pregnancy

'Don't hate me, but I really loved childbirth. Here's why.'

I’m probably one of the few people you’ll hear say this statement, but I loved every second of my two childbirths.

Yep, you heard it right - I loved being in labour. 

In fact, it is a feeling I wish I could experience again (only I doubt will go in for a third little one).

While you're here, watch mums and non-mums answer questions about childbirth. Post continues after video.


Video via Mamamia.

Now, before you pass me off as a bragger or roll your eyes, I will say that I had unbearable pregnancies. I was extremely grateful to be pregnant, but I was sick every single moment for nine months straight – both times over.

I was constantly nauseous, I had pubic symphysis dysfunction (PSD) and suffered mild depression due to not being able to function properly on a daily basis. I could barely walk some days. I think I deserved some redemption.

Why do we feel so comfortable saying we loved our pregnancies but not our child labour experiences?

If I ever tell people I loved giving birth, I usually feel obliged to follow it up with “but my pregnancies were horrible”, as I know many have experienced traumatic labours and it’s almost like rubbing salt in the wound.

I have also always had hideous periods – heavy and painful, lasting seven days. Two tampon an hour type shit in the first few days. 

The stories of my two child labours are pretty similar. Early disclosure: I chose to be induced and I know some are against this procedure, but I had my reasons at the time, and I was reassured by my obstetrician that it was safe for my babies.

I was close to 41 weeks for my first pregnancy and 38.5 weeks for my second when I was induced due to being in immense pain. Little did I realise (for both pregnancies) that I had been walking around for weeks 6cm dilated.

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It felt a little clinical, but I arrived at the hospital with my husband at a set time, ready for a sweep. I waited for a few hours but didn’t go into natural labour. 

That is when I was induced. 

I didn’t feel comfortable lying down, so I was standing up. I had my husband on a TENS machine using it on my back when I had contractions. I was timing everything out, just 20 minutes in, I knew I was about to give birth. 

Image: Supplied.

None of the nurses believed me. On both occasions, I said, “it’s going to happen soon”. They laughed and said I had a bit of time ahead.

When it came time for the big contractions, I took deep breaths, leaned over the bed, and squatted, ready to push my babies out.

As I pushed, I felt this rush of adrenalin and immense pleasure gushing through my body. I felt guided by my body. I felt powerful standing up and owning the experience. 

Probably TMI, but I enjoyed the feeling of having their limbs and body come out of me and into the world. 

Within two hours for my first, and 50 minutes for my second, I had my beautiful healthy boys. 

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The obstetrician didn’t even make it for my second baby’s birth. That’s how fast it was.  

I am really not trying to brag, but I barely broke a sweat, if I’m honest. I was walking around moments later as if I had just done a gym class. 

I am not an expert and I never anticipated that I would love labour the way I did - but I am going to let you in on a few things that I feel helped my experience in this space: 

1. I didn’t have a birth plan.

It is entirely up to you if you want a “birth plan” as I am sure there are benefits, however, for me, I didn’t want to enter into the experience with expectations. Sometimes having great expectations can lead to disappointment. 

2. My painful periods felt like contractions.

For women who suffer through painful periods, perhaps it helps us in child labour. I felt like contractions felt similar to pain I had experienced before. Perhaps we have a higher threshold for “labour-like” pain? 

3. I didn’t read all the books.

If you are having a baby with professionals, sometimes not knowing everything is better than knowing. I trusted my doctor and midwives; I think if I knew too much, I would’ve been more scared. 

4. Trust your body.

I was guided by my body – the pain allowed me to know when to push. I was proud that my body could take control without little thought or concern. 

Listen to The Delivery Room and join Jessie Stephens find out what happened when Anne, her mother, found herself pregnant with twins, twice in a row. Post continues after podcast.


5. The TENS Machine gave my husband and I something to “control” and focus on.

I hired a TENS Machine because my cousin used it in her labour and said it was helpful. It is an electrical nerve stimulation that attaches to your back and gives pain relief.

Sometimes, a lot of the fear and anxiety around childbirth can be in our heads and it’s worth allowing the story just to play out, rather than trying to control the situation. 

It is a sensitive topic because in a lot of instances women are unfortunately faced with issues they can't control.

But if you are going into labour knowing that you and your baby are healthy, then just remember - our bodies are capable of so much more than we think.

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Feature Image: Supplied.

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