While there are so many unknowns associated with pregnancy, there as one undeniable fact I didn't like focusing on: my pregnancy was going to end... in pain. How much pain remained to be seen, but I knew chances were high that I would tear. A lot of women are afraid they'll "never be the same" after childbirth, but after two kids I can assure you it's more than possible. So if you're thinking about labor and delivery and cringing, hopefully the reasons why I didn't care if I tear during childbirth can help assuage your fears.
It sounds like a cliché, but even the worst moments of pain were ones I forgot as soon as my baby was laid in my exhausted, aching arms. And you know what I didn't think about, even once, during the entire labor and delivery process? Vaginal tearing. I was too focused on getting my babies out to worry about what was going to happen in order for me to do so.
The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists estimates that anywhere between 53 and 79 percent of vaginal deliveries result in some vaginal tearing. And while it doesn't make it any less terrible or traumatizing for some women, pregnancy prepares the body for this potential outcome of childbirth. Mary Jane Minkin, M.D., a clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Yale Medical School, tells Self that the hormone relaxin [stretches] tissue and moves the pubic bone to let the kid out of there." The point? Don't stress about any of it until you have to. Here's why I didn't:
Because It's Going To Hurt Anyway
As someone who suffered a third-degree tear while giving birth to my second child, I can tell you tearing won't be on your mind during childbirth. Why? Well, because there's already plenty of pain to focus on. I know that's not particularly encouraging, but it's true. Birth is going to hurt regardless, and you're going to be in pain and sore regardless of how you gave birth.
Because I Have Other Things To Worry About
Both my labors lasted multiple days, which means I endured multiple days of discomfort and pain. As my contractions increased in intensity, the only thing I could focus on was getting through each one and resting in between. And when the fatigue set in, all I could focus on was finding ways to rest so I could have the strength to push when it was time. And when I was starving and told I wasn't allowed to eat anything, all I could focus on was the gigantic meal waiting for me when the entire ordeal was over.
Honestly, I worried about my mom and mother-in-law seeing things I didn't want them to see way before I worried about tearing. There are so many things going on in the labor and delivery room, that your mind is going to go into triage mode and only focus on the things that matter most.
Because Someone's Scary Story Doesn't Have To Be My Own
I wanted to feel as prepared and informed as possible, so I asked all types of moms all kinds of questions about labor and delivery. Turns out, that wasn't all that necessary. Every pregnancy, labor, and delivery is different, and what happens to one woman won't necessary happen to me.
So I really didn't need to hear those horror stories about tearing, and I certainly didn't have to assume I was going to experience the same thing, either. In my experience, hearing stories about tearing will only add to your anxiety.
Because There Are Ways To Minimize Tearing
I also knew there were steps I could take to minimize the chances of tearing. From pelvic floor exercises (Kegels), which helps improve pelvic floor muscle coordination so those muscles can relax a little during labor, to giving birth in certain situations, it wasn't like I was completely powerless over what happened to my body during labor and delivery.
Because I Knew It Wouldn't Matter Once My Baby Was Born
The funny thing about childbirth is that, in my experience, matter how hellish labor and delivery is, once you look in your baby's eyes you don't care about whatever occurred before. Even after my excruciating deliveries, and even after all the pain and a few scary complications, the moment nurses placed those babies into the crook of my arm I felt like I was on top of the world. I didn't care about much of anything, including how much tearing I had endured.