I've been spending my time doing the fun stuff - you know, planning the nursery, going to a cloth diapering class (which I highly recommend to anyone curious), obsessively rearranging and redecorating rooms in my head and that sort of thing.
But then the other night, a sense of dread fell over me. I started to admit that I'm avoiding thinking about the bad parts. Labor. Delivery. Postpartum recovery/sleep deprivation/early nursing. Lots and lots of blood and pain.
I'm not trying to scare you if you've never given birth. Obviously, billions of women do it, survive, and continue to do it. There's enough reward at the end to make it worthwhile. But still, honestly? It sucks, it hurts, I hate it, and I don't want to do it again. Yet some crazy instinct has pushed me to go through this process for the third time.
I know all the "right" answers about the attitude I should have. In my first childbirth class the instructor referred to labor as "purposeful pain," which is much more tolerable than flat-out awful pain with no end or reward in sight. That was helpful. I've also heard of childbirth being a parallel way to connect with Jesus' suffering. And of course, I read a handful of blogs and books that talk about the "best" ways to labor, physically and emotionally, using various techniques, etc.
People who are more righteous than I say birth is a beautiful, spiritual thing, and they're right. It is.
But seriously, it also sucks. There's a reason it's first introduced as a curse when Eve leaves the Garden of Eden.
My first two labors weren't horror stories, although they had their moments.
With James, I regrettably agreed to induction to speed along labor (which I wouldn't do so readily now), ended up taking an epidural (which I'm not necessarily opposed to), and had spinal headaches for a week (awful, awful, awful). But I didn't have any other strange complications.
With Jonathan I really shouldn't complain -- my water broke at home and then out he came in two pushes at the hospital 90 minutes later. It was like a TV drama, being wheeled through the hospital corridors while I was in agony; it happened so fast, the doctor barely made it in time. Afterward I felt great, compared to the last time (hey, no epidural and a very short labor will do that). I still had cramping and nursing pains and the usual postpartum stuff.
I'm anticipating that this next one will also be relatively quick and smooth (unless I give birth in the car!). But still. It's going to hurt a lot, and it is going to be gross. I don't care how you look at it, but there is no way all those bodily fluids and the ways the body gets contorted in labor are not gross.
I've been thinking a lot about my attitude towards this. Is it better to look at the bright side here, or is it better to be a realist?
Perhaps I'm leaning towards the latter because the mystery of birth is all but gone for me. I know what to expect (including the fact that there are always things you can't anticipate or plan). I'm not going to pretend like my birthing experience is going to be all rainbows and butterflies and be rudely shocked when it's not.
My current attitude is like that of a soldier. I'm going to battle soon, whether I like it or not. I'm afraid, but I'll gear up, be prepared, and do my best to deal with the bullets as they come.
Apparently I've watched way too many war documentaries and dramas with Marc. At least I get to have a little girl in my life! I think I need her.
Linking with: My Pregnancy Journal at My Joy-Filled Life