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Birthing horror stories: Don’t put me down for that!

Hello to all my loyal fans (Mom, I know it’s you),

As an expectant mother, I would just like to know: When did people start to think that telling a pregnant mother every bad thing that happened to them while giving birth was a good idea? Like, even my friends who are nurses and do this for a living love to share graphic information with me, detailing things like how they call the crowing of the head the “ring of fire” because, according to some women, the pain is so bad it feels like the head is burning you from the inside out. I don’t know how this became an accepted practice with mothers to be, as if we don’t already have enough to worry about. We have all seen every movie that makes birth look excruciating enough; but no, confirming the movie is not exaggerating is not enough, and you also tack on your own gory details about your vaginal tearing, or shitting on the table in front of all of the nurses and doctors, or being in labor for days and then having to push for hours.

We get it! It was shit, it wasn’t pleasant, you do not recommend it. But yet, everyone finishes their story with it was so worth it in the end. Like, I am sorry you can’t just tell me that Earth is about to explode, but will be alright because we will all go to a nicer place in the end. This does not reassure me, it does nothing to ease my fear, and now you have made me worry even more. I mean, even my own mother does not offer me this comfort. Instead, she keeps telling me my own birthing story as if that would somehow help me sleep better at night. You do not know me and therefore you have never heard this story, but let me tell you my birth was something akin to a horror film with a bit of humor thrown in just for shits and giggles.

My mother’s pregnancy was not easy by any means but it was a walk in the park compared to her labor. She gained 60 pounds most of it from water weight as she was so bloated she could press on her skin and instead of popping back into place, it would simply stay sunken in. She had cankles on her canckles, sciatica, and carpal tunnel that lead her to have to use arm braces. However, none of this prepared her for the nightmare that was to come.

She was a week overdue and miserable, my father had known to refer to her as the beached whale. This is what passes for love in his eyes, less than subtle digs at your appearance and attitude. She was desperate to get some relief and so they finally decided to induce her as she showed no signs of progressing. She was given Pitocin which is supposed to induce labor, then she opted to have an epidural. Funny enough the epidural did not take! However it did work long enough for her to exclaim MY WATER BROKE!! Sadly, the nurse had to inform her she had just wet the bed. They did end up breaking her water though and then she spent 39 and a half glorious hours in labor. She tried for a second epidural which also didn’t take. As apparently, this birth was the great comedy of errors!

Dad came back to the hospital the next morning and was extremely irritated she had not yet progressed past 4 centimeters. He then threw a fit, calling her treatment inhumane. Although he had a tantrum for the ages, the doctors did not budge or do anything more for my mother. It wasn’t until my father noticed there was no activity on my fetal heart rate monitor and alerted the doctors to the change anything happened.

Immediately everyone leaped into action and my mom was given a spinal block. The nurse thought this was an appropriate time to ask if she wanted to be wheeled into surgery on a gurney or transferred to a wheelchair. My mother at this point had enough and exclaimed she did not give a f*ck and that she could take an ax to her stomach right now for all she cared. When they got me out, they saw that the cord had wrapped around my neck and was cutting off my oxygen. I was also covered in meconium. For those of you who are willfully ignorant to this term sorry to burst your bubble here, it just a medical term for saying babies first shit. I was completely purple and blue and lucky to be ALIVE!

This was the story I had grown up hearing, time and time again it is brought out for parties and social gatherings amongst my friends. In fact, up until getting pregnant, I had never heard another birth story besides my own. Imagine my shock that once I became pregnant with my baby everyone was more than happy to tell me about their painful labors that lasted for hours and felt like a knife being twisted around in their stomachs. I could have gone my entire life without seeing these birthing videos or hearing their stories about the miracle that is birth.

In fact, I would have loved to go into labor completely unprepared and ignorant to the whole thing. I truly think it would cause much less anxiety for me!

I know there are those parents out there who have birthing plans a mile long. They have prepared for every instance doing their research about every possible occurrence. From breathing techniques to medications, to interventions that may be taken should the baby be breech or have any other complications. However, research has never been my strong suit. I find the less prepared I am the more likely I won’t have a panic attack or completely freak out should something go wrong.

My mother was one of those parents who had come in with a typed and laminated birth plan that was 4 pages long. You saw how well that had worked! She had burned a cd to listen to during her labor, had scents she was going to inhale to calm her, and a special birthing ball she had brought from home. All of this preparation meant nothing and everything that could go wrong did go wrong.

Here is my PSA: I would like to ask as a future mom and a currently pregnant woman for everyone to please stop telling me your birth stories. I don’t want to hear about how they were a complete disaster or about the awful thing that happened to your friend during her childbirth. No person wants to hear this when they are about to give birth! If I ask please tell me, but otherwise keep your mouth shut and your advice to yourself! We have the common sense not to show the Titanic while boarding a ship, or to show snakes on a plane while trapped in the air. But somehow this common sense goes right out the window the minute you find out the lady sitting next to you is expecting her first child.

To the mothers reading this or the people who are anticipating getting pregnant one day, how do you feel about birthing stories. Do you love to hear about how you came into this world or about your friends delivery? Or do you honestly wish people would keep it to themselves unless you specifically ask to hear it. Please let me know in the comments!

Rant over (mic drop)

Signing off until next time,

The Mental Millennial Mom


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