Before I became a parent, I planned to do everything the "right" way and was determined to be a "perfect parent," starting with childbirth. When nothing went as planned, I ended up feeling like a failure. Now, I realize the inadequacy I felt about childbirth was largely due to unrealistic expectations and serious shaming from other moms. While everyone deserves to be safe and respected during childbirth, so many people focus on having an "amazing experience" over having a baby, which is kind of the point. People need to stop romanticizing childbirth. We are setting the bar too high, and are hurting people in the process.
I thought childbirth would be so beautiful. So many people told me about how they labored at home for hours or days, called their midwife, arrived at the hospital or had their midwife arrive at their home just in time to transition in a warm pool of water. They pushed their baby out in one push, immediately started breastfeeding, and a pure bond was formed with their baby through a beautiful, serene hour of snuggling skin-to-skin.
My childbirth experience was so different. I went five days overdue with my daughter. I didn't want an induction, mostly because all of my friends said it was the worst thing ever, but my blood pressure kept creeping up until my midwife said she had to induce me if I didn't go into labor on my own. Despite being dilated and feeling like I was holding a bowling ball between my legs, I literally walked five miles in an attempt to start labor. I also had my membranes swept three times that week (ouch). Nothing. When they admitted me for induction, I was seriously scared about what was going to happen and that I was screwing up motherhood already. Then my water broke all over the hospital bathroom floor. What followed was 20 hours of back labor, no sleep, me begging for an epidural (which was the best thing ever), pushing in bed (not in a pool or while squatting, like I had planned), and hemorrhaging. Childbirth was far from the experience I had hoped for, so I began my adventure in parenting thinking I had failed.
There are so many reasons we have to stop romanticizing childbirth, mainly because it's not healthy, it's ableist, it's dangerous, and it's seriously anti-feminist. We're also hurting women and other pregnant people, and that's just not OK.