Birth is notorious for being terrifying, painful, and something no one actually misses. Like, ever. But once the dust settles and a mom becomes familiar and comfortable with her new life and her newborn babe, it's not uncommon for her to find herself thinking, "I miss labor and delivery." Whether you had a home birth, a medicated birth in a hospital, a scheduled c-section, a water birth at a birthing center, or some mix of any of the above, there are so many unique, wonderful, and memorable moments a woman experiences during labor and delivery that are, well, hard to not wax nostalgic about.

Giving birth can teach you so many different things; about yourself, your body, and your character. It can give you magical moments with your partner — moments that cannot be replicated in any other setting — and it can introduce new and helpful people into your life whom you'll never, ever forget. Can birth be tremendously scary and horrifically painful? Sure. But even in the scariest, most emotional and taxing of moments, there's wonder and happiness and so much joy you simply don't know what to do with yourself. That is, perhaps, what makes labor and delivery so difficult to describe to those who haven't experienced it before: It's an overwhelming tapestry of pain and delight.

So if you find yourself thinking back on your birthing experience with this odd sense of longing, know that you're not alone. Here are 12 things you never thought you'd miss about childbirth, because life is never just good or just bad. It's always a wonderful combination of both.

That Mix Of Fear And Excitement


When you realize it's officially "go time" — whether it was after your water broke or after you were induced — you become overwhelmed with this unforgiving concoction of fear and excitement. The adrenaline is pumping and the fears are forming and you know you're walking towards the edge of the cliff, preparing to jump off and start new, with a new little friend by your side.

Being Constantly Cared For

Giving birth is one of the few times in your adult life when the world will ever revolve around you. You're the center of everyone's attention, you're being cared for on a minute-by-minute basis, and you're being truly heard (hopefully). Once that baby comes into the world, attention shifts and you're no longer the only life being cared for. Like, I don't miss what was happening to my vagina, but I do miss people bringing me ice chips and snacks whenever I asked for them.

The Moments Spent Preparing


Even at their most stressful, the moments you spent preparing to meet your baby are something to be missed. Your mind runs away with itself, wild and unabashed, and you just can't help but imagine what you're in for, both good and bad. It's just another example of how the absolute best in life is usually intertwined with the scary and the difficult. Is birth taxing? You bet. Is it absolutely incredible? Yes. Yes yes yes.

Giving Your Family And Friends Updates

If you or your partner is able and down for it, giving your close friends and family members updates is just freakin' fun. Everyone is anxiously waiting to hear about your new babe, so you feel like you're some D-list celebrity who people kind of care about sometimes, for a moment.

Realizing How Strong Your Body Is


Giving birth is an extreme test of the body's capabilities. I think someone would be hard-pressed to find a woman who knew just how extraordinary her body really and truly was, before she had a baby. Yes, women, regardless of whether or not they've had a baby, can absolutely know how awesome their body is, but I don't think any single event in a woman's life can easily put all that power right there in front of you, where you can't possibly miss it. Whether you walked into your birth nervous, scared, excited, or confident, I can guarantee that the things your body does while you're giving birth will leave you in awe.

The Connection You And Your Partner Share

The moment your partner puts your hand in theirs, while kissing your forehead and telling you that you're marvelous and you can do this; The seconds after your babe is born and you two kiss in a way you've never truly kissed before; When your partner catches your baby or holds your baby for the first time... It's all magic. Just pure magic.

That Moment When Pooping In Front Of Strangers Is No Big Deal


Giving birth is the first time since you were in diapers that pooping in front of people is totally normal and acceptable. Seriously you guys, when you're giving birth and some poop comes out, someone will clean it up for you. That's the dream.

Free Range To Say Whatever You Want

It doesn't matter if you're screaming at your team of nurses and doctors, telling them to take a long walk off a short pier (in a very different way, with far-more colorful language) or you're telling your partner that you hate them and you hope they break their collar bone, everyone still loves you. It's all understandable, it's all allowed, and you're not responsible for what comes out of your mouth when you're bringing another life into the world. It's a golden time, people.

Your Nurses And Doctors


I don't know about you, but I so miss the team that helped me deliver my son. Whether you had a pregnancy that required multiple doctors and nurses, or you had a home birth and it was just you, your partner, and a midwife, the people who assisted you in welcoming another addition to your family are people you never truly forget.

The Time In Between Contractions

The contractions are painful (oh, haven't you heard?) but the few, precious moments in between surges are like tiny gifts from the birthing gods. You get to take a breath, prepare yourself, and remind your body that it was made to do this amazing thing it's doing. You might even pass out, cold asleep, in between especially intense contractions. You might not enjoy these moments as they happen, but looking back, you'll miss feeling vulnerable and powerful, all at once.

How Comfortable Everyone Is With Nudity


Nudity is not only required, it is simultaneously celebrated and ignored. What a woman's body does is revered, even if it is sometimes uncomfortable and definitely not considered a "social norm." When you're giving birth, your lower half is completely exposed and not a single person minds. Or you're just totally naked, which a lot of women choose to be while giving birth (sorry, but who has time for clothes when all that is going on?). Directly after you give birth, if you choose to make a go at breastfeeding, your boobs are totally out there and, once again, no one bats an eye. It's a beautiful time in a woman's life (and sadly one of the very, very few) where her body isn't sexualized, stigmatized, or judged; it is simply given the space to be.

Believe It Or Not, Delivery Itself

It's a weird thing to even say out loud and I'm sure not everyone actually misses a human coming out of either their vagina or an incision in their stomach, but there are also plenty of women who do. You're exhausted but you're rejuvenated; you're terrified but you're so ready and willing for this next step in your life; you're wishing you had more time and you just can't wait to meet your baby. It's one of those moments that are simply impossible to describe, yet universally understood by many women around the world.