I'm really starting to think people just can't help giving you unsolicited advice when you are pregnant. I've heard everything from unwanted labor and delivery horror stories to "helpful" tips about how to do it the "right." (As if there is one right way to birth a baby.) While there are definitely things I wish I could un-hear, there were a few things other women said to me about labor and delivery that were, thankfully, true.
I am very fortunate to have a circle of friends andfamily who have a ton of experience in pregnancy, parenting, and childbirth. When I was pregnant with my daughter, I had no idea what to expect in the delivery room. I read countless books and articles, asked my midwife a thousand questions and struck up conversations about childbirth so often that I think I sounded a bit obsessed with what would happen in the delivery room. Childbirth ended up being totally different than I expected. In some ways more challenging and, in other ways, so much easier than I thought it would be. I made the mistake of setting pretty unfair expectations for myself. I thought I knew what I wanted and how to have the perfect "birth experience." I was so wrong on so many levels.
My second birth, while far more painful, was far easier for me to handle on an emotional level. I banned people from telling me horror stories and since I had to deliver early due to preeclampsia, I was singularly focused on bringing home a healthy baby and surviving the process. As it turned out, not wanting or expecting a perfect experience made my experience way better. Huh? Imagine that.
Now that I have experienced birth twice, I try to be a force for good and help other moms stay calm, get through child birth, and even enjoy it when they can. I am just a few weeks away from birthing my last baby, and am surprisingly calm as I remember my previous births and the things other women told me about labor and delivery that were, thankfully, spot on.