Actually, I’m Excited for Birth

It’s been a month of growth! Evangeline is getting bigger every day. I’m just a few days away from my third trimester (HOLY MOLEY!) and with each passing week, I’m getting more ready to meet this little one.

3D ultrasound at 24 weeks

3D ultrasound at 24 weeks

But, there are a lot of people who have this idea that birth is something to be afraid of. Even I was like that before I spent a large part of my days researching what it really is. There’s this consensus in today’s society that refers to birth giving as “the most painful thing ever.” Well, yeah. That could be true. But it’s also the most liberating, powerful thing a woman can experience. I mean, I’m not speaking from experience, but lots of mothers are coming forward with the message that, not only is birth thrilling, but it’s best when the pain is embraced.

Growing up, I imagined I would probably get an epidural and just let the doctor do his or her thing. I cringed at the idea of contractions and even thought that a cesarean section would be better, if only it weren’t major surgery. I recall many people talking about how much easier just getting the shot is. The gigantic needle kind of made me squirm, but compared to the worst pain in the world, I figured I’d power through it.

But, then I got pregnant. And I had time to look at my options. Without addressing the surprising amount of controversy in the mothering world, I tried my best to see things for what they were. And I realized that birth isn’t some horrible thing. It’s not the disease I thought it was. Birth is the powerful, albeit painful, experience that brings a person from the comfort of a mother’s womb to this world we live in. And it is good.

Now, there are no judgements here, but I realized that I didn’t really want that epidural anymore. I just had to ask myself “why?” Why would I want to add complications when they weren’t necessary? Why would I want to deny myself the true feeling of birth? Why wouldn’t I want to scale the impossible wall? I’m willing to do anything for this girl. Anything! I’ll die if I have to. So, can I do what billions of women have done before me? Yes, I can. Mama bear, that’s me!

Do I like pain? Heck no! But, with the research I’ve done, the stories I’ve read (a lot of them from the amazing blog Birth Without Fear), and my personal gut feeling, not to mention the upcoming fearlessness of the third trimester, I’m getting more confident by the day. I’ve started saying crazy things, like that the day she’s born will be a fun day. And I’ve been having to ignore a bunch of careless comments, like that I will probably scream for pain medication. I’m more powerful than that, and I know that, but c’mon! Encouragement is way more useful to a pregnant momma, have we not discovered this? Actually, moms that fear birth are three times more likely to suffer from too-common postpartum depression.

So far, the plan is to have a hospital birth. There are two major reasons for this: 1) I love my doctor, and I can’t imagine getting along better with anyone else, and 2) I take comfort in knowing that, if there are complications, the best possible care is just seconds away. But, next week I begin my birthing class at the Charleston Birth Place, which is where a lot of mothers who decide they don’t want a hospital birth, but might prefer a more professional experience than a home birth, can go. I could decide to start working with a midwife and have my birth there. There is time, after all.

The only thing I worry about with a hospital birth is being surrounded by a bunch of people who aren’t used to a non-intervention birth. Luckily, my doctor said that he’d be ok with that. But what if he’s not there? What if the nurses aren’t so on board? That’s part of why I’m interested in hiring a doula, someone meant to be the liaison between the mother and the hospital staff. I don’t want to lump all that responsibility on Jimmy, who is very level-headed but will still no-doubt be very emotionally charged. But, there is still time to decide. Not much of it, but still!

I guess I’m just surprised to have found out that my previous ideas of birth were pretty much not true. And I’m surprised at how many people still feel the way I did. There are a lot of people who have said and will say things to me and many other mothers without really knowing her situation. But when people assume that I’m dreading my inevitable pain, I’ll just say, “Actually, I’m excited for it!”

Why shouldn’t I be excited? My baby girl will be born. That’s the best possible reason for anything.

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