Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Fear Factor

I often wonder what it is about pregnancy, chilbirth and raising a baby that makes other women want to scare eachother so much. Rare is the time that I mention my plan to have a natural childbirth without someone shaking their head and saying with a "knowing" smile: "you'll change your mind." If I mention the pain that I am experiencing during my pregnancy, I get the: "just you wait, pregnancy is the easy part." Everyone tells me how "lucky" I was in my first trimester that i was not puking all over the place even though I know very few women who actually were (although I do feel for them!!). The funny part is half the women who have these horror stories are not even mothers. They have never given birth. They are just so indoctrinated into this idea that childbirth is pain and child rearing is a nightmare. It seems everyone wants to point out how naive I am and how everything I think will be wrong. My question: why?

R and I are going to give birth using the Hypnobirthing method, which challenges a lot of the popular conceptions about "pain" and "agony" during childbirth by helping the mother to relax and to open herself gently and to use words like "surge" instead of contraction. In talking to many women who have used this method, it is true and real. Their childbirth experiences were not the nightmares described by other women in the U.S. In fact, some women have described giving birth as transcendent, even orgasmic. I believe it can happen. I watched my mother give birth to M without any drugs. I watched and was terrified by what I saw (as an 8-year-old), but my mother said it was not that bad. And the reality is, looking back, it was a pretty beautiful thing to share with M, my mom, my dad and my mom's masseuse:) I do not have a superhuman pain tolerance, but I do have the ability to work through pain and do something anyway. In many ways I see the birth as a challenge, something I must cross before I can become a mother. As such it is incredibly important to me that it be drug free and as close to serene as R and I can manage. If it is not that, so be it. But I am at least going to try.

As for the other part, I know raising little S will be hard. I am sure there are many parts of it I cannot prepare for or possibly understand before she is here. But that is just it. I can't prepare. I don't know what it will be like. So it does me no good to hear from other women, mothers or otherwise, how awful it is going to be. Most mothers will also say it is wonderful, but that part is so hard to grasp when I have yet to hold my child and all I hear are the complaints.

At 35 weeks, I am scared enough. I do not need the horror stories and the negativity because, quite frankly, the intangible part, the part that is so "wonderful" is all that really matters.

1 comment:

Kristi said...

I think your birth plan sounds incredible, and I wish you all the luck in the world in achieving it. So many people see pregnancy as an illness (I mean, have you ever had so many people ask you with a pained expression on their faces, "So, how ARE you feeling these days?" as if you had a deadly illness), that it's nice to read about someone viewing pregnancy and childbirth as the natural process it is.

And as for the complaints as to how hard motherhood is, well, I'm guilty as charged. It is superhard at times. But it's also incredibly wonderful, and those aspects far outweigh the bad days. :)