As a childbirth educator, I work with a lot of pregnant moms and there are themes I hear new moms say time and time again. Here are the top 5 things I wish I could tell every pregnant woman.
“Seeing how it goes” won’t cut it. No matter if you want an unmedicated vaginal birth, a planned cesarean, or a vaginal birth with epidural, labor is nitty gritty, gut wrenching hard and you need to prepare for it. If you’ve never done this before, you need to know what to look for and expect, because no matter what kind of birth you want, no one likes to feel out of the loop or at the mercy of a scrub-clad doctor.
You might feel like a crazy person, doing, saying or feeling things you never imagined...and that’s ok (in fact, it’s normal! See why here). You may think you are going to labor peacefully and quietly in the tub and then find yourself most comfortable while loudly vocalizing and pacing. You may sing, swear, or perform the most odd looking rituals...and that’s a good thing...more about that here.
Labor is often boring and you may be left alone a lot more than you might expect after you check into the hospital. There will be an initial hub-bub when you first arrive at the hospital in labor but after that you and your partner may be left alone for periods of time as long as everyone is healthy and things are progressing well. Be sure to plan for how you will pass your time and know how to help yourself with position changes and comfort measures.
You will remember each birth forever. Walk into a nursing home, sit down and ask a group of women if they remember their babies’ births. They will. Knowing that you will remember your birth forever, don’t you want to do everything in your power to make those memories good?
Lastly, you may not get that intense moment of joy you often see on the faces of newly delivered mamas. If you ever scroll through birth photography, you will see countless pictures of ecstatic moms catching, holding and nursing their babies. For some moms, it takes time to fall in love with your baby and that’s normal.
What do you wish you had known going into your birth? We love hearing from you - share in the comments below!