Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Soap box: Fear mongering

This post is not meant to offend anyone in any way, so I need to put that disclaimer out there.  But I just can't sit in silence when something bugs me just a little bit.  So, watch out, I'm climbing up on my soap box!  Hope I don't slide off!  Cause it's a soap box, get it?  Ok, weak humor before I dive into my rant.

So, within the last week I have read FOUR posts about the horrors of childbirth, specifically the aspect of postpartum recovery on some rather popular mom/parent blogs and sites.  And all of these posts made some very good points about things that are not necessarily mentioned in your childbirth preparation classes - but some of it made me cringe a little bit and even feel for any mamas to be reading these posts - because while some of it may be true for many woman, many others - including yours truly - had a perfectly normal, even tame experience. Is labor a walk in the park?  Hell no.  Are the days following delivery sunshine and roses?  No, not even close.  But a couple of the posts I read I feel are just fear mongering for the sake of fear mongering in a way.  Something that Nate and I learned very quickly while I was pregnant is that woman seem to have this need to want to "one up" each other and also the more traumatic/difficult an experience they have, the more they want to share with everyone all about it for some reason.  Very few people who have an easier time so to speak really share all that much or want to speak out about it.  Even some of my own girlfriends sat and kind of did the "one up" game at my baby shower and even kind of laughed a little when I stated my intentions of having a drug free delivery.

Now I'm not here to brag about my labor and delivery experience (yes I did make it drug free and yes I am proud of that but that's not what this is about) but I guess I just want to try to counteract some of the fearful, horror and gore posts I've been reading on this subject lately.  

First off - it is possible to have a short, calm, relatively easy birth.  I am not going to share my birth story right now, that may happen at a later time, but I just want to say that not everyone is in labor for days and it's nothing like it is shown on television.

Mostly I want to address the things about postpartum - there may be some TMI here, but bare with me.  Yes there is blood.  Yes there will be for quite some time.  But after day one it can really slow to be about as bad as one of your heavier flow days on your period.  Yes they massage your belly after delivery but as far as the amount of people I've read about saying it hurts as bad as contractions?  I didn't really notice that at all.  It was tender, but it was very bearable.  Then again, maybe the cute baby I was holding at the time distracted me, but I don't really feel it was that awful.  Yes you will be sore - you would be sore if you ran a marathon too and labor is much like a marathon.  And much like the aftermath of a marathon - pain meds and warm baths/showers make a world of difference. Was I ready to go out and run another marathon a week later?  Not at all, but every day it felt better and better and yes, this is even coming from someone who (TMI again) even needed stitches.  Breastfeeding may hurt at first, but please, speak up if it does and the lactation consultant or someone can help you if that does. There are a number of other TMI type things I've read horror stories about (many of them pertaining to some bodily function type things) and I won't talk about those things except to say maybe I'm an enigma, but it wasn't that bad.  And maybe I'm an enigma on all of this, but I guess I just made sure to follow the nurses instructions, took care of myself and took it all a day at a time and it was really not so bad.

So I guess the moral of my rant is - I understand that it can be a difficult experience for many women and I am not trying to say that I'm the queen of all labor and post labor healing - but I just want to reassure anyone expecting or planning to have children that it isn't all the horror you see.  Nate said it best, "Fear sells."  So try to take everything with a grain of salt!  Just remember every person is different and it can be a positive experience!  And no matter what - keep your eyes on the prize - the beautiful baby you get at the end. Seven months later, that is still the thing that matters most to me!

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  1. Thanks for providing accurate and corrective information, Beth. I don't know why but some people believe whining and exaggerating is okay; it really isn't. Women shouldn't be scared of something nature created for them. Birth is the most natural thing in the world.

  2. I don't know that I am a one-upper, but I really love to talk about both of my birth experiences, 1 because they are great stories (to me), and 2 because I do feel pretty amazing about what I did, even if it wasn't as hard as some others (Eva was a one-push). As for all the other stuff...I guess if someone wants to know the worst case scenario, I get it, but we are all scared enough about birth, we don't need more fear!!

    1. Exactly - I think talking about your birth experiences is totally fine, I just wish there weren't so many negative stories out there, I know I tried hard to avoid them while I was pregnant but it was hard sometimes! And you should be proud of the one push, that's pretty dang impressive!

  3. It is really awesome that you had a natural labor and I think it's great that you wrote this post to offer a different, positive perspective.

    The Tiny Heart
    Spray Tan Giveaway!

  4. I've had one drug free labor and one with an epidural. Both were normal. I had the normal issues after, but nothing as bad as they say. It's been happening for thousands of years, and will continue... Because babies are love. :-)

  5. I think I'm glad I haven't read those posts!! Here's hoping that the pain from a marathon at least did a very small amount of preparing me for child birth this fall...I'm sure it'll be way more difficult than even that was, but way more rewarding of course too. :) Thanks for sharing this post!

  6. I had an extremely difficult labor and delivery and thus recovery. And sometimes it is interesting to share 'war stories' with other mom friends. However I don't think it is a good idea to go too deeply into it with first timers. ;) My experience was really bad, but it was still totally worth it. And I will say it wasn't at all the norm. Although most of my petite friends had difficult times as well. So glad to hear you had a easier time of it. ;)
    Great post as usual, Bethie. ;)

  7. I agree completely. I heard so many horror stories when I was pregnant. Luckily, my best friend (who had a baby about a year before me) had nothing but positive things to say about the birth process. She was realistic about the pain/etc. but otherwise she talked about what a wonderful experience it was. I tried to keep her words at the front of my mind during my experience. And you know, things didn't go as planned (I had an emergency c-section) but other than the initial fear of the unplanned, it was the best experience. Seriously. I loved it. And after was difficult, but again, nothing I couldn't handle. And oh so very worth it. So preach on, sister!

  8. By the way, I don't mean I loved the c-section. I mean the birth experience. Couldn't feel a thing during the c-section, but I can't say hooray I love having major surgery! But it was fine. Sorry, just had to clear that up after reading it... :)


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