I took up nursing in college. After our pinning ceremony, which is like a graduation rite after passing the battery exam, we went on to more serious nursing exposures like in hospital emergency rooms and maternity clinics.
It’s actually a midwife’s job to assist mothers in giving birth and as nursing students, we were there only to assist the midwives and observe how it’s done.
We thought that it was a nice break, especially for us guys to actually see things that people don’t usually see. However, after my first hands-on maternity nursing experience all I could say was “…oh.”
Expressed in a tone that you make after receiving a gift that is totally different from what you’ve been expecting for the past 16 years - that kind of "...oh."
Believe me when I say, the experience lingers in your mind for a few weeks and you just can’t get rid of it right away like a bad dream.
After a few more hands-on, you begin to see things differently. You get the hang of it, so to speak. You don’t get stressed anymore at the sight of it and yell at the person giving birth, “Relax! Woman! Relax! Breath! Shh..Shh. Breath!...” and then pass out after seeing the head of the child coming out.
The effect of that experience led me to a greater realization and appreciation of both mother and baby. A greater appreciation of life and how a single moment may teach us most of the things we need to learn to live life effectively.
That beyond that magnificent life-giving moment is the true meaning of the words - LABOR OF LOVE.