It had all started innocently but as the days and years went by, Seun realised that she didn’t like sharing the story of her child birth, even when that was the topic of discussion with other women. She was just no longer interested in being told, “How easy you had it.”
Before this time, she had gladly told anyone who cared about the fact that her second trip to the labour room was a very quick one. Her son didn’t waste any time. He just came as soon as she lay on the birthing bed, and if the doctors hadn’t been attentive enough, he would have landed on the bed or worse, on the floor. Because, while they were securing her legs in the stirrups, with the nurse telling her to push at their urging, the baby’s head was out already and one last heave sent him spiralling out and screaming his lungs out. Such gumption.
And even before it got to the stage she was in the labour room, her contractions had been mild, compared to her first time, when she had practically gone naked and sobbed on her husband in between contractions.
So, when visitors, who came to celebrate the birth of her new baby came and she told them their prayers of her birthing like the Hebrew women worked, she was surprised to find that most of them turned around and started telling her how lucky she was to have had such an “easy” birth, and they would go on and tell her about their own “war” sorry, childbirth stories. These were people whom she thought would be happy that she didn’t feel so much pain the second time around, yet they were making her feel guilty for having things a lot smoother the second time around.
She wondered if she should have bothered telling anyone about the childbirth or if she had, she should have just exaggerated the story, because all these stories she heard of childbirth seemed too gory to be real. Was it even possible that moms might make up these stories to cover up their own guilt have having had their babies easier than the society and other women for centuries have tried to make them believe? It just smacks of insecurity and seeking acceptability into the community of the “real women” who waged war against hard labour and won…except for the fact that that group is mostly made up of pretenders.
For Seun to get to a stage of acceptance of her own second experience at childbirth, she reminded herself of the simple logical fact that, despite what the old wives will tell you, labour is going to happen when it’s going to happen, whether you eat all the spicy foods your know or not. Go on long walks, give hubby an enjoyable time, sucking nipples, whatever, labour can’t be predicted. Baby is the master here.
Besides, she wasn’t’ even a medical professional, and there was no reasonable way to know she was in labour…until it was too late. Nothing in it was like her first experience. Her water didn’t even break until she pushed the baby out. There was absolutely nothing she could have done to stop her labour from moving fast without her knowledge. And even if she could, she couldn’t go back in time. But why would she want to? So, she could feel all the pain. Nah, I don’t think so.
For Juliet, this is her third child, and she had another boy. But that’s not the story. The story is she posted a short synopsis of her labour room experience on Facebook, thanking God for granting her a short and easy childbirth. The comments on that post were littered with plenty congratulations but comments like, “Wow, you are so lucky!” “For a boy, that’s honestly too easy. Wanna try again?”
When I called her to congratulate her, she told me how her mom had warned her strictly not to bother trying again… or something along the lines of her forgetting about having a girl. That if God had destined she have girl, she would have had her by now. More so, while the childbirth had been easy and she was raving about it on social media, there was no guarantee another one would toe that line and besides, she would be older too.
When I asked if it was truly easy, she confirmed that, compared to her last two experiences, this was the easiest birth she had ever had. Even pregnancy for that matter was smooth. It was as though the young man purposely decided not to disturb his mom at all. Except for the discolouration in her skin, Juliet didn’t suffer any side effects like morning sickness or others symptoms that came with being pregnant.
So, rather than feel guilty, Juliet feels grateful for the opportunity to have this very different pregnancy and childbirth experience. If it were in the past, she would have just announced that she had just become a mom. She would still be recovering from the whole experience, instead of being everywhere on social media, showing off her new son, the bonding between the older brothers and the new born, and how he is such a great addition to their family.
While, these two moms have been able to deal with their guilt, some moms still think they had somehow contributed to their “easy” childbirth, due to what other moms think of their childbirth.
It can be even easier to feel guilty when something goes wrong with the baby and you are thinking, “Perhaps if I had had a longer labour, this wouldn’t have happened. The doctor would have picked up on what was wrong and done something about it.”
Well, sorry to break it to you. Labour can’t be controlled. You can induce labour but you can never determine how fast or slow it will turn out to be.
If you noticed, I have quoted “easy” in this article, because I do not believe in an “easy” childbirth. For me, there is nothing easy about childbirth. It’s one heck of a serious business…no matter how quick or painless it may be!
Let go mamas and enjoy your blessings.
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