Labour. A word so powerful that it can make women subconsciously clench their legs together. An experience that is almost universally acknowledged as challenging.
Let’s face it, the trials of labour are fairly obvious – but what about the good stuff? Are there bright sparks to be found amidst the pain? Here are some of the things that can actually be pretty great.
There are very few things that are off limits for a labouring woman. You can scream, you can groan, you can legitimately stomp your feet, you can take off all your clothes. All without being judged or censored. In what other context is it okay for you to poop and have someone else clean it up for you? You’re going to be changing nappies for a while from here on out. Embrace it.
It’s like climbing Everest (people respect that you’ve been there)
Few things in life give you the kind of universal respect that birthing a baby does. Whether you had a natural birth or a c-section, the fact is that your body was put through its paces to produce a new life. An actual person. If that’s not impressive, I don’t know what is. Plus, labour is a pretty great notch on the pain scale. It definitely ranks above grazed knees, broken bones and the man-flu. Just in case you feel like comparing.
You’re the VIP
Everyone in the room is there for you and that bundle of joy you’re about to deliver. Which basically gives you free reign on things you can ask for. Feel like a very specific food or drink? Someone will probably fetch it. Had your eye on a bracelet/handbag/book for a while? Might be a good time to mention it. Looking for the opportunity to request a two-hour massage? This is it.
It’s your story
Every woman is different – and every labour is too. Whether your birth experience was relatively smooth, or you went through something more traumatic, that story belongs to you. To share, to hold close, to process. The stretch marks and the scars – you and your body have done something incredible. Even though other women have laboured, your experience is unique – and no one can take that away from you.
It’s a great excuse to get a babysitter
If you’ve already got another child, or children, chances are they’ll need to be watched while you provide them with a sibling. It’s hard to say no to a labour based babysitting gig, so you’re likely to have your pick of friends and family to watch them. I’m pretty sure one or two false alarms are okay, so if that pain does turn out to be indigestion, just enjoy the lie down.
It has an end point
Although it doesn’t necessarily feel like it at the time, you are not going to be in labour forever. It can be frustrating not knowing when the labour pains are going to end, but they will. Hopefully sooner rather than later. And then there’s…
The end result
Where your whole world becomes brighter. The product (or products!) of labour that bring love, tiredness, new challenges and more incredible moments than you could have imagined.
And who will make the painful experience so worth it that you might even think about doing it all over again.