Obviously, I didn’t know what it would be like to give birth to a baby. Still, I stayed so convinced throughout my pregnancy that it would be a wonderful experience, and I was surprised to see how many of my girlfriends that came to me and asked me if I wasn’t scared to death. I wasn’t. But all I could do was to give them my personal thoughts about giving birth in general, not knowing if and how they would change when it actually happened. Now I know, and my thoughts haven’t changed a bit. It makes me concerned to see that plenty of young women believe it must be horrible to give birth since I know most of them want to have children. Therefore I’d like to share my experience with you.
It seems to be the fear of pain that scares people the most. I’ve used three helpful thoughts when it comes to going through the pain:
1, The pain itself doesn’t have to be a bad thing, only pain in combination with fear is damaging and traumatic. I read a lot about this in “Att möta förlossningssmärtan” (“Facing the labor pains”) by the Swedish midwife and author Gudrun Abascal, a book I highly recommend. Unfortunately there is no English version yet, only Swedish.
2, No matter how painful it might be, the time of the actual delivery is a fractional part of the looong pregnancy. You’re at the finish line!
3, Every single person on Earth has been born. I kept this in mind every time a walked through a big crowd through my pregnancy. Imagine how many successful births that is!
I can’t say giving birth to Kima didn’t hurt. If it wouldn’t hurt at all people could give birth anywhere out in the streets, which would be a direct danger to the baby. In other words, the pain is useful, it makes you perfectly focused on delivering your baby and nothing but that. Unlike other pain, this is a positive type. It leads you to the first meeting with your child. What a reward after 9 months of carrying it inside you! I guess I could compare it with running a marathon; it’s a huge physical exertion that I’m sure is not only pleasant, but it’s still an amazing experience to go through.
And really, I never found the pain any worse than that I’ve been looking forward to doing it again form the very second our daughter was born. I’m therefore convinced that anybody can manage even the most painful situation – as long as you don’t panic. I didn’t use any medical pain relief either, since the whole process was over in a few hours and I felt alright with just a heating pad and some hot towels. Though I think it’s great that all sorts of pain relief is accessible in modern hospitals, I believe it might make you even more afraid of how much it would hurt WITHOUT medical help, since no pain killers will numb the pain completely.
Another aspect that makes me critical towards using medical pain relief is that I’m not sure I would have felt completely how much and when to push or to take a break etc. And I found this to be the most fascinating part of the process – my body told me EXACTLY what to do and I just had to string along. Somehow I think that makes baby delivering one of the easiest things a woman can do, funny enough! And no matter what happens when you give birth, I’m sure the pride, love and relaxation you feel once you can finally hold your baby in your hand for the first time is the same.
I’d be incredibly happy if I could inspire a future mother or two who might feel anxious about giving birth. I look at my one month old daughter who I’m breastfeeding while i write, and I happily confirm my overwhelming conviction from early in the the pregnancy: Giving birth to her was absolutely wonderful.