What I wouldn't have paid or given or sacrificed to be able to know what my baby was thinking those first few days, weeks and months of motherhood. As a new mom I felt completely clueless about what to do and how to do it, so some dialogue with the one person I was trying to care for definitely would have been helpful. However, I think the things your baby wants you to know about birth would have been just as helpful, if not more so. While it's impossible to say if my son was even aware of what was happening when he was being pushed form my body (probably not) or what he thought about the way in which he entered the world (he probably didn't have very many thoughts at all), I would like to think he has some feelings about the entire situation and, of course, I would like to think those feelings are positive.
In fact, I have to assume those feelings are positive because so many of the conversations surrounding the ways women give birth are, you know, not. There seems to be a current "birth war" going on in the culture of motherhood, and women are constantly forced to defend the way they gave birth from other women who are attacking them for the way they gave birth. The collective "we" now labels certain births "natural" and certain births "better" than others and it all seems like no matter what we do, as laboring women, we're doing something wrong. It's debilitating. It's disheartening. It's exhausting.
So, I'm choosing to take my son's (imagined) word for it, and believe that how I gave birth was the exact way I was supposed to give birth. Would my birth experience work for every single mother on the planet? Absolutely not. Is my birth experience negated by someone else's? Nope. Is my birth experience innately "better" than someone else's? No way, and when I need to remember that my birth was exactly what it needed to be, I just stop and think about my son I think about what he might have been thinking and, knowing who he is now (as a 2-year-old toddler) what he would have wanted me to know when I was so stressed and anxious and scared.
"You're Completely Capable..."
I don't know about you, dear reader, but I was terrified of childbirth and unsure as to whether or not I could handle it. For the most part, it was because I had never experienced it before. I knew it was going to be an intense, physical process and I started to doubt myself and whether or not I would be able to see it through (especially when my water broke and definitely when those contractions were two minute apart).
Of course, I could handle it and I did handle it and I would like to think that if my baby was cognizant of what was going on — and could articulate his thoughts — he would have been cheering me on from inside my body.
"...And You're Stronger Than You Think"
I was an athlete in high school and college, so I knew what my body was capable of (especially after some hard work). However, I didn't realize just how truly incredible my body was, and is, until I pushed another human being out of it. It's sad that I needed birth to remind me of what I was capable of, or that it was only until I went through something so demanding that I was able to appreciate my body and love my body and truly respect my body.
If only my kid could have reminded me that if my body made it through pregnancy, it could handle birth like the champ it is. I mean, I know my kid was busy being born and whatnot, but still. A little reminder wouldn't have hurt, my son.
"You Deserve To Feel Empowered And Comfortable"
I was "lucky" in that I had an incredible birth team that made me feel comfortable and capable and powerful from the moment my water broke and long after my son was placed in my arms. I hesitate to say "lucky" because that should be the norm and, honestly, the absolute minimum a healthcare provider or midwife provides you.
Still, that doesn't always happen so I'll remind you (probably because your baby would want me to, since I'm christening myself the official baby whisperer). You are a human being and, as such, you deserve to be respected. If someone is making you feel anything less than during your labor and delivery, kick them the hell out. This is your moment to do something truly incredible, and to enjoy said moment even when it's painful. Make sure the people who are part of the process are supportive.
"This Is Your Time To Be Selfish"
You don't need to worry about someone else's feelings or how your partner is doing or what your doctor has going on. You need to focus on yourself. You get to be unapologetically selfish and demanding and rude. You're the one in labor. You're the one doing all the physical work to be able to bring that baby into the world, even and especially if you're having a c-section (I mean, someone is literally cutting you open, you warrior woman you).
You'll have plenty of time to worry about the baby and, trust me, the baby will demand that you pay attention to him or her all the times. For now? Yeah, now it's all about you, mom.
"I Don't Care How You Gave Birth"
I wanted to have a drug-free birth, and went through 10 hours of drug-free labor before that want completely vanished. After those 10 excrutiating hours I asked (read: demanded) an epidural and I can tell you right now, my kid couldn't care less. My baby didn't pop out and ask me why I didn't have a "natural" birth. My son, who is now a 2-year-old toddler, doesn't bring up the fact that I had an epidural when I'm telling him to clean his room. I don't say anything to my mother about how she chose to gave birth. Why? Well, because no one cares.
No really. Seriously. Your baby couldn't give two sh*ts about the way you give birth. Don't get caught up in the "birth wars" and how you "should" give birth. If a home birth works for you, do it. If a water birth works, do it. If a hospital birth with all the drugs works, do it. If a scheduled c-section works, you make that phone call and get that surgery date on the books. Don't worry about having a "natural" birth because — unless you're birthing an alien — all births are natural. Your baby just wants to meet you and, in the end, they won't care how you go about facilitating that first meet and greet.
"I Don't Think Anyone Is Going To Care If You Poop. I Plan On Doing It All The Time."
Believe it or not, no one is going to care (including you) if you poop during labor and delivery. No, really. There will be someone there to clean it up so quickly you probably won't even notice.
Plus, that labor poop will be one poop in an endless line of weird, disgusting, smelly, inconvenient poops you're likely to experience as a mother. Your kid is going to be all about poop, so I guarantee you that they won't care if you poop while you're trying to push them out of your body. If anything, it just prepares everyone for the future.
"I Know You're Going To Be A Great Mom"
You are. You're going to be an awesome mom, and I truly believe that's a thought every baby is born with. That's why your baby is going to reach for you the moment they're brought into this world. That's why your baby is going to cry for you when they're hungry or scared or unsure or in pain. That's why your baby will sense your mood and react accordingly. That's why your baby will grow up to be the toddler that runs to you when they're hurt and tells you they love you and demands a goodnight kiss, each and every night before they go to bed.
Your kid already knows you're going to be great. After all, you did a pretty bang up job of giving them a comfortable and safe home for the last 40 or so weeks.
"I Can't Wait To Meet You, Either"
I feel confident assuming that every woman who goes into labor is excited to meet her little one (or ones). Is she also probably a little scared? Sure. I mean, I know I was. However, I was just so damn happy that the beginning of labor meant the end of my pregnancy and the first time I would see my son, face-to-face.
I hope that he was as excited to see me as I was to see him. I'd like to think that he was just as impatient as I was, so he pulled that "flush" lever and got the show on the road because, well, it was time for him to meet his mom. Yeah, I'm just going to say that's how it all went down.
"Sorry About The Pain And Stuff"
No way your kid doesn't think this. Sure, they can't say it, but I guarantee you they think it.
And if they don't, one day they will. I called my mother a few hours after I had my son and did not nothing but apologize. I was so sorry I put my mother through the very same thing I had just endured. So if your baby isn't thinking they're sorry for the pain now, they will one day. Trust me.