For me giving birth for the first time was ecstatic and transformative. I thought that natural birth could be like that for every woman every time. But now I know, giving birth is as varied as we are. It can be unbelievably challenging, exhilarating, orgasmic, scary, cool, tiring, energizing, calm, wild, beautiful, crazy.
Renee has had three babies naturally before, all home or birth center births. She is committed to having her babies that way. She believes in it. She knows her body can do it..... but that doesn't make her like it! In the middle of birth number four she turns to me...."Dinah, remind me why I don't want an epidural" She wants a rational evidence-based answer that will strengthen her commitment to the process. I remind her that epidurals interrupt her body's production of endorphins which will give her that wonderful post-birth high and also help her recover easier physically. I remind her that epidurals lower blood pressure which can cause decelerations of the baby's heart which could lead to a c-section. "Thank you" she responds rationally and returns to her contractions. A little later she gives birth, beautifully connecting with her newborn girl (the first after 3 boys) and smiling with that post-birth high thanks to those useful endorphins.
But not every woman feels like Renee.
Sarah admits to me sheepishly during a prenatal visit "People think I'm crazy, but honestly, I love giving birth. I'd do it 50 times if I could" Don't be shy of feeling that way Sarah! Shout about it. You are not the only one who loves it. I vividly remember Mary rocking on all fours on her bedroom floor "Here comes another one," she hollered, "Bring it on!"
But not every woman feels like Sarah or Mary. There are all sorts of women and babies and all sorts of labors and births. Natural births are different from each other just as we are.