Upon learning I was pregnant, after the initial shock of the two blue lines and then romanticizing about the idea that I was becoming a parent with my husband, I had only one thought: oh, my God. Now I have to give birth.
I was 100% terrified and spent the first three months of pregnancy in serious denial about the fact that a bowling ball was going to descend through my nether regions and blow it to smithereens in a few short months.
But I hoped for a natural birth and had a natural birth, despite however fearful I was. Now that I’m on the other side of that whole bowling-ball-came-out-of-me business, there are some points I really want people to know.
#1. I worked toward my natural birth, not wished.
I didn’t just wake up one day and say, yes, I’d love to try to make it through childbirth – one of the hardest things ever – with zero plan in place. Let’s just hope for it and go for it! To me, that’s like signing up for a marathon, not training, and showing up on race day just hoping you make it to the finish line.
Instead, I prepared. I bought a $200 Hypnobabies home self-study off Amazon, where I listened to self-hypnosis CD’s for 30-60 minutes a day for THREE solid months of my life. It sounds crazy, but I credit my natural childbirth completely to Hypnobabies and luck (see below). It didn’t just happen because I hoped for it to. It happened partly because I was preparing my mind and body for it for a very long time.
#2. I don’t think I’m superior because of how I birthed my child.
One of my dear friends refers to me as the “birth goddess” because of my natural birth. While I’m sure she means it in a flattering way, she also gave birth recently to a live and healthy baby too. I don’t really see how one way is any better than another if you have a healthy baby and didn’t try to perform your own c-section.
There is no right way to birth a child. I think many women would argue that having an epidural or going for a repeat c-section is the right way to birth a child – for them. Natural birth was right for me because that’s my style and drugs are not my friend, not because I wanted to be “better” than anyone else or achieve some birth “status.”
#3. I didn’t have a natural birth to piss you off. Really.
Along with not being superior, I really didn’t have natural birth to piss anyone off. Yet a lot of moms treat me like I am a direct threat to who they are as mothers when I tell them I went sans an epidural – which is only revealed when asked, not because I use natural birth as a casual conversation starter at playgroup.
When exchanging birth stories with some mom friends, I referred to my daughter’s birth as the best day of my life. It was absolutely empowering to birth my baby and meet my first child. I said I actually enjoyed childbirth, not in the way I enjoy drinking Starbucks at Target while shopping for crap I don’t need, but in a way that I didn’t totally hate.
Another mom was appalled at this notion, and then proceeded to tell me about her 24 hours of pure agony before the epidural and her not-easy-at-all assisted birth. What stinks about being a “natural birth mom” (I use that term loosely because all birth is pretty natural, right?) is that some birth conversations suddenly become a giant competition, you-against-me hash out that makes everyone feel awkward. This is truly the last thing any sleep deprived, caffeine hyped woman with a screaming banshee of a baby needs.
#4. Luck is a huge factor.
I didn’t have a breech baby or any complications that would hinder my natural birth plans. My baby’s heart rate and my blood pressure were fine through delivery. But not everyone has those factors on their side. I have heard enough birth stories to know that some people have trouble going into labor, babies get stuck, emergencies happen.
I really feel like the stars were aligned when I gave birth and everything somehow clicked into place when it should have. But with that said…
#5. My next birth will probably suck.
Really. No one gets that lucky twice in a row.