5 Parents Share What Surprised Them Most about Labor and Birth
It doesn't matter how prepared you think you are, how many classes you attended, blogs you read, or books you took out from the library — labor and birth may still shock you.
Read on to hear from five parents revealing what surprised them most about labor and birth, and maybe it won't catch you off guard when it's your turn. Of course, it's only a maybe because – as you'll see – the experience is different for everyone.
That it could be so painful.
“I had a natural, un-medicated birth, and I totally thought that I would be able to just jump off the table and resume normal life after giving birth. I was completely shocked with the fact that, not only was I in excruciating pain after delivery, but that it took me so long to recover from a birth that didn't require surgery.
“I also didn't realize how much trauma would be inflicted on my lady parts and how long they would take to heal. Just getting out of bed to walk to the bathroom was painful for the first six weeks or so. I later found out that I fractured my tailbone during delivery. (Apparently this is a thing that can happen. Who knew?) Which explains why I was in pain for so long afterward.” — Anna Lane
Breathing actually works.
“I just knew that I was going to have the best and easiest labor in the world. If my mom could have three children all natural, then surely I could do it with my first one. And sure enough. I did! I was so surprised that breathing really works!!
“I mean, when you're pregnant, you always hear people say, ‘Just breathe.' But in reality, no one ever does. But with every contraction, I shut my eyes and inhaled and exhaled. Breathing got me through my eight-hour labor. I thought it would hurt more, but surprisingly it didn't.
“I went into labor at 10 a.m., and by 6 p.m., I was ready to take a shower, and as I was doing that, it was time to push!
“The doctor broke my water, and an hour later, my baby was here! Now, the pushing out was the worst pain I have ever felt in my life. I had no idea at all that pushing him out would hurt so bad. That pain, I was not ready for. The labor was amazing! The pushing out was pure pain! My husband handled it so well. I was actually proud of him. So overall, it was amazing.” — Tiffany Komba
The pain goes away quickly.
“The shock. Once the baby was out (in my first delivery, breech, so first the bottom and then the head, both very painful “bumps”), the pain was over. OVER! It was as if the pain had been switched off, the relief was so immediate.” — Linda Carlson
People say strange things.
“What surprised me was that I went through five hours of the most excruciating pain of my life and kept hearing what an easy time I was having.
“The pain-management techniques I learned in my natural childbirth class were useless, and the hospital staff held off on giving me an epidural. They did give me something that was supposed to take the edge off. The edges were still there, but it did calm me down a bit, which made things easier for everyone else in the room.
“My experience wasn't at all like the woman they showed in the instruction video during class.” — Judy Nichols
You're sore after all births.
“[It was challenging] after giving birth. I had my first child in October of 2014 and was one of the last of my closest friends to have a baby. None of them are shy to share the gory details, but I don't remember anyone preparing me for the first couple weeks after having my son. Everyone discusses the recovery period for c-sections (which I'm sure is a lot worse), but I don't recall anyone saying how sore you are after natural birth. The ice packs from the hospital were my best friends.
“Additionally, I didn't realize how emotionally fragile you are. I remember crying for no reason at all. Every time a family member called or a friend came to visit, I would just bawl after saying goodbye to them. I had a beautiful and healthy baby and great support, but it didn't stop the waterworks.” — Colleen Jones
What surprised you most about your labor and birth? Share in the comments!Read More