I wasn't really prepared for childbirth, and not for lack of trying. I read books, attended classes, and asked every mom I knew questions, but when push came to shove (literally) I had no idea what I was in for, how I would feel, or what I would be allowed or expected to do. I thought I would be treated with respect and kindness, but I wasn't. To make matters worse, there were so many things I needed that I was actually afraid to ask for when I was in labor.
Anyone who knows me is probably shocked to learn that I was afraid to speak up and advocate for myself. I mean, I'm kind of an extreme extrovert, so most of the time I totally ask for what I need, when I need it, and without hesitation. But when it came to giving birth the first two times, I ended up having to advocate for myself and, and a result, dealt with some serious shaming from the very people who were supposed to be there to provide support. That, my friends, shouldn't happen.
I honestly get angry just thinking about it. I mean, childbirth is hard enough without feeling afraid to speak up when you need something because you fear being shamed by your partner, your health care providers, or other moms. That's totally how it was for me, though, and it kept me from asking for the following things: