Or maybe they did tell me and I didn't listen. Or hear. Or pay attention. Or maybe I was stupid enough to think they exaggerated!
If I might allow myself with a little piece of advice for every first-time-mom-to-be: IT'S TRUE! Pretty much everything people tell you you'll eventually endure after giving birth is true. I agree on the fact that every pregnancy is different. As every woman's experience about giving birth is different. So I won't pretend to hold the holy answers about them all but in my experience, these are some of the few things i've heard at some point but probably decided to take them lightly. Big mistake.
- If you breathe properly, contraction's pain can be "controlled".
No. It can't. You'll feel that your body is about to burst open. And that you want it all to end. And you'll wonder why on earth did you get yourself into this in the first place. And can I get an epidural already?
- An epidural doesn't hurt.
Trust me, it does. And i'm not the sensitive to pain kind of person, i'd even say i'm pretty tough when pain is involved but an epidural hurts like motherfucking HELL. Picture a needle going into your spine for crying out loud. How can that not hurt?
It's supposed to numb the pain of the contractions but your legs don't answer your commands anymore and you might as well pee or poop right there, you wouldn't know, you don't feel shit.
- A C-section is not a real childbirth and it doesn't hurt as bad as a natural birth.
The next person to say one of these 2 things will get hit in the face. With a hammer.
I wish a c-section on NOBODY. First of all because it is, in my opinion, the worse way of giving birth. The dad can't be there because it's surgery. You, as a mom, are completely passive and you're just enduring the birth of your child feeling completely useless.
Second of all, you don't see what's going on obviously (i don't think you'd enjoy watching the surgeon cutting you open and pulling your baby out ...) but since I asked because I wanted to know ... Once the cut is made, the surgeon put his hand inside of you to pull the baby's head towards the new exit door. Then (and i felt it even though I had an anaesthesia) he kneads your belly to pop the baby out, just like you'd do to pop a zit. Then again for the placenta. Then he'll vaccuum your insides and stitches/stapples you up.
- You'll get sick and you'll most likely puke.
You haven't eaten in AGES, you have asked for an epidural, if the birth doesn't present itself well, you'll get a rachianaesthesia on top (same as an epidural but stronger), you're tired, you're in pain and since the ob/gyn will knead your belly, you'll want to puke. Except that you can't feel your stomach contract. Except that you don't have anything in to puke. So it's like at the dentist when they tell you to spit and you can't. You're lying on your back, you can only turn your head on the side. You'll drool/vomit in your neck. It's disgusting/nasty/gross/all of the above.
- You'll lose all your dignity.
I can't tell about a natural birth but as far as I've heard, it's the same. In my case, since i had to go through recovery, I didn't get to see my baby straight away. But you're in those hospital robes, with a tube in to drain your bladder, you're bleeding from down there, you obviously haven't waxed in ages (too painful) nor shaved (first because my beautician would kill me and second because you haven't been able to reach your ladyparts in quite some time!), you can't stand so you have to pee in a bedpan, you need the help of 2 nurses to try to stand a mere 12 hours after surgery, you take a shower sitting on a stool with the door open and a nurse in your room in case you fall, you'll feel like a hundred years old walking all folded up to ease the pain and you'll let the nurse check your bleeding on the gigantic pads the hospital gives you (oh, and the net underwear you get ... glamour at its peak!)
- You'll get contractions.
You thought you were done with it? NOPE. You'll still get some AFTERWARDS. I mean seriously. Isn't it enough as it is? They're less painful than the one BEFORE but still. Contractions! For crying out loud!
- You'll produce milk.
You can take all the meds you want to cut it (if you don't want to breastfeed your baby), you might thing that you're gonna get through without enduring this but no. You're in for some kick ass pain. Your boobs, all of the sudden, are three sizes bigger than usual, they're hard as stone, they're painful as hell and they leak. Yep. It feels like you have implants good enough for shooting a porn video but they're dripping milk. You feel like a cow. Honestly. And just looking at them is painful.
However (it worked for me), putting cabbage in your bra can help decongest them and cut the milk production. Not to scare you though but i read that a woman who gave birth recently is naturally programmed to produce milk and HEARING a baby scream can stimulate the production. Being in a maternity ward, i let you imagine!
- Last but not least, you'll get tired. And stressed up but mostly tired.
And by tired, I mean EXHAUSTED. You feed your baby every 3 hours, and in between two feeds, you also have to change him/her, wait for the burp and try to get some rest as well. Needless to say that whether you're at home or still at the hospital, sleeping in slices of a couple of hours is not enough. The slightest thing to do becomes an insurmountable task, you'll cry a tremendous lot because you're desperate for some sleep and some rest, you'll lose your temper, you'll feel guilty like hell about it, you'll want the baby to go to hell for a few hours just so you can rest, you'll feel guilty about having such thoughts. And you'll stress up and worry about everything. Is the baby hot? cold? hungry? is the diaper full? is it the right color? is she eating enough? too much? is a burp not out and hurting her tummy? is she tired? how can i get rid of her hick-up? why is she squeaking? does she need a pacifyer? can she breathe properly? how do i clean her nose? can she finally fall asleep so i can sleep as well?
I'll finish up with just one more thing: it's worth it. It's totally worth is. It's normal to feel helpless and oh so tired. But seeing your baby smile and make faces, grab your finger in her tiny hands, open her eyes wide to see and discover the world around her or simply watching your baby sleep makes it all worth it.
Don't hesitate to talk to friends who had babies, to ask stupid questions, to reach out for help with the simplest things. Leave the baby with the dad or the grand-parents for a little while, even if it's just for 20 minutes and go for a walk, or take a bath or make yourself a nice cup of your favorite coffee, read a book in front of the fireplace or take a quick nap. It'll make a world of a difference in your day.
Thousands and thousands of moms around you have been through this. You can do it.