Becoming a mother for the first time was scary, exhilarating, wonderful, painful, and amazing. Like many moms-to-be, I felt nervous and unsure about childbirth. Yes, you can read all the books, attend every class, and ask for all the advice, but you don't know what labor and delivery is truly like until you've experienced it. Luckily, there are empowering quotes about giving birth that can fill even the most nervous of pregnant women with a sense of calm and purpose.
Obviously, there isn't a one-size-fits-all way to give birth, which is why there's no one "right" way to feel about it either. Whether you know in advance that you want all the drugs available to help you get through childbirth, plan to give birth without pain medication, or have scheduled a C-section, your birth experience will be uniquely yours. But looking at what others have said about labor and delivery can help you keep your eye on the prize, and remind you that you're just as capable and powerful as any other person who has given birth.
Your baby’s birth day will be unforgettable, and regardless of whether or not everything goes according to your birth plan or you find yourself making different choices during the process. So for some inspiration to give you the strength and encouragement to do something as incredible and taxing as giving birth, read on:
“In this way, every birth is a natural birth: each of us is part of nature, not separate from it, and nature is always stunning in its variety. Your birth, then, is part of the natural world, however it unfolds.” — Lauralyn Curtis
For Lauralyn Curtis, the childbirth educator behind the Curtis method, all births are "natural" births. Every birth experience will be different, but ya'all are goddesses, whether you give birth without pain medication, choose an epidural, or have a C-section.
"There is nothing that anyone can say to prepare you for childbirth. Each woman's experience is so different; you never know how it will be for you!" — Poppy Montgomery
Actress and mom to three kids, Poppy Montgomery, knows a thing or two about birth, mainly that it's a totally personal experience and you can't predict what's going to happen. Instead, you might want to relax and simply try to enjoy the ride. You've got this.
"Childbirth is more admirable than conquest, more amazing than self-defense, and as courageous as either one." — Gloria Steinem
Feminist icon Gloria Steinem might never have given birth herself, but she recognizes the courage it takes and the inherent power in the experience of bringing a baby into the world.
"My dream is that every woman, everywhere, will know the joy of a truly safe, comfortable, and satisfying birthing for herself and her baby.” — Marie Mongan
Hypnobirthing founder Marie Mongan is pretty much an expert in providing powerful words of encouragement to moms-to-be. And she's right: as a laboring woman you deserve to feel safe and comfortable, no matter what.
"Nothing in life is to be feared. It is only to be understood." — Marie Curie
As the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, mom Marie Curie was a total badass and had plenty of experience blazing new trails. Her advice for doing anything scary is to employ the scientific method. In other words, get all of the information you can about birth and understand the process to feel empowered to conquer your fears.
"There is power that comes to women when they give birth. They don’t ask for it, it simply invades them. Accumulates like clouds on the horizon and passes through, carrying the child with it.” — Sheryl Feldman
Sheryl Feldman, author of A Midwives Story, speaks of power inherent in the process of birth. It's like a force of nature that empowers you with the strength you need to make it through.
'"The instant of birth is exquisite. Pain and joy are one at this moment. Ever after, the dim recollection is so sweet that we speak to our children with a gratitude they never understand." — Madeline Tiger
There's no doubt about it, birth is probably going to hurt. But, as poet and mother Madeline Tiger describes it, it's a different kind of pain; one that comes also with such great joy. You can do it, and the rewards are great.
“Women, don’t ever apologize for your behavior or choices during birth. When you OWN your experience and take pride in your journey, you help other women do the same thing. No matter how you did it, you just brought a human being into the world! The world should be kneeling at your feet.” — Lauralyn Curtis
Childbirth educator Lauralyn Curtis reminds us that no matter what choices you make during what's bound to be a messy, overwhelming, and amazing birth experience, you should be proud of yourself. You are a total badass.
"No woman should ever feel guilty about the choices she makes regarding childbirth, breastfeeding, or the manner in which she cares for her baby." — Amy Tuteur, MD
Amy Tuteur, MD, OB-GYN, mother to four, and author of Push Back: Guilt in the Age of Natural Parenting, wants all women to feel empowered about their birth experiences, and not have an ounce of guilt about how things went down or the choices they made during delivery. Do what you want, and what you need, to make it through birth safely, my friends, and don't let the haters make you feel ashamed about it.
"If I don’t know my options, I don’t have any.” — Diana Korte
Author Diana Korte wants women to feel empowered with all of the information they need to make informed choices about birth with their health care providers. The more you know, the less scary birth is and the more prepared you are for what's to come.
"In giving birth to our babies, we may find that we give birth to new possibilities within ourselves." — Myla Kabat-Zinn
Maternity nurse, mom, and childbirth educator Myla Kabat-Zinn views birth as a process of change, becoming mothers and discovering new possibilities within ourselves
"I had a C-section and I found it fascinating. I didn’t find it a sacrifice and I didn’t find it a painful experience. I found it a fascinating miracle of what a body can do." — Angelina Jolie
When daughter Shiloh was born via C-section, Angelina Jolie didn't feel like a failure. She was actually pretty damn proud of what she could do, and with the help of modern medicine, to see her daughter come safely into the world. Amazing.
“That first pregnancy is a long sea journey to a country where you don’t know the language, where land is in sight for such a long time that after a while it’s just the horizon – and then one day birds wheel over that dark shape and it’s suddenly close, and all you can do is hope like hell that you’ve had the right shots.” — Emily Perkins
Actress Emily Perkins reminds us that birth is just the beginning. You've got so much ahead of you as a mom, and you can do handle whatever motherhood throws your way, too.
"Giving birth and being born brings us into the essence of creation, where the human spirit is courageous and bold and the body, a miracle of wisdom.”— Harriette Hartigan
Birth photographer Harriette Hartigan has been photographing birth since 1975, capturing the magic of the process and acknowledging the courage of new mothers with this quote about the wisdom and beauty of the process.