11 Reasons Why People Need To Stop Romanticizing Childbirth

Ad failed to load

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.

Ad failed to load

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.

Ad failed to load

Because It Gives Pregnant People Unrealistic Expectations

Courtesy of Steph Montgomery

Every pregnancy and childbirth is different, because every pregnant person and their babies' needs are different. Despite what birth books and birthing classes may say, there is not one way to birth a baby that is universally "good," safe, and ideal for all pregnant people and their babies. Ideal childbirth results in a healthy baby and a healthy parent. Full stop. Remember, your experience matters, but not as much as realizing that you are doing fine, even if things don't go as planned, hoped for, or expected.

Because It Makes People Obsess About Perfection

I felt seriously let down when my labor and delivery did not go as planned. I was a perfectionist, and I thought I failed to achieve perfection, even when I held my undoubtedly perfect baby in my arms.

Because It Leads To People Making Dangerous Choices


My friends romanticized childbirth as "natural, beautiful, safe, and empowering," and that caused me to make some really unsafe choices. I was so scared to be induced, even though it was medically necessary, that I was willing to try anything to induce labor at home. Then I left the hospital with my baby as soon as they would let me go home, even though my midwife suggested I stay another day. I ended up having breastfeeding challenges, and my daughter ended up being re-admitted to the NICU. I still wonder if an extra day in the hospital would have made a difference.

Ad failed to load

Because It Can Make Childbirth More Dangerous For Pregnant People And Their Babies

It's hard to believe that, in 2017, babies and their parents still die in childbirth. I have friends who lost their babies to preventable home birth accidents, attended by negligent midwives, and yet other friends who have lost babies because they refused induction of labor against the advice of their medical provider. They felt so much pressure to have "the perfect birth." My heart breaks for them, and I know they will never get over those losses.

I would have likely died had I hemorrhaged at home or had I refused induction for preeclampsia, like many of my friends suggested.

Because It's Anti-feminist


Seriously. There's not one right way to be pregnant, give birth, or raise a family. You don't have to have an unmedicated birth, because society says that's the way you should give birth. Having bodily autonomy means you can choose to be induced, get an epidural, or even have a planned c-section. It's your body.

Also, if you end up not having the birth you wanted, it's OK to feel sad, angry, or confused, but please don't feel ashamed or like you failed. You are enough. Holding pregnant people (primarily women) up to a unrealistic, unattainable standard is anti-feminist and unnecessary.

Because It Invalidates People Who Don't Have Perfect Experiences

Because I idealized the perfect birth as "natural," meaning without pain meds, I felt like I was weak when I begged for an epidural, like I had failed to do the right thing. Later, several people even speculated about whether I got an epidural because my provider pressured me, I was not allowed to labor at home, or I didn't get to relax in a whirlpool. This subtle gaslighting convinced me that I had made the wrong choices that resulted in a less than ideal birth. That's seriously messed up.

Ad failed to load

Because It Minimizes Real Pain


I honestly think some of my friends lied about their birth experiences. Either that, or they didn't have back labor like I did, because it seriously hurt. I didn't have breaks between contractions, like they described. I just felt a ton of constant, stabbing pain in my lower back. I felt like my friends minimized the amount of pain I was in during labor, and even worse, judged me for caving and getting an epidural when it was just what I needed to birth my baby.

Because It Contributes To Postpartum Depression

Research shows that having a negative birth experience can lead to postpartum depression. That was definitely true for me. If we, as a society, want more new parents to feel supported and to stay healthy as they begin their journeys, we need to start being real about childbirth and diversity of childbirth experiences. We need to be honest with women and let them know they might have a beautiful, magical, or whatever they expect, childbirth.

Because It's Ableist


Our culture romanticizes a version of childbirth — going into labor on your own, and having an unmedicated and vaginal birth — that is literally not possible for all pregnant people or their babies. It is seriously ableist to expect people to achieve an ideal that they literally can't meet, but our society does this all of the time.

Ad failed to load

Because It's Seriously Shaming

Our culture of parents shaming other parents needs to stop right now. We have a hard enough road ahead of us as parents, without thinking that something as trivial as not having the "ideal birth" is something to stress about. Besides, no one delivers cookies or trophies to the people who have "perfect births." Growing and birthing babies is not a competition and ideally we all get the same prize — a healthy baby.

Because Every Childbirth Is Awesome

Courtesy of Steph Montgomery

I'll say it again for the people in the back: every single childbirth is awesome. Unmedicated births are awesome, but also the messy births (where you puke on your partner and poop on the table), the inductions, the births with epidurals, the births assisted by instruments, and the planned and emergency c-sections, are amazing. Every. Single. One.

Birth is badass, no matter how you do it, but it's not always beautiful or what what you expected or even close to resembling your birth plan. That doesn't mean you are doing it wrong, it just means you've experienced your first truths of parenthood: no one is perfect and nothing goes as planned.

