We have all been there fit to bursting, rubbing our fast expanding tummy and hanging off every last detail from a mum painting the story of her birth in full Technicolor glory. I've been there, listening away whilst pregnant with my first hoping that the nice and positive experiences would be more the kind of story I would be telling rather than the ones I sat open mouthed and cross legged listening to in wonder and awe at the poor mum who had to go through such an ordeal. As the sods law of averages goes, two babies along and I have had experience of both. A birth that left me traumatised and suffering with Postnatal Depression with me asking my husband "NEVER" to expect me to do "that" again and a birth that was so text book and straight forward that I was instead telling my husband I would definitely have another baby. Go figure!
That's the thing with childbirth I wish I had been more aware of the first time around. No two births are the same, no two experiences will leave you feeling the same as the other and yes it can be an amazing experience and yes it can also take you to the depths of despair. However, when preparing for the battle that is bringing your Tiny Human into the world, isn't it about time we stopped all the bullshit, threw away all of our expectations, and instead gave ourselves a reality check?
Preparing to be a new mum? Don't head into the birthing suite without the No Bullshit Mum Reality Check all mums to be should know:
1. It will eventually be over!
"Thank f&^%!" I hear you all cry! Yes regardless of what type of birth you choose or is chosen for you due to bloody bad luck, bad timing and circumstance, it does have an ending. It may not feel like it when you're going through it but that baby is coming out one way or another which means that the process of bringing your tiny human into the world will not go on forever! Whether you are having the birth from hell or having an amazing experience it will eventually come to an end. Amen to that!
2. You May not have the Birth you Want
Not the news any of us mums to be want to hear but why the hell sugar coat the fact that the birth we have been planning may not happen? Like all things in Motherhood if we manage our expectations and the pressures we place ourselves under to deliver our perfect birth experience we are also decreasing our chances of feeling like a "failure" if things don't go according to plan. Childbirth is a tricky bloody matter involving lots of different variables outside of our control, therefore, we need to go into it fully aware that things don't always go how we want them to and instead prepare ourselves (mentally) for what we will do if they don't.
3. You May have an Amazing Birth
The idea of having an "Amazing" childbirth experience was completely foreign to me after the traumatic birth of my first child. I stared in abject wonder at mums who told me they "enjoyed" childbirth and that it was a "wonderful" experience - surely their drugs mustn't have worn off yet? Apparently not as the birth of my second was totally the opposite to my first with me thinking it was an amazing experience and feeling elated following it. Therefore, for any mum out there who has also experienced a traumatic birth, as unbelievable as it may sound to you right now, a good birth is possible.
4. It's OK to Ask for Help Post Baby
A lot of mums feel traumatised after childbirth and then due to the social pressures and expectations we put on ourselves we then feel abnormal and like shit mums for feeling anything but elated at our baby, birth and our new life in general. You are not alone and there is help out there to help you process your birth experience - grab it with both hands as soon as you can and punch that bastard that is post birth guilt and trauma in the face!
5. You are in Control
Easy to say when not 5 cms dilated and climbing the wall in excruciating pain. However, remember it is your baby, your body and your choice on how you want things to happen when it comes to pushing your Tiny Human out into the world. Whether that's a home birth, epidural, water birth or good old gas and air, the choice is yours and as long as you and the baby are healthy and in a good condition then you reign supreme and those around you have to do as you wish.
6. It's Normal to have Stitches
Come on let's get real, our bodies are bloody amazing things but even the most hardiest of vaginas are in need of some patching up after pushing what feels like a tiny elephant through the shell of a walnut! Seriously! Yes, I too pre baby squirmed at the thought of this, thinking how awful it would be to have stitches in my nether regions. However, it is totally normal, it happens to pretty much most women and it's nothing to be worried about as after what your vagina has already been through a stint of stitches will be a walk in the park.
7. You may Poo Yourself
I think I was dreading this more than the actual thought of childbirth when pregnant with my first! So much so that at 6 cms dilated and mid contractions I made my hubby walk me to the loo as I couldn't imagine anything worse than pooing in front of strangers! What a bloody fool! Three cms and a failed epidural later I wouldn't have cared if I'd have pebble dashed the whole bloody team of midwives! Needless to say that with my second I never even thought about it. Did I poo myself? Who the hell knows and seriously who the hell cares? I promise you won't give a shit! (Literally) and you won't even know about it even if it does happen.
8. Scream, Grunt, Swear
Admit it, we've all been there watching One Born Every Minute whilst a mum screams and grunts her baby into existence and found ourselves thinking "God, I will never sound like that!" PAH HA HA! Don't kid yourselves and most importantly do whatever it takes to get you through it. From screaming profanities to making sounds you never thought possible, if these noises help you get through whatever you need to get through then just let it rip!
9. You are Brave Enough
Whatever happens to you through your birth experience, you need to know this; No matter how brave you think you are in normal everyday life, no matter how little faith you have in yourself, no matter how low you feel your pain threshold is and no matter if you are the biggest scardey cat of all time. You are brave and strong enough to bring your Tiny Human into the world.
10. Did I Mention it will Eventually be Over
Yes, like everything in life it does have an ending and you WILL get there and no matter how knackered, distraught, amazed, euphoric, sore you are, you have brought a beautiful Tiny Human into this world. You are Magnificent!