A pregnant woman stopped me on the street the other day, recognizing me with my large belly as a member of the mom club she just joined, to ask if I’ve ever done this before. “You look calm,” she said. “Have you ever done this before? Aren’t you, like, so scared of a head coming out of your body?”
Why yes, I have done this before— 3 times, and this bun in the oven is number 4, so I matter of factly told her that it’ll be all good. While it’s not a pleasure trip, it’s definitely all worth it.
She paused and asked, “but, is it as horribly gross and painful as the movies? Ugh, the Ricki Lake documentary really messed me up.” Lady, it’s grosser and more painful than anyone sets you up for— but human evolution has allowed us to have some sort of wonderful, biological ‘off’ button for actually feeling those memories even minutes after the child is born. You remember them logically, but somehow you don’t hate it as much as you did in the minute, because if you did, the human race would end and the world would be filled with spider monkeys and chipmunks.
Anyway, here’s a small window into what women go through:
“I gave birth to twins vaginally and it felt like when you go to open a bottle of applesauce and you can’t get it open and then finally there is like a pop and the seal is broken. Except twice. Pop, out comes one baby and then pop out comes the other. And for the record, one came out fast and we had to wait for another doc to come since you need two docs to deliver twins and so all the nurses and staff were telling me birth stories to pass the time.”
-Keren Brown, franticfoodie.co
“You’re at the edge of the volcano of everything burning, hurting boiling over, and exploding. Then you see the best thing you’ve ever seen in your life. Credits.
-Jordana Horn Gordon
“For me, birth was like falling in love on Outward Bound. I cried while climbing to 19,000 feet, then felt elated at the top. I emerged thiner and strong then when I started training.”
-Michelle Sydney Levy Blaustein
“When it came to giving birth, I wasn’t so much scared about being a mom or taking care of another human being as I knew I’d figure it out, but rather pooping in front of a captive audience. She asked if I wanted a mirror. It’s bad enough that I was pushing a human being through a golf ball sized hole, but really, who wants to see poop? I pushed for what seemed like endless hours until I felt a release of pressure and what sounded like a bowl of spaghetti hitting the floor. I heard the first cry of my son and quickly forgot about everything else…even the poop. Which didn’t happen FTR.”
“I threw up. The nurse snapped ‘Not good!’ I felt a terrific internal tugging, like someone had reached into me to borrow my pancreas. Then I heard a baby’s cry.”
-Deborah from Scarsdale, NY
“Giving birth feels like Satan is throwing a house party in your uterus but you don’t get to have any snacks. The only way to make the mini Fight Club end and spare your insides is to push out a bowling ball sized alien who will latch to you like a leech but is so cute you’d literally die for it. Similar to Men in Black II without Will Smith but lots of blood, goo and bad hair.”
“I consider myself to have a high pain tolerance (after years of Botox, injections, lasers, etc.) but giving birth was a far more painful experience than I imagined and I begged for drugs. It felt like I was sprinting up a mountain to burning hot hell while on some crazy psychedelic drugs that made me super tired while a sharp, heavy brick stabbed at my insides and my eyes rolled backwards. Then I had a gooey crying baby swimming on my chest, but all I could focus on was my burning ripped vag. Finally relief and I fell madly in love.”
-Wendy Lewis, Beauty In The Bag
“I felt like my ass was being hammered by a giant hammer… so hard I couldn’t even speak to ask for drugs. Plus I was nude from the waist down, which only adds to the experience. Turns out it was ‘sunnyside up’ and ‘back labor!’ Good times (that eventually resulted in a c-section and then my precious baby girl).”
-Linsey Hunter Lopez, NELAmamas.com
“I was numb, so all I remember is thinking I was about to poop and asking my husband to check over and over. Then a mean nurse with smoker’s breath yelled at me to try harder while my doctor and husband told jokes in between contractions. It was like being a part of a bad movie where my vagina was just out on display. But then I had a beautiful baby in my arms and forgot it all instantaneously…until I looked down there in the shower. Just don’t look..don’t do it.”
“I had no feeling below the belly button – dead weight legs, but a lady garden that could keeping pushing until the nurse ran out of numbers. This was while listening to the doctor, surrounded by an entire class of residents staring at my cervix. Also, do not ask for the mirror. It is not as ‘beautiful’ as you imagine it will look. I promise.”
-Paula Wade, OlderGirlBeauty.com
“Having a C section is like being selected for a magic show that you never volunteered for. The audience watches you in awe as you’re cut into two pieces. Once awoken, you are no longer the same, as your top and bottom half cannot work because they are unattractively sewn together. The inability to eat, sit up, and urinate become struggles that are quickly forgotten once the result of the trick (gone wrong) is placed in your shaky arms.
-Jessica Rose Rein
“What’s it really like to give birth? Remember those cramps you used to have during your monthly cycle? Yeah, no…it’s nothing like that at all. In fact, it feels like cramps imploding in your uterus – your entire body (yes you are going to poop) is expelling something in a rather violent way. “Out out damned child” is all that your body is saying.”
“While I’m happy that I chose childbirth without pain meds, birth without an epidural is akin to having the Rockettes do their best high kicks while dancing their way out of your vagina with sequins, heels and a large reindeer.”
-Jessica Korbin Bernstein
“I delivered my daughter in a teaching hospital, which means I had a billion hands up in my business, because budding physicians have to learn somewhere I suppose. It was like a party in there and I learned very quickly that your modesty goes out the window during childbirth. I was so epiduraled up that thankfully it wasn’t horrible. But nobody told me what happens after. Nobody! So when I first used the bathroom post-delivery I legit thought I was dying! I was horrified and until that moment had no clue why I needed all the gear in the bathroom- the ice packs, the roid cream, the water squirter contraption. A little heads-up would have been nice so that I didn’t feel like I needed to ask for crime scene tape to section off the bathroom, is all I’m saying.”
-Rachel Sobel, whineandcheezits.com