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

6 Early Signs You're Going To Have A Short Labor, According To Experts

As far as I'm concerned, a short labor is right up there with winning the lottery in terms of lucky life events. (And when I was actually in labor, I would absolutely have traded a bucketful of lottery winnings for a speedier birth.) While some women…
By Kelly Mullen-McWilliams

Kids Will Love These TV Shows & Movies Coming To Netflix In March

You can always count on Netflix to keep it fresh: though there are already so many movies and shows to choose from, every month there's an influx of new content to keep your entire family entertained. As February enters its final weeks, it's time to …
By Megan Walsh

Here Are 10 Ways To Boost Your Baby's Immunity To The Flu

As I'm sure you've read in the thousands upon thousands of articles written about it this winter, the flu is spreading like wildfire and it's bad. Really bad. This strand of flu is the worst we've had in a very long time and it's the most widespread,…
By Abi Berwager Schreier

Khloé Kardashian Asked Twitter About Her Bump, & Moms Totally Delivered

Like her younger sister Kylie Jenner, Khloé Kardashian managed to keep most of her pregnancy a sort-of secret. But unlike Jenner, Kardashian chose to publicly announce her pregnancy several months before the baby's due date. While there's no wrong wa…
By Sophie Hirsh

21 Moms Share The Most Surprising Part About Having A C-Section

Honestly, I don't think we, as a culture, talk about C-sections nearly enough, especially considering so many mothers experience them. And because of a number of factors, the little we do talk about it always seems to be a familiar narrative: "It's n…
By Jamie Kenney

13 Yummy Instant Pot Recipes To Make Under 30 Minutes

An Instant Pot seems to be the must-have appliance in every kitchen these days. If you are anything like me and never knew the beauty of a Instant Pot, you are about to have your life changed. Basically, you put some ingredients into a pot, set the t…
By Kristin Manna

9 Things The First Six Months Of Motherhood Will Teach You About Your Baby

Personally, the first six months of motherhood was a mixed bag. I learned some harsh lessons about myself that made taking care of my baby seem overwhelming. For example, I was clueless, and no amount of research could help me feel like anything but …
By Steph Montgomery

11 Photos You *Must* Take During The Last Days Of Your Pregnancy

During my first pregnancy, I took a photo each week to document my growing belly. I stopped around 36 weeks, though. I hated how I looked in those pictures, and didn't think I'd want to relive those moments. I was wrong. My second pregnancy was a dum…
By Steph Montgomery

6 Red Flags To Definitely Look Out For After Your Baby Falls

The first time my infant son tried to take a few steps, he tumbled and bumped his head on the coffee table. My blood turned to ice in my veins and I froze. There truly isn't anything quite like the feeling a parent gets when their little one gets hur…
By Sarah Bunton

These 9 Instant Pot Recipes Will Make Even The Pickiest Eater Happy At The Table

Like any parent, I've had my share of parenting hits and misses, but one of my favorite "wins" is my daughter's diverse palate. I don't even know if I can take credit for it, but I would like to think I had something to do with her love for lentils, …
By Caroline Shannon-Karasik

Turns Out, Kim Kardashian's Favorite Mom Products Look A Lot Like Your Own Faves

Being a mom is really hard work, especially for the first few months, and Kim Kardashian West is no different in that regard. Now the mother of three, Kardashian says that there are a few products she just can't live without when it comes to raising …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

10 Things No One Tells You About Having A Baby In Your 30s

If you're like me, you evaluate the pros and cons of any major life decision. When my husband and I were considering starting a family, I thought about my career, education, and financial stability. I wanted to know how a pregnancy and childbirth wou…
By Steph Montgomery

Soda Might Hurt Your Fertility, Study Says, & Here's What You Can Do

Who doesn't love sugary drinks? I stopped drinking soda years ago, but I still love gulping down those fancy Starbucks coffee beverages. I don't have a big sweet tooth, but I am a sucker for sugar-sweetened beverages every now-and-then. Turns out, th…
By Annamarya Scaccia

5 Red Flags Your Toddler Isn't Eating Enough

Toddlers are notoriously picky eaters, at least in my experience. You offer mashed potatoes, they want french fries. You give them crackers, they scream for chips. It's frustrating, to be sure, but it's usually their way of vying for independence. It…
By Candace Ganger

35 Moms Share The Most Disgusting Things Their Husbands Do

I'm a human being who revels in challenges. I like when people present me with one, especially if they don't think I can meet or succeed it, and I like taking a challenge on, especially if it's unexpected. So when I aimed to uncover the most disgusti…
By Jamie Kenney

How Having Kids In Your 20s Affects You Later In Life

For parents, like myself, who had kids in their 20s, there are a number of questions that come to mind. When you're deciding what your future will look like, you'll likely consider what this means for your health, career, and more down the line. Thin…
By Tessa Shull

Study: Drinking Two Glasses Of Wine A Day Is Good For Your Mind — Here's Why

There’s more scientific proof that a daily drink or two isn't necessarily a bad thing and could have a place in an overall healthy lifestyle. A new study out of the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) in New York found that — in mice, at le…
By Tiffany Thomas

Research Says Eating Carbs Can Lead To A Healthy Pregnancy, So Bring On The Pasta

In the world of me, no food is better than bread. I know it's supposed to be pretty terrible for you, high in calories, low in protein, and full of that modern-day demon, gluten... but guys, it's really yummy. Especially warm out of the oven, when th…
By Jen McGuire

These Photos Of Prince George Then & Now Will Give You Serious Baby Fever

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are expecting their third child in Spring 2018. With all of the excitement surrounding the new baby, it's easy to forget all of the good times that have already passed. The couple's eldest is already well into the sc…
By Azure Hall

This Is, Hands Down, The *Grossest* Thing Babies Do Inside The Womb

Your baby's life in the womb may be safe and warm, but it's also kind of grody. Seriously, the whole process of growing into a human being includes more than a few icky moments along the way. But this is the grossest thing babies do inside the womb b…
By Lindsay E. Mack