Labor and delivery are pretty terrifying. I just can't sugarcoat it, because my childbirth experiences were everything my nightmares are made of. OK, maybe I'm being slightly dramatic, but it's called labor for a reason and that reason is to terrify us. If you're like me, your brain uses the months you're pregnant to conjure up all kinds of potential problems that could arise. Still, it's worth mentioning that there are totally normal things about labor you probably shouldn't worry about. Does knowing you shouldn't worry mean you won't worry? Eh, probably not. Still, it's helpful to recenter yourself every now and then.
During my first labor experience, I had a lot of preconceived notions as to what would occur. Some of those notions came true, unfortunately, but others? Yeah, not so much. Pregnancy really made my mind wander towards the most absurd fears, so hen I'm scaring myself into believing I'll die from pushing (which is a totally rational thing to be afraid of, btw) it's time to re-evaluate what to focus my energy on.
The thing is, when I actually went through labor legitimately most things I worried about weren't an issue. At all. All the anxiety and time spent obsessing over "what if" did me no good, and actually only made me dread an event that should've just been celebrated (however painful). With that, here's some totally normal things you don't need to waste your time worrying about. Unless you're me, in which case worrying is kind of your thing.
How Painful The Whole Thing Will Be
I worried excessively about how much pain I'd endure during labor when actually, while going through it, it was different than I thought it'd be. Yes, everything hurt, but it was another level of pain. It was a temporary thing with a worthwhile purpose and once I was in labor I honestly wasn't obsessed with the pain. Instead, I just did what I had to in order to push past it and hold my new baby.
How To Tell You're Actually In Labor
When I was pregnant, I couldn't help but fixate on wondering whether or not I'd be able to tell when going into labor. Then life played a fun joke on me when my doctors scheduled an induction and there was no need to know if my contractions were false, if my water would break in public, or if I'd sleep through the important parts and accidentally deliver at home. Basically, I wish I'd just chilled on these thoughts because in the end, they weren't even possibilities.
If You'll Get To The Hospital On Time
Worrying about when I'd go into labor and then if I'd get to the hospital before my baby shot out of my body was, well, all useless. Until I knew I was being induced, all the excessive paranoia only stressed me and the baby out for literally no good reason. Plus, babies rarely come that quickly and, if anything, you'll be in labor a long while, like I was (three days!).
How Long You'll Be In Labor
Well, because my labor did last half-a-damn week, I guess all the worrying about this "normal thing" was legit. But every woman's labor is different, right? Right?!
How Many People Get To Watch
No need to obsess over all the people coming in and out of your room to get a closer look at your whole situation, because it's not that big of a deal. There came a point in my labor when I didn't care how many watched, I just wanted the baby out of me already!
Plus, with all the doctor checks and nurse's poking around, it becomes second nature long before you think it will. If anyone gives you hell, just kick 'em out.
If You'll Poop
Most women poop during labor and delivery. I did with both children and because I had zero control over my body, I can't and won't apologize. Don't stress about it.
If The Pain Medication Will Fail
No point in wondering whether or not your epidural will withstand the excruciating pain of childbirth, or if it'll completely fail and you'll feel every bit. My epidural didn't work, and I felt everything, but there's honestly no way to know how your body will respond to medication until you decide using medication is the right choice for you.
I stressed myself out over the meds not numbing things and, well, guess what? I was right! All it did was build up the anxiety long before I should've thought about it, because worrying about a situation won't change the inevitability of that situation.
If You'll Experience Unexpected Complications
If it was within the realm of possibility, I worried about it all through my pregnancy. A breach birth, an emergency c-section, my baby's head bruising if they had to use the vacuum, whether or not my baby would even come out, ever and, well, you get the idea. You can name it, and I can promise you I stayed up all night thinking about it. I had visions of being rushed on a gurney for a plethora of reasons I remembered from TV shows, but not a single one actually happened. I had some complications with my son, but all-in-all nothing serious enough to deserve such constant, needless, worry.
If You'll Die
I can't be the only one who fears death during childbirth. It happens, however it is less common than it used to be (thank you modern medicine), but is typically linked to poor prenatal care. However, thinking about it until I was crying did me no good. It's a normal fear to have, but worrying too much about it before I ever went through labor was pointless. I get that the unknown is scary, but take my advice and invest that energy elsewhere. Like, literally anywhere else.