Thursday, June 18, 2015

dear pre-childbirth me,

I see you. I see your growing belly, I see the excitement and the impatience on your face. I see the way you count down the days until that due date. One day closer. One day closer to meeting him.

I also see the way you read those books. You know the ones I'm talking about. The ones all about childbirth. Hypnobabies. Bradley birthing. Natural childbirth.

And the online articles. So many articles. Medical jourals, news stories, blog posts, baby center community posts, facebook shares... You read birth story after birth story.

Moms who experienced an epidural-free delivery. Moms who said "no" to medical intervention. Moms who "made it through" without anything but their will and their babies.

Natural childbirth. You want it. You want to use those hypnobabies tracks to relax during contractions. You realize it'll hurt, but you believe you're ready for it. You want to feel that baby be born. You want to hold him to your chest and hear his first cries right against your skin. You have so many dreams about what that moment will be like.

And because you've read so much, you think you know what birth will be like. You think you know how it goes. You've read hundreds of birth stories, and you feel like you have a pretty good idea of how it'll happen.

Along with that, you've read so much about the dangers of medical intervention that you're pretty sure why other people's births went "wrong." So-and-so had an induction? You feel sorry for them and think to yourself about how you would never have an induction unless it was absolutely necessary. Oh, they ended up with a c-section? It's obviously because of the induction. Because, hello, "cascade of interventions," anyone?

Well, I'm your post childbirth self, and I want to tell you something. You have no idea. You don't even have a clue.

Yes, that reading you've done and that preparation you're doing will be invaluable. Keep doing the hypnobabies, keep practicing your relaxation techniques, keep learning about how things work.

But stop presuming you know anything about anyone else's birth. Stop thinking, "well, if she hadn't gotten induced..." and "if she had said no to the epidural..."

Because guess what? Childbirth is hard. It is long and it is exhausting and it takes you to a level of physical strain that you've never even been close to in your life. It's unimaginable, it's impossible to describe, and it's not like reading a childbirth book. You're going to feel more feelings in those hours than you've ever felt in your life. You're going to cry. You're going to scream. You're going to pray harder and faster than you've ever prayed in the entirety of your existence.

And things hardly ever go according to plan.

Don't presume you know what it's like when "the plan" gets turned on its head. Don't even pretend you know what that feels like. You don't.

Because even though you are me, a funny thing has happened since my little baby boy was born.

I feel judged. By you.

In the way you judge others for their birth choices and their birth outcomes, I feel judged because my birth was not perfect, was not painless, was not easy, was not without intervention, and was not even in the tiniest bit according to that plan you have in your head.

But my birth story was beautiful. And my baby is even more beautiful. The less-than-perfect childbirth experience isn't even a blip on the radar when compared to the astronomical amount of joy and love and life he has brought me.

So you keep crossing off those calendar days and you keep taking those prenatal vitamins. Keep preparing for that natural, unmedicated childbirth. That preparation will go a long way.

But keep your judgments out of it. Childbirth is already hard enough without ghosts from your past judging you for things they know nothing of.

Read my birth story here.
Read my letter to my c-section scar here (my most popular post to date).
Check out my advice on how to prepare for an emergency c-section here.

1 comment:

  1. I love this post! Thanks for sharing!
    Melanie @


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