Giving birth can make even the most confident, self-assured woman feel vulnerable and scared. I mean, a human being is literally bursting from your person. It's intense. It's overwhelming. It's a big freakin' deal. Couple the immense physical and emotional aspects of labor and delivery with pre-determined schedules, hospital staff (if you decide to birth in a hospital), and the needs of your support system, and it can be difficult to advocate for yourself. Even so, there are some things all grown-ass women do while giving birth.
A grown-ass woman isn't going to stop herself from getting what she needs in order to birth a healthy baby safely, effectively, and on her own terms (when medically possible). There are so many things that can complicate a birth, so many unforeseen issues that can present themselves, so many problems that even the most well-planned mother couldn't possibly predict, but a grown-ass woman will handle them and birth like the #bossbitch she is. Sometimes that means making sure your birth plan is respected. Other times, it means deviating from your birth plan so that your baby can enter this world as safely as possible. Sometimes it means, well, whatever you decide it means.
Either way, a grown-ass woman isn't going to be afraid to do these 12 things while she's giving birth, because even though labor and delivery is a vulnerable experience, it's also a wonderfully empowering one.
Speak Her Mind
Giving birth can be an overwhelming experience, regardless of how prepared you are, or feel you are. Your environment (especially in a hospital) can be daunting, and as you experience arguably one of the most life-changing moments of your life, speaking your mind can feel more difficult than normal. A grown-ass woman is going to acknowledge any feelings of intimidation and allow herself those but also recognize her absolute right to say what she needs. Whether it's refusing unnecessary interventions, turning on some music, walking the halls/walking outside, or simply making sure she's a comfortable as possible, a grown-ass woman is going to let people know what she's thinking, when she's thinking, and with little-to-no explanation. You can have an explanation tomorrow, not today when she's pushing a human out of her body.
Ask For A Staff Change
If you're in the hospital (and it's your first pregnancy) chances are you'll meet a lot of people, during multiple shift changes. Most of those people — nurses, doctors, medical staff, etc. — are wonderful at their job and completely supportive and seem to get you in a way that's kind of surprising, but totally awesome and necessary. However, there's always a chance that you won't see eye-to-eye with someone on your staff, and that person will make you feel uncomfortable. As a grown-ass woman, you can require that this person — who maybe said something condescending, didn't make you feel secure, seemed to be judgmental — not be part of your labor and delivery experience. You're extremely vulnerable when you're giving birth, and if you're not connecting and/or feeling unsafe around a particular individual, well, that particular individual gotsta go.
Ask For What She Wants
Whether it's food, a well-thought out playlist carefully crafted over the course of several months, a set of Grey's Anatomy seasons that highlight the power that is McDreamy's romantic gaze, or something that I have failed to mention; a grown-ass woman isn't going to be afraid to ask for what she wants. A laboring woman's mental state is so very important and plays such a vital part in her ability to bring another human being into the world. So, whatever helps her do that, is something she is going to ask for/demand/make sure she gets in a timely fashion.
Demand An Environment That Assists Her
What constitutes a "calming environment" varies from person to person. For instance, I have a good friend who required absolute silence while she brought her child into the world. I, on the other hand, needed heavy-metal music played far too loudly in order to birth my son. What a woman needs to "get into the labor and delivery zone" so-to-speak, is as unique as she is, and a grown-ass woman is going to make sure her environment is conducive to the amazing thing she's about to do. Even if it's inconvenient for someone, goes against what others require, or seems somewhat strange, she's going to make sure that she feels comfortable to contract and push and do what she needs to do, like the boss she is.
Not Worry About Inconveniencing Others
Women are told — from a young, impressionable age — that one of the worst things you can be is "inconvenient." Whether it's choosing not to have sex with someone and putting them in that dreaded "friend zone" or simply speaking your mind at a decibel that makes privileged men uncomfortable, women are constantly being told to shrink their bodies and voices as to not be "impose." Well, not only is that ridiculous, but if there was ever a time when a woman should feel comfortable being an "inconvenience," it's when she's doing the damn-near impossible by birthing another human being. So a grown ass woman won't care if her asking for something is a pain for someone else, because hell, she deserves support in that moment, regardless.
Refuse Medication She Doesn't Want
No two births are the same, and neither are any two hospitals. I had a wonderful experiencing giving birth in a hospital, and was in no way pressured to have an epidural, have Pitocin, or birth my son in a certain amount of time. However, many women do feel that pressure, from hospitals and medical staff that want to move the birthing process along in a manner that is most convenient for them, not the mother or the baby. A grown ass-woman, when faced with a doctor or nurse suggesting medical and/or pharmaceutical interventions she doesn't want, will refuse if she chooses. If she wants to birth sans medication, she will let her nursing staff know.
Roll With The Inevitable Changes Of Plans...
No matter how meticulous and detailed your birth plan is, chances are it will change. Of course, this isn't 100 percent guaranteed, and many women who walk into a labor and delivery wing of a hospital or meet their doula at their front door or calmly enter into a birthing center get the birth they passionately planned for. Others, however, do not, and labor and delivery complications are a very real thing that demand the alteration of even the most steadfast birthing plan. A grown-ass woman is able to deal with those unforeseen changes, and adjust accordingly, even when it's downright terrifying.
...But Also Advocate For Her Birth Plan
That said, a grown-ass woman isn't going to be afraid to stand up for her birth plan when necessary. While some complications cannot be helped and new plans are, sadly, medically necessary, others are not, and when a woman realizes that her birth plan is being altered not out of necessity, but out of convenience, she's going to put a stop to that as soon as possible.
She won't be afraid to ask questions so that she can stay as informed as possible. I mean, most likely, you've read all of the birthing books and took the birthing classes and asked your mom-friends all the detailed questions; so asking a nurse why he's doing this, or a doctor why she's doing that, is child's play at this point. After all, the health of your baby — and yourself — is at stake, so asking someone a question and requiring them to stop and answer is just good, common sense.
...And Demand Explanations
And if someone (whether it's a doula, a nurse, a doctor, or a supportive family friend who you have lovingly invited into the labor and delivery process) acts like you asking questions is a pain, you won't care. You'll demand and answer before anyone proceeds with anything, because this is your body and your baby and your experience. Everyone deserves body ownership, and complete knowledge of the situation is paramount in feeling in control.
Kick Someone Out Of The Room
Even the most supportive, loving, well-intentioned individual can become a nuisance in the delivery room. Whether you're at home or you're in the hospital, who you surround yourself with while you're doing something so physically, mentally and emotionally exhausting, matters. So if it's a nurse or a friend or a family member or hey, even your mom, if you have to ask them to leave so you can concentrate, you're going to demand they leave so you can concentrate. Trust me, they'll understand. (Or not, and really, the most important thing is that you're safe and comfortable.)
Labor At Her (And Her Baby's) Own Pace
Labor and delivery varies from woman to woman, and there isn't an end-all-be-all, set schedule in which a child should arrive. However, many hospitals are notorious for pushing women into having a baby before their body — or their baby — is ready. Medications like Pitocin, which can be very helpful and life-saving, are sometimes administered with no medical reason, as a means to advance labor more quickly. A grown-ass woman is going to demand that labor and delivery happen at her pace, when her body and her baby are ready. It doesn't matter if she experiences multiple nurse shift changes or her doctor has to miss some pre-scheduled engagement, she is going to demand that she has the time to let her body do what it does.