Before I was pregnant, the notion of childbirth absolutely terrified me. I would cringe at all the grisly details when other moms shared their birth stories. However, once I was actually pregnant myself, I stopped worrying about the birth. I guess it was a combination of accepting the inevitable and a classic case of denial. Let's face it, there are lies every pregnant woman tells herself to get through childbirth, and those lies are as necessary as they are false.
I managed to avoid thinking about the big day right up until I had to write out my birth plan. At that moment, when I had to actually articulate everything I hoped to experience, I was forced to consider every small detail and every wish for the very first day of my baby's life. Due to a series of complications and emergencies, however, almost all of my plans had to be vetoed or ignored. For example, I wanted to soak in the birthing pool, but I ended up needing an IV. I wanted my husband to cut the cord, but he was sent home sick. I wanted to save the cord blood, but it ruptured and couldn't be saved.
So even though I told myself a bunch of lies in order to avoid the reality of birth, that birth happened regardless and reality of it all was messy, unexpected, and, honestly, quite beautiful. So hey, if lying to yourself in the following ways helps you get through the intense and amazing experience that is labor and delivery, I say lie your face off.
"I Have A High Pain Tolerance"
I don't care of you have your nipples pierced, are sporting six tattoos and broke your arm in three places in middle school. You have never experienced birth, until you have. You have never experienced that level of pain, until you have.
"I Won't Need Pain Relief"
If you don't, you rock. That's really all there is to it. Many women, however, think they won't need pain relief until they really need pain relief. The cool part, of course, is that those women rock, too.
"I Won't Yell At My Partner"
I'll admit that I hated the pop culture stereotype of birthing moms screaming at their partners and blaming them for the pain of childbirth. What I didn't account for, however, is the length of actual labor. It can go on for a really long time. For me, it was more than two days. Over the course of that marathon, you are bound to get irritated and take it out on those closest to you.
"I Won't Have [Insert Procedure Here]"
In my birthing plan I laid out the medication I didn't want to take, the procedures I didn't want to be subjected to, and the way I wanted the whole thing to go down.
Then a dramatic series of events unfolded and nothing went according to my plan.
"I'm Having A Natural Birth"
First and foremost, unless you give birth to an alien you will be giving birth "naturally." The idea that women don't experience "natural" births unless a birth goes a certain way sets women up for failure, in case anything does go "wrong" or in a way that wasn't considered prior to the reality of childbirth.
So, while most of us would probably prefer not to have any unnecessary interventions during childbirth, the fact remains that medical interventions save lives. That doesn't make a birth any less "natural," it just makes it incredible.
"Maybe It Will Be A Quick Birth"
Labor times vary wildly, but first-time moms can usually expect to be in labor for quite a while. In fact, most doctors and midwives suggest you don't make your way to hospital or birth center until you are experiencing regular, strong contractions.
"I Will Let Labor Start Naturally"
This sounds reasonable, but once you pass a certain point in your pregnancy (usually around week 42), your medical staff will either induce you out of necessity, or you'll simply be begging for them to get that baby out.
While it's pretty simple to say letting "nature take its course" is usually the best method, listen to your health care providers. Medical issues and problems can crop up when babies are late, and induction is in no way you "failing" at the whole childbirth thing.
"I Will Wait At Home"
I planned on remaining at home for the first part of labor. I thought I would watch TV and take baths and would only leave for the hospital when it was absolutely "go time."
Instead my early labor lasted so long that I thought "go time" arrived way before it actually had. Plus, the pain was really starting to ramp up. Imagine my "surprise" when I checked into the hospital only to find myself 3 cm dilated. Ugh.
So, sure, I told myself some white lies about childbirth prior to actually experiencing it. I did begin to forget the painful process once I was able to hold my beautiful baby, though, and that's the truth.