For women staring down the barrel of imminent childbirth, it can be a frightening time. Especially when others are so quick to re-tell their horrific birth stories.
Childbirth can be awful, anything can happen and things definitely do not go to plan. However, a mum-to-be recently reached out on Mumsnet wondering if childbirth was as “horrific” as people always make out.
Is childbirth really that bad?
The woman is due to give birth in ten days and is looking to hear “nice birth stories” while acknowledging that she’s perhaps being naive and that, of course, many people have to deal with “exceptional situations” and “emergency situations”.
“But aibu to think labour can’t be as horrific as people make out?” she asks. “I’ll be giving birth in 10 days time following an induction and everybody keeps asking me if I’m terrified and telling me how awful it will be.”
That is definitely not what you want to hear right before giving birth. It’s no wonder she is needing to hear happy birth situations.
“Surely if it was THAT bad people just wouldn’t do it? Or would opt for a c section?” she continues. “Feel free to hit me with the facts because I’m possibly being naive. But does anyone have any nice birth stories? Particularly following an induction?”
Feeling guilty for a good birth
The thing with childbirth is that it’s different for everyone and you never really know how it’s going to pan out. However, many women can be reluctant to share their good birth stories out of respect for those who had tough, more horrific birth experiences.
I personally had two great births and have always felt a little guilty about sharing the details. My first was two hours long, the second was over in one and a half. Both were quick and drug-free. Yes, both hurt and things still went wrong – such as a retained placenta that required surgery to be removed. But I loved both experiences. I know I was lucky, but have often felt like I had to apologise for it.
This mum, though, really wants to hear the happy birth stories, even if it’s just to get her through the next ten days – and that’s fair enough. She knows it sounds “naive” but, as she says, if it’s so bad, “people just wouldn’t do it.”
Any nice stories?
The post received a huge response with many experienced mums offering practical and sometimes very honest feedback. Most women were truthful about the pain, saying that it’s bearable and the end result is well worth it.
“I thought my first labour was horrific and that I’d never have any more,” said one mum. “However, I recovered physically within weeks and mentally within months so had another. I was nervous with my second but reminded myself how quickly I felt better afterwards. So, I’d say brace yourself but it’s worth it and the feeling of achievement is amazing.”
Another woman wrote, “To be fair it probably is as bad as people make out. I say that as someone whose labours were very quick. You get through it because you have no choice. But then it’s all over and you have your lovely baby, and you recover.”
One very honest response was, “Yes, it’s horrific. And I say that as someone who had 2 relatively uncomplicated births.” However, she follows this up with, “But it’s all over the second the baby’s out and it’s all worth it. That’s why women go back and do it all over again.”
At the end of the day, what can you say? Maybe sharing your worst birth story with a new mum-to-be is not the best idea but perhaps down-to-earth honesty mixed with a little sensitivity will help get her through to the Big Day.
After that, anything can happen …