If I'm being honest I must admit, it takes a helluva lot to get me stressed out or upset. Unless I'm watching a football game or a particularly heart-wrenching episode of The Office, I'm a pretty laid-back person who tends to go with the flow and deal with things as they arise. Make no mistake, this is because I'm lazy and I procrastinate, however — as a parent — being laid-back is pretty helpful. That's why, when I experienced the labor and delivery moments that prove you'll be a laid-back mom, I was pretty damn excited. If I was going to be as laid-back as I was pre-baby, I had a feeling motherhood wasn't going to drive me completely insane. Phew.
Now, this isn't to say that I never experience anxiety or fear or stress or exhaustion or that overwhelming feeling that just makes you want to stay in bed all day. Trust me, I do. However, I've also adapted the same laid-back approach that got me through college and some pretty sh*tty dating experiences and, eventually, labor and delivery, to motherhood in general. I don't mentally kick my own ass when I forget an extra set of clothes after my son has had a particularly horrendous blowout, I just make due with what's available to me (usually a kind-of-dirty-but-still-wearable outfit found under the driver's seat of my car). I don't stress when plans change and unforeseen circumstances arise, because the same thing happened when I was pushing a human being out of my body and, well, that pretty much makes any other situation seem minuscule at best.
So if you're getting ready to experience labor and delivery and you're hoping to be a laid-back mom who takes motherhood as it comes and doesn't stress the small stuff, look out for the following signs. Chances are, if you find yourself doing any of the following, you're going to be that laid-back mom who's consistently cool, calm, and collected, even when she's an hour late to the pediatrician's office. #LaidBackLife
Any Unsolicited Labor And Delivery Advice Goes In One Ear And Out The Other
You won't argue or "state your case" for why you've decided to have an unmedicated home birth or a scheduled c-section or an epidural or whatever it is you've decided will work best for you and your body and your baby. Instead, you just smile and nod and say "OK," and let all this "here is the best way to birth a baby" nonsense go in one ear and out the other.
This, my dear reader, will prepare you for the unsolicited advice you'll receive as a parent. I mean, if you thought people have feelings about labor and delivery, wait until you figure out how many feelings people have about raising children. Dear lord in parenting heaven, people have things to say and they'll (at least try to) make sure you hear them. If you can practice the age-old art of smiling and nodding while simultaneously thinking about anything and everything else, your laid-back demeanor will save you from many an uncomfortable conversation.
You Don't Freak Out When Your Birth Plan Changes
I was adamant about birthing sans an epidural, and definitely without the assistance of Pitocin. I actively labored for 10 hours unassisted by medication, walking the hallways of the hospital and rolling on a birthing ball and getting into a birthing tub and just standing while swaying back and forth. Yeah, none of it helped. A complicated birth and back labor left me in an excrutiating amount of pain, so after those 10, long hours I said I wanted the plan to change.
I had an epidural, I took a nap, and when it was time to push I pushed with everything I had. After almost three hours, my son started going into distress. It was at this moment that my doctor suggested I allowed them to administer a low-dose of Pitocin, to assist my body in pushing my son into the world and to avoid the surgery room. I simply said, "Do what you need to do," feeling completely OK with the changes because I knew the situation called for them.
So when plans change last minute — courtesy of a toddler tantrum or an epic blowout or whatever — I just shrug. If I can make it through the changes in my birth plan without batting an eye, anything else life throws at me is small potatoes, my friends.
You Just Smile When You Realize You've Pooped While Pushing
If you simply think, "Eh, poop happens," when you realize you've gone number two in front of relative strangers, the newborn poop that will soon run your life will be nothing.
(If You Even Notice)
I barely noticed that I had pooped while pushing, and I'd like to think it's because I'm so laid back (surely it wasn't because I had more important things to focus on, like pushing a human being out of my body because no way that's just craziness).
My partner told me a few days later that I had actually pooped, and I just shrugged. I mean, I was sleep deprived, breastfeeding and holding my baby, so I really didn't give a sh*t if sh*t actually happened.
(This is also a testament to how quickly your poop is picked up when you're in the throes of delivery. I mean, it's someone's actual job, so chances are high that you won't even notice anything happened. Nurses are the real heroes, you guys.)
You Don't Care That Five People Are Staring At Your Vagina
I've never felt more shameless than I did when my legs were spread, I was pushing a kid out of my body and about seven people were staring at my vagina. I thought to myself, "Well, this is pretty awkward and kind of cool that for the first time, probably ever, my body wasn't being sexualized to the point that anyone thinks this is even remotely strange or uncomfortable."
