I could talk about my childbirth experience all day long.
It is probably the best story I have. It has everything a good story needs. Action. Conflict. Blood and Gore. Sweat and Tears. Pain. Hard Work. Agonizing Suspense. Climax. And finally, a perfect resolution.
But if you’re thinking about having a baby any time soon, this story might not make be our best conversation choice. It certainly isn’t the story of a simple, easy child birth. And so I try to avoid creating nightmares by telling my story to those people who absolutely shouldn’t hear it – especially women on the cusp of giving birth themselves.
Yesterday was my sister’s due date.
As her due date has approached, she has had to face the realities of giving birth and being a Mom. Or, rather, she has had to face the unknown. Because none of her worries are realities yet. Nor do they have to materialize into realities. So horror stories that were once someone else’s realities really aren’t productive.
But of course, she goes ahead and asks me what happened. In order to “prepare”, she wants to know all possible outcomes. Will she die of embarassment before she even gets to meet her little one if her water breaks in public? Will she enter the hospital hours before giving birth only to be admitted long before she needs to be? Will she be able to get through labour? Will she be in terrible pain? Will she be a good Mom?
As I started to get into my birth story, after persistent asking on her part, I realized that my epic tale might be doing more harm than good. For as cool as telling a story that spans 38 hours, involves numerous trips to the hospital and torturous methods to induce progress, it really doesn’t begin to describe how awesome the experience was.
Giving birth was really tough for me. When I thought about it, even a few months later, it was something I never wanted to repeat again (Ahem…). But now, when I think about it today, I realize that I received so many blessings while giving birth.
I saw something in my husband’s eyes that I have never seen before, not even on our wedding day. He looked at me with so much love, so much pride, so much awe. Together we shared in this awesome creation of life together and it was in those tear-filled eyes that I really understood the miracle of what had just happened. I have never felt more loved than I did on that day.
My body was utterly exhausted. It was broken and ravaged. And it had just done the most incredible thing it ever had to do. After nine months of creating and growing a person from scratch, it birthed a baby – my baby. Through its weakness and brokenness I recognized more strength in myself than I ever knew was possible. I took part in a miracle. And when the stitches healed and the muscles started tightening again, still, my little, precious boy reminds me of what I accomplished.
The act of sacrificing so much of myself on that day for a little boy who had only just taken his first breaths convinced me that I would be an incredible Mother. Motherhood had taken me over completely.
When I stand back and reflect upon my birth story, I don’t see the pain and the blood and the agony. I really do see something beautiful and miraculous. I see love and strength and accomplishment. I see life.
This is the story I hope my sister hears from me today. These are the blessings I wish on her as she goes through child birth. And when it is all over, then we can share our warrior battle stories. I look forward to it.
This might be the only picture I will ever have of my sister and I pregnant together. The sad part is, we both look equally huge and equally exhausted.
Amy: 38 weeks pregnant; Laura: 26 weeks pregnant
What are the beautiful things that you remember from your childbirth experience? If you haven’t given birth, what do you look forward to in the delivery room? Let’s start a conversation about the positive parts of giving birth.