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 an unmedicated birth and had an unmedicated birth, despite how 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 unmedicated 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 Hypnobabies home self-study, where I listened to self-hypnosis tracks for 30-60 minutes a day for THREE solid months of my life. It sounds crazy, but I credit my unmedicated 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 unmedicated 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. Unmedicated 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 an unmedicated birth to piss you off. Really.
Along with not being superior, I really didn’t have an unmedicated 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 unmedicated 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 labeled 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 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.
Our next reco: Hypnobirthing: My Pain-Free Delivery Story
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