirus has moved in with us, 2020 is turning out to be the year of pain.
Those of us of us who are women may remember the Lamaze class we took in preparation for our children’s birth. It was a major test in enduring pain with patience through breathing. Through breathing and relaxation techniques we learned how to cope with pain in ways that facilitate labor and promote comfort.
We learned to take a slow deep inhale through our noses as the contraction starts, followed by a slow exhale through the mouth during the first stage of labor. As the contractions speed up in active labor, so do the breaths. Lamaze isn’t easy, particularly when you are in pain. It is a method that you are grateful for when you’re trying to avoid pain.
Some of us may have used similar breathing when we were DBS patients prepping for Deep Brain Stimulation surgeries. Getting hooked up to the IV, it was a soothing to take a deep cleansing breath to distract ourselves from the needle.
The Lamaze classes come to mind now because we’re living through another uncomfortable test of patience. Coronavirus threatens to rob us of well-being and gnaws at our nerves. There is no precious baby to bring us joy at the end of our ordeal. The result is sadness and hardship for the community.
When we must wear face masks and gloves, or put our plans on hold it’s easy to get angry and point blame at someone else for our loss, pain, and lack of participation in the decision. The urge to defy the system so that we can indulge ourselves in the luxury of no mask or physical contact is strong. The temptation to put ourselves before others tests our character.
Ultimately, our strength in fighting Coronavirus will be due in part, to the stay-cool, collective patience of our teamwork. Remember Lamaze, and breathe deep when frustration rises, because we’re all in this together.