I’m not here to sugar coat anything, as I wish the articles I read prior to delivery would have been more real. As much as you think you can prepare for natural childbirth, you can’t…at least not fully prepare for what is to come. I believe that physical activity and healthy eating during pregnancy can help, but the pain and sensations experienced are like no other. It is intense, but knowing your child is coming afterward is a beautiful feeling. Because of this alone, I believe anyone can make it through.
I had my son in August of 2016, and I read every possible article and suggestion about natural childbirth before going into labor. I thought, “Hey, this can’t be that bad. I have done my research, prepared mentally, and I am so ready to do this!” For my plan, I was going to make sure I was not offered drugs of any kind. I went my entire pregnancy drug and supplement-free (besides my prenatals), and I wasn’t going to let labor ruin that streak for my son’s health and entrance into the world. The other part of my plan included the steps I would take to calm myself down and relieve pain during contractions. My husband and I took a childbirth class, which taught specific breathing techniques and various tips for relief during contractions. Walking during labor was said to help, so I decided that was what I would do. I also read Ina May Gaskins book on natural childbirth and listened to podcasts on hypnobirthing. You would think all of this, coupled with my healthy eating and exercise, would have prepared me for the pain I would endure during natural birth…
I was wrong. It was the most intense sensation I have EVER felt. I don’t want to scare all you new moms-to-be, but nothing compares to the sensations you’ll feel. It is a very different pain than that of being sick or getting hurt. Granted, I have never broken a large bone before, so I don’t have experience there…but I have been in some painful situations. I said before that I planned to walk the entire labor. I exercised almost every day during pregnancy, so I figured it would be a breeze. Nope. I didn’t want to move ANYWHERE! Contractions are so crazy painful that even moving your finger is a miracle. Luckily, I had a whirlpool tub and wonderful support from my husband and midwives, or I would’ve never made it. My labor was very fast, which is partially why it was so painful. I can’t say if a longer labor is less intense, but I would assume it is nearly just as painful since one would have to endure contractions for much longer.
Now before you decide to use medication for your birth, I can tell you the decision to go with a natural birth was what my son deserved. I wouldn’t have done it any other way. Knowing that he had no medications in his system just because I couldn’t handle the pain women have endured since the beginning of time really helped me get through it. Not to mention that I felt great almost immediately after he came out. Besides the normal bleeding, I felt like I could’ve done the whole thing all over again…not that I wanted too! I didn’t take any medications for pain after, either. Nurses kept trying to push ibuprofen on me, but I felt great! Because of this, I recommend those who are healthy and fit to go the natural route. You can do it. Just stay strong and take it one minute at a time. The rewards are worth it–a healthy little baby and you being alert to bond with him.
You’re probably wondering why I said it was the most painful experience in my life, but still recommend having a natural birth. In my experience, I wouldn’t trade anything for being conscious and fully aware of every sensation and feeling in my body during the birth of my little bundle of joy…even if that meant it was extremely painful. It’s only painful for a little bit (relatively) and recovery is much easier.
Now, while I recommend natural childbirth, I do so only for those who are healthy, fit, and don’t have any underlying medical issues preventing you from doing it naturally. Everyone’s life circumstances are different and I understand that. Natural childbirth surely isn’t for everyone, but I would seriously recommend looking into it if you would like to fully experience the miracle of birthing your child and giving them the best entrance into this world.