Love Thy Labour

Love thy Labour

Twice now I’ve pushed a tiny squalling person out of a hole that is allegedly designed for the purpose – but the maths doesn’t quite work…

On the first occasion, my experience was… let’s just say, I wouldn’t choose to repeat it. For so very many reasons, but for this one in particular: the horrifying moment when a doctor, fearing for my distressed baby’s wellbeing, turned to the midwife positioned at the foot of my bed and instructed ‘cut her’. Indeed.

How to Have a Positive Birth Experience

The arrival of my second baby couldn’t have been more different. I was terrified of a repeat performance, especially given the complications for my first daughter following her traumatic arrival; and yet, despite the excruciating feeling of being torn open (quite literally) – I feel sad that I may never experience that again. Sounds mental, but here’s the thing:

I felt in control and empowered; everything was exactly how I wished for it to be – and that makes alllllll the difference to a labouring woman and how she perceives the pain of giving birth.

(And let’s be frank, although there’s rumour of some women reportedly orgasming in the throes of labour, the truth is that having your foof ripped open from the inside out is not and never will be pleasant.)

Image source: Pixabay

So how is it that I can genuinely regret the fact I may never again go through that agony? Because I made peace with it.

Here are my top tips for ensuring you can do the same, regardless of how your baby enters the world:

Educate Yourself

Understanding what’s happening is the first step to tuning in, listening, and working with your body. It may be tempting to bury your head in the sand; but this is one instance where ignorance is not bliss. The pain is coming (sorry), so you may as well prepare yourself and make sure it’s on your own terms.

Birth Plan

Having a clear idea of your preferences and how you feel regarding medical intervention and drugs is wise; having a strong expectation of how things will play out is, um, perhaps best avoided. It ’s also not a terrible thing to have your partner fully briefed in advance so they’re able to advocate for you if necessary. So go ahead and make a birth plan if you wish – but remember to be realistic and adaptable in order to avoid disappointments, because flexibility is your best insurance for a similarly positive experience.

Birth Afterthoughts

When things don’t go perfectly, you may feel overwhelmed with feelings of sorrow/guilt/failure. I know because I’ve been there. Pretty much everything that could go wrong, did go wrong for me first time around. Birth Afterthoughts is a fabulous service offered by many hospitals; it provides a full debrief of your delivery, and was an invaluable resource for me. A perfect second labour also helped to heal the trauma, but that’s quite a drastic course of action to take (and a bit of a gamble!).

So, natural or section, pain relief free or all the drugs – when it comes to giving birth these are not the reasons labour can be traumatic; it’s the loss of control that’s frightening.

Any new experience can be a source of anxiety, but when pain and fear like you’ve never known are added into the mix, it’s no wonder that trauma is so prevalent. We’re literally putting our lives – and those of our unborn babies – into the hands of strangers. And that’s, you know, kind of daunting.

So with all this in mind, why on God’s green earth would I lament never going through labour again? Well, it’s because my second baby proved that an empowered delivery can make you feel like a freaking superhero. And nothing else in life (not even new shoes or a viral post) will ever come close to that.

About to pop? Here’s the list of: 5 pregnancy must-haves for the 2nd trimester

Kate Tunstall
Kate Tunstall

Cynic; Jedi Master; connoisseur of cake: Kate Tunstall blogs at The Less-Refined Mind and has been featured on BritMums, Mothercare, and Huffington Post. From petty peeves to politics, Kate doesn’t shy away from telling it like it is. As an inevitable role-model to her daughters, she even throws in the odd ‘inspirational’ post in an effort to quell her cynicism and promote positivity. Kate resides in rural Essex with her champion husband and their young daughters, affectionately known as the ‘Devil Pixie’ and ‘Elfin Angel’ - only one of whom lives up to their moniker... Sometimes caustic - but always candid – Kate loves a provocative subject matter almost as much as she loves (good) coffee and (great) cake. Join the mischief on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

1 Comment
  1. I’ve enjoyed seeing my great-grandson as he has grown over the past 2 years. With them living in another city and state and our not being able to see him too often, this means of seeing his growth and his activities on a daily basis makes it seem like he lives closer. I love it!
    Gee Gee

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

The private place for families.

Share it on Lifecake.