When babies are born on TV, childbirth seems like such a neat and tidy process. When your water breaks it looks like a magical waterfall, and labor involves very little blood. Yeah, I'm sorry to say that the real deal is nothing like what you've seen on television. Childbirth is gross. I'm not uniquely #blessed by a disgusting labor and delivery experience, either. That's why I asked other moms to share the most disgusting part of labor and delivery for them, too. I mean, why should I have all the foul smelling, viscous fluids, poop-filled fun?
Every single person I talked to had a gross childbirth experience. Every. Single. One. And when you think about it, I don't know why anyone would expect it to go differently. There's just no way an experience that involves either pushing a baby out of your vagina or having it cut out via an invasive abdominal surgery would be anything other than ghastly.
But if this experience is nearly universal, why is it so surprising? I think it's at least partly because we, as a culture, don't we talk about it. It's just another way we romanticize childbirth and set the bar unrealistically high for women and other people who give birth. Not only do you have to birth that baby, you also have to look great while doing it. So yeah, if you are pregnant you should know that childbirth is gross. It involves all sorts of bodily fluids, and some solids, too. Talking about it doesn't make it any less of a miracle or badass experience, and these moms admitting that it's messy, smelly, wet, and disgusting is a good place to start moving past the stigma.
"The night I went into labor, I was seriously craving tacos. My wonderful partner happily obliged and I gorged myself on soft tacos, putting a generous helping of hot sauce on each one. I probably had 10 tacos. I went into labor 30 minutes later. I pooped so much when I started pushing. I couldn't feel my contractions, but I could feel myself sh*tting the bed. My nurse changed the pad at least 10 times. I felt so disgusting!"
"Poo. Mine. In the midwife’s hand."
"When they broke my water and it was full of meconium. Like having dark green piss with chunks. Kinda like my vagina vomited."
"Mucus. Plug. Like a giant booger that fell out of my vagina and splatted on the bathroom floor."
"When my water broke as I was laboring on a birthing ball in my living room. And it was full of meconium, aka baby poop. Gross."
"My daughter pooped all over me, and then I had a massive hemorrhage so by the time I got to shower 12 hours later I was covered in crusty blood and meconium."
"I did not know that labor can make you vomit. Like, continuously, for hours. I started throwing up as I checked into the hospital and kept throwing up until [my daughter] came out 12 hours later. I threw up all over myself and down into my sports bra, but I was beyond caring. Finally, one of the nurses asked if I wanted her to cut the bra off me. Also, my poor friend who was at the hospital with me is emetophobic and I definitely threw up on her a little bit."
"My husband would say the moment when my OB-GYN accidentally nicked my intestine during my emergency C-Section, and he got to not only see my intestines outside my body, but smell them at the source. I was way too out of it to have any idea what was going on."
"I don’t know if it was the grossest, since it’s all pretty gross, but the most embarrassing was when they broke my water and it was like a tsunami onto the hospital bed. I thought it was over, and they sort of had things cleaned up, but then every time I moved more would gush out. I kept apologizing. It was mortifying to me since I was still hours and hours from actual birth. Everyone’s just chilling in my room, waiting for things to progress, as I’m over here flooding the bed continually."
"During my C-section, when they cut my uterus it ruptured the amniotic sack. Amniotic fluid and blood gushed everywhere, including all over both OB-GYNs, several nurses, the anesthesiologist, and my husband."
"The worst part for me was when they put the mirror between my legs and I saw my vagina. Swollen, purple, wet, bloody. It was horrifying.
"I only labored for about eight hours, but I puked. A lot. After the first few times, neither the nurses or my husband could get anything to me in time, and I was just puking all over myself. So glamorous."
"My own body odor. I could not believe how bad the dress I labored and delivered in smelled."
"I pooped in the tub with my first. Without blinking, my sister-in-law scooped it out with her bare hands."
"At the end, just as baby emerged, I could smell poo. I thought it was mine as I was sure I felt something come out my bum and started apologizing. I was a bit spaced out, and they were trying to explain that the baby had pooped just as she emerged. I then said, 'Well something came out my bum,' and the midwife whispered, 'hemorrhoids.'"
Check out Romper's new video series, Bearing The Motherload, where disagreeing parents from different sides of an issue sit down with a mediator and talk about how to support (and not judge) each other’s parenting perspectives. New episodes air Mondays on Facebook.