As one of the first women in my circle of friends to choose to have a baby, I didn't initially have a whole lot of people around me to compare pregnancy and childbirth notes with. Fortunately, my midwives intentionally connect the families in their practice with the other families by hosting monthly “community care” visits in their homes. That's where I made some of my first local mom friends, who told me many things about childbirth that made me feel empowered.
Throughout my pregnancy, my husband and I often found ourselves practically running from people who wanted to tell me their (or their cousin’s baby’s mama’s best friend’s, or somebody they saw on TV’s) horror stories about childbirth. That only added to the anxiety and misinformation I was trying to unlearn after a lifetime of seeing awful depictions of birth in the movies and on television. There were also plenty of people who thought I was foolish or misguided for even trying to have an unmedicated birth. So having mom friends like my sister, my midwives, and the ladies in my community care group who spoke about their varied birth experiences in clear, approachable, and often empowering terms was hugely important for my confidence and my mental health. They didn't all have the exact experience I was looking for, but they all spoke about their experiences in ways that were non-judgmental and empowering, and that was incredibly helpful.
In the end, while every moment of my birth didn't unfold exactly how I'd imagined, I did end up following my birth plan and having the beautiful, badass home birth I’d long wanted. Though I and my birth team definitely deserve most of the credit for that, I also give some of it to the moms who'd already been there and done that, and who let me know that I’d probably make it through childbirth just fine, by saying things like the following: