Mouth Wide Open (aka Part 2)
I told you all the things I didn’t say…and I also told you we had a good conversation. (Which still totally baffles me because, really, who is able to have a good conversation with someone while their mouth is wide open? But, I swear, we always have good conversations while she cleans my teeth. Strange – and cool. For obvious reasons.)
So, here’s what I DID say:
1. Having a baby without an epidural isn’t that bad. Yep, I said it. (Remind me of that next time I’m going through transition, ok?) Anyway, I’m totally serious. It’s painful, yes, but not painful like if you dislocated your elbow (which I’ve never done, but do whole-heartedly assume it would be incredibly painful). More than being painful, labor is just SUPER intense. It’s good pain. It’s for a purpose. It’s what your body is supposed to be doing. Work with it, not against it. I’d do it all over in a heartbeat. Really.
2. Having an awesome support person with you while you’re laboring is KEY. I was so glad to hear that Anna’s sister, who has had three natural births, is going to be with her when she’s having her baby. Most women don’t have the opportunity to have a close family member or friend with them that has actually experienced birth without drugs. I can say, with confidence, that it’s important to have another woman with you who has been through it and/or firmly believes in your decision. For us it meant hiring a wonderful doula. Additionally, I was unexpectedly blessed to have my mom with me when I was laboring with my second born child. (She lives far away and through a set of truly Blessed circumstances she was with us when I went into labor.) My mom fully understands my reasons for wanting a natural birth (Lord knows I’ve bored her to tears droning on and on about it for the last 3.5 years). She has also had two natural births of her own. She didn’t say much while I was laboring but just knowing she was there was a huge comfort. And I’ll never forget one of the (few) things she said to me, as I was going through transition, “Christy, you could teach a class on this. You are handling it so well.” Seriously, doesn’t everyone need a woman in their corner, telling them something like that?
3. Parenting YOUR baby is much different from watching others parent theirs. You think you have it all figured out because you’ve been around so many babies. You don’t. I didn’t just think I had it all figured out, I was CONVINCED I did. Baby was going to fit nicely into the cute little life we had created for ourselves. I wouldn’t miss a beat. I dreamed of taking baby to Barnes & Noble with us on date night. Baby would sleep peacefully in his or her car seat or stroller as we sipped our Starbucks and flipped through magazines, just like we did pre-baby. Oh, how your world is changed when you have a child of your own. (I’m not saying it changes for the worse, just that it changes.) It’s pretty easy to tune out the crying of a niece or nephew. Not so with your own flesh and blood. Your heart will beat more rapidly than you thought possible and you’ll be sweating, not because you’re hot or exercising, but because that precious crying baby (YOUR crying baby) will not go to sleep – or won’t sleep longer than 15 minutes before waking. It’s hard. (Ok, here’s another thing I didn’t say – I ran out of time…You are not going to be a perfect parent. It’s impossible. You’re going to mess up. For the majority of us, it’s not going to matter. If you let your baby cry a little too long or if baby is still sleeping in your bed when he is four years old, you’re not going to scar them for life. We make the best decisions we can, with the information we have and we HAVE to leave the rest up to God or we’ll drive ourselves crazy – believe me I know – it took me two years and two kids to figure that out.)
What are some things you find yourself saying to all the pregnant women (or new moms) you know?