As your labour approaches you might be feeling a little scared and anxious about how it is going to play out. You might have watched it in movies or spoken to other mums and think you have an idea of how it is going to go – and that can often be scary.
And sure, it’s not exactly going to be sipping rosé (don’t worry, that will come!) but there are actually some great things that happen during labour that might just surprise you.
So to help get you excited, and ease some of those nerves a little, we thought we’d compile a list…
1. First up it’s the obvious one: you get to meet your baby
So the whole point of the last nine(ish) months – and however many hours of labour – is all about the little human you are about to meet. Nothing can prepare (or compare) to the moment you meet that little bundle for the first time and hold them in your arms, drink in their smell and become a mother.
2. You find strength you never knew you had
No, we’re not talking about physical strength (although this too) but mental strength. Labour is tough, it is painful, it is gruelling, it can be long and it can take everything inside of you to keep going. You may cry, you may struggle, you may want to give up – but you don’t.
3. Strengthening the connection with your partner
Childbirth is a truly special time for your relationship, for your partner to see you at your most vulnerable – but at the same time most strong. They will be in awe of what you and your body are doing.
4. Pain relief
Yep, you don’t have to suffer in pain if you don’t want to! Whether you choose pain relief via medication or natural alternatives, is a truly personal choice, but thanks to the wonders of modern medicine – if you don’t want to be in pain, you don’t have to be. Everyone’s journey is different and whatever you choose is no one’s business – but we’re so lucky we live in a time where we do have a choice. While some women decide that feeling the pain is the right choice for them, for others they prefer to make the experience much more calm and enjoyable, and medication helps them feel more present and able to soak in the moment.
5. You lose all sense of vanity
There’s an old saying that you leave your dignity at the door during childbirth – and this is true but in a wonderful way. Sure, you are more exposed than you’ve likely ever been (or will be again) but you also gain so much from this. You no longer sweat the small stuff, as they say. You realise what is important in life and what matters – and what doesn’t.
6. You gain a newfound appreciation for your body
You realise that this is exactly what your body was made to do. You have probably been pretty in awe of what your body can do over the last nine or so months, but in childbirth you truly come to appreciate it, how it changes and knows what to do for you and your baby. All those years you spent hating your hips, your boobs, your thighs – you now see them in a whole new light for just how incredible they truly are.
7. Medical staff are amazing
Sure you’ll get a few duds here and there (like any profession) and if you do, full permission to politely tell them to f-off, but for the most part, these people are truly incredible – and especially the midwives. The midwives are there with you on this incredible journey to guide you and help you, so many of them go above and beyond what we’re sure their job description entails, cheering you on when you’re pushing and helping you find strength when you think there’s nothing left. They hold your hair when you vomit and shower you once it’s all over – they are amazing.
8. Find joy amongst the chaos
Labour and birth can be so overwhelming, the pain can be so full on – but try and remember to enjoy it, laugh where you can, kiss your partner, soak in the moment and be present wherever possible.
9. A mother is born
We so often just think about the baby, and labour means a child is being born, but so is a mother. This is the moment your life changes forever, everything you knew and felt before will get turned upside down (for the better). You are still you, just a better, stronger version.
10. Relief and achievement
We dare to bet there is nothing you will achieve in your life that will make you feel as incredible as childbirth. That feeling once it’s over, your baby safe in your arms and the knowledge that you have done it, are truly special.