This also prepared me for the accidental nakedness that sometimes happens when you're a parent. For example, when I ran out of the shower because I heard my son cry and I didn't notice my open windows or my shocked neighbor — who got a show on his way to work — I simply said, "Oh well." Then, of course, there was the time my son pulled my shirt down and popped one of my boobs out when I was in the middle of a bank. "Eh, boobs happen." #LaidBackLife
You Don't Bother Covering Yourself Up
I was naked for a good majority of my labor and delivery, even though nurses and doctors and friends were coming and going. We're all adults here, right? Right. So what the hell did I care if someone saw my pregnant body? It was doing a pretty incredible thing so I really didn't care if someone was going to criticize my "lack of modesty." If anything, I was like, "Look at this awesome body and what it's doing right this very second!"
I'd like to think that because I was so laid back about being naked whilst pregnant (and arguably at my most vulnerable), I was completely prepared to be laid back when other naked-moments as a new mom happened. Breastfeeding in public without a cover? Yeah, I don't mind in the slightest. My son constantly walking in on me when I'm trying to use the bathroom or take a shower? No problem.
You Don't Care If You End Up Cussing
Admittedly, I've always been a very "laid back" person when it comes to using choice words sprinkled through my robust vocabulary. Seriously, I just don't give a sh*t. Adults use cuss words, it's a thing and usually it's a pretty useful thing (unless you're using said words to abuse someone else, in which case you're a horrible person).
So I didn't care or openly chastise myself when I let out a "f*ck" or a "damn" or a whatever else I needed to say in order to get through contractions. I feel the same when I let a cuss word fly around my kid. I shrug my shoulders and I explain to him that it's a "big kid word" and that he's not to repeat it. After all, sh*t happens.
The Numerous Bodily Fluids Don't Phase You, In The Slightest
Not only was my water breaking all over my labor and delivery room, but my contractions were so intense that I was vomiting. It wasn't until I had an epidural that I was able to stop throwing up, which meant I didn't always make it to the nearest waste basket before I let the vomit fly (because you try moving quickly when you're contracting).
While I was quick to apologize to the kind nurse tasked with cleaning up all my puke (because that's a pretty horrible job, no matter how you cut it) I also didn't feel ashamed or embarrassed. I mean, my body was tensing up against my will. Puke was going to happen.
Of course, this has prepared me for the inevitable "puke is going to happen" moments that have befallen me, since. My kid has only been sick a handful of times, but when he has there's usually projectile vomit involved. I'm pretty alright with it, no matter how disgusting. #MomLife
When You Realize You Forgot To Pack Something Essential In Your Hospital Bag, You Shrug
I had that damn bag packed weeks in advance, only to realize that I forgot an essential playlist, my favorite blanket and some much-needed snack. Oh well.
Instead of spiraling into a panic or demanding someone go back to my house to get those necessary items, I simply shrugged and thought, "Better luck next time," and made due with what was provided to me via the hospital. At that point, there wasn't much else I could do anyway.
I can't tell you how many times I have used the very same tactic when realizing I have forgotten one of the toys my kid just has to have, now. If I have spaced and failed to pack snacks or extra wipes or a set of now-very-necessary clothes or whatever else, I just shrug and deal because theres' not much else I can do.
You Know You Won't Be Above Sharing The Details Of Your Delivery With Anyone Else...
Because I fancy myself a pretty laid back person, I don't care about sharing the "nitty gritty" details of labor and delivery, when asked. If someone wants to know what it feels like to push a baby out of your body, I'll dish. If someone wants to know what it feels like to get an epidural, I'll go into compete detail. I really have no qualms about opening up and describing a time in my life that's pretty personal and vulnerable, because, well, "Eh."
Of course, that's translated into my life as a mom, so I'm all about opening up and talking about the not-so-glamorous parts of parenthood that are often whispered about between very close friends. I've learned that when I'm honest about how sh*tty parenting can be, more parents — especially mothers — feel validated in their own thoughts and feelings and experiences. It's kind of the best.
...And You Don't Plan On Using Childbirth As A Way To Prove You're "Better" Than Other Moms With Different Experiences
Nope. Just so much nope.
Honestly, as a laid-back mom I'm going to go ahead and assume that you don't want to waste your precious energy playing the "who did it better" game. Really, and in the end, who cares if you gave birth without drugs or you used an epidural? Who gives a you-know-what if you had your baby in the woods or you scheduled a c-section? The answer: no one.
No one cares. Your baby definitely doesn't care, and as a laid-back mom you know that wasting time trying to "one-up" another mom based on your own personal experiences isn't just a horrible thing to do, it's a pretty useless thing to do.