The manner in which Hollywood portrays labor and delivery is a travesty. They paint such a vivid, unrealistic, and often comedic version of it when, in reality, it's a truly beautiful event. OK, yes, also it's painful and scary, especially the first time around, and some people have legitimately traumatic labors and births, but for most of us (the very lucky ones), getting a baby from the inside of our bodies to the outside is... mostly just really amazing. When you think about the things that happen when you give birth — the symphonic harmony of your body, your baby, and your medical staff all working together so fluently — it's nothing short of impressive as hell, and a massive reminder of the power your wield at all times as a healthy human woman (and honestly, what could be more awesome than getting a reminder of that and a cute-ass baby to snuggle?).
I think that's where my fascination of labor and delivery stems from: experiencing the stunning, almost superhuman-like power that I felt during my own deliveries. It was almost as if time slowed down just enough for me to mindfully embrace each moment of my life changing as everything aligned around me perfectly to bring my kids into the world. And though I still wasn't sure if I was ready, or if I ever would be, and I was in a mind-numbing (unfortunately, not body-numbing) amount of pain, witnessing my life completely change in a matter of mere hours was extraordinary.
My labors were far from pain-free (pro tip that you can take or leave: If you have decided to get an epidural, go ahead and get it when your pain borders unbearable after the Pitocin kicks in. Don't be a hero.) but I still remember them fondly. So fondly, in fact, that there are aspects of them that I actually miss. Yes, really. No, I'm not drunk.
The Nurses Were Basically Angels And/Or Fairy Godmothers That Always Had Your Back
Though there are undoubtedly a few Nurse Ratcheds out there, I can almost guarantee you that they don't clock into the labor and delivery ward. Nurses are grossly underestimated saints, especially those specializing in labor and delivery. They know from the start that you're going to be in pain, that you're scared, and that birthing a human isn't something that you're incredibly accustomed to — but, thankfully, they are used to it. They have got your back from start to finish and, from my experiences at least, truly enjoy witnessing the miracle of life during the birth of your child. They're the all-knowing aunts we wish we had all the time (but if we only get to have them for a day or two, we'll gladly choose our labor, thanks very much).
Waiting To Go Into Labor Was So Exciting
Your friends and family are waiting by their phones, and you know that their hearts stop a little every time they get a text or call. Even just knowing that kind of nervous-anxious-can't-wait energy is happening out there in the world — all based on what's happening with you, your life, your body, your baby — can make waiting to go into labor the most electric few days and weeks ever. Counting contractions, though obviously painful, can be oddly exhilarating. The closer they are together, the closer you are to the main event. With every cringe, twinge, and wince brought on by pain the arrival of your baby nears. It's sort of like a New Year's countdown, only with zero champagne.
Everyone Wanted To Take Care Of You
Look, you can obviously take care of yourself, but, I mean, who wants to all the time? Isn't it nice to have aid at your beckon call when you need it? Having others take care of you for once allows you to focus on the task at hand: delivering your baby, the result of which will require your undivided attention and care for years to come, so enjoy the pampering while your still can.
Feeling Like An Actual Superhero
I have never felt stronger than I did when I was in labor with both of my boys. And although I was in a seriously excruciating amount of pain (labor-accelerating drugs are the damn devil, in case you were wondering), I have never felt more in tune with my body. It's almost as if some greater intelligence temporarily took over my mind, allowing me to overcome the discomfort and keep myself conscious enough to bring my babies into the world. If there is such a thing as Superwoman, she's got nothing on laboring moms.
The Ice Chips Were Actually Kinda Top Notch
When you're in labor and very few things offer the much needed comfort that your mind and body crave, and cheeseburger consumption is completely off the table, the proposition of a bucket of ice chips is kind of tantalizing. What is it about hospital ice chips? They're the perfect size and consistency, and basically represent a life raft during a long day of drowning in pain and confusion. Seriously, I would pay good money for ice chips even comparable to hospital caliber.
Falling In Love At First Sight
Labor and delivery bring about all the emotions: fear, hope, pain, helplessness, strength, and elation are among the many loops that the roller coaster of bringing a baby in this world will take you to. It's true what they say about forgetting about the pain once you meet your baby: All of the pain, all of the anxiety, all of the doubts are erased in a single moment. You have to do a lot of hard and annoying and painful things in life — but very few of them are capped off by the arrival of a new tiny person for you to love. It's not...the worst.
Images: Hannah Murphy; Giphy(6)