I’m always surprised how many mums have a negative association with part of their birth stories.
Of course there are always a lot of positives, but I get this impression that mums hold a lot of responsibility, guilt, shame or even regret about their baby’s birth, especially if it didn’t go as planned.
And I don’t think that more or less planning is the answer.
Can I Give You Some Unsolicited Advice?
Being pregnant, you get a lot of unsolicited advice about pregnancy, labour, and being a parent. At this point, I love it all. The good, the bad and the ugly.
I know a lot of people don’t like hearing negative horror stories of labour, but I think it’s important to objectively see both the beauty and the pain of having and raising children.
A friend of mine recently had a really horrible pregnancy, labour and postpartum experience. It was nothing that I’d ever heard about and she was well prepared. She did her readings, exercises, visualizations and classes.
She had no idea how challenging her birth experience would be and wished that someone prepared her for it.
So even though it’s wonderful to hear inspiring birthing stories of empowerment, love, animal instincts and healthy babies, there are many mums who don’t experience this and I don’t think there’s anything wrong or bad with it. You are still creating a beautiful baby.
My Expectations For Child Birth
When I was younger, these birth choices never crossed my mind. I always assumed women went to the hospital, got epidurals and had healthy babies, no matter how it needed to happen.
My mum never really spoke about my birth, except when I asked about my time of birth where my mum knew it was morning and my dad thought it was in the afternoon. It turns out my dad wasn’t a big part of the birthing process, and I indeed was born in the morning.
I never thought about labour empowerment or working with the body to encourage baby to enter the world or having a birth support team. I was brought up in a medical world where you didn’t question doctors (or authority for that matter) and you always chose the “safest” option.
If there was a “what if” scenario, you wanted to be on the safer side even if it meant going against your plans.
Now I see things a little differently.
I see that rushing a delivery before baby is ready leads to more and more intervention, which can lead to challenge with healing and bonding between baby and new mum.
I see that “safety” has been distorted to also include convenience.
I see that the pain of labour can be empowering, beautiful and instinctual.
And that pain is a perspective that we can recreate to mean forward progress to birthing your baby.
How Can I Prepare For My Birthing Experience?
So I can now imagine why having your birth options taken away from you can leave a hole in a new mum’s soul.
Now, I don’t think a mum should feel responsible, guilty, shameful or regret having a healthy baby regardless of the means, but I can empathize.
No matter how your birth story unfolds, I do hope that there is a way to love the labour you get — To feel blessed and grateful even if you feel an experience was taken away from you.
Bringing a baby into the world is no small feat. The time, commitment, struggles, physical discomfort and responsibility should not be taken lightly. Doing what is best given your situation sometimes means letting go of your attachments to how you think your experience should be.
Your birth story is just one part of bringing your baby into the world. A story is all about context and can be told from a variety of perspectives. I hope I can choose an empowering narrative no matter what actually happens during the labouring process.