Childbirth is a traumatic experience that one has to go through in order to fully appreciate the ordeal that it is. The Internet is replete with articles that downplay the pain of childbirth and compare it unfavorably to a kick in the balls. I feel that is not only unfair, it also overlooks the fact that labor and delivery is a risky process in which many women and babies have lost their lives.
So when you’re in labor and people around you do not think twice before mouthing platitudes, you can only do so much to not get out of bed and strangle them.
Five things that laboring mothers absolute hate hearing during childbirth are:
1. “You’ll be fine!”
This breezy statement is dished out by all and sundry and is meant to make the laboring mother feel better. It does anything but that. On top of that, the media publishes reports about the complications of labor and death of the mother during delivery. How is a woman expected to not feel even a little scared?
2. “Breathe! Breathe!”
I actually thought breathing exercises helped reduce labor pain. I was much mistaken. All deep breathing can do is to distract you from the mind-numbing pain that is wracking your midsection.
For me, breathing did nothing. The nurse repeatedly told me to breathe in deeply but my mind automatically moved to the all-consuming pain originating from my lower back and radiating on to my abdomen. Needless to say, I gave up and just kept groaning through each contraction.
3. “You’re not co-operating.”
When the doctor and/or nurses tell you that you’re not co-operating, all you want to do is bite their head off. We don’t like being in labor any longer than we have to. We’re screaming and groaning in pain. You would expect anybody in labor to do that because they are human. Also, mothers who have a long and hard labor have spent most of their energy. They could be just too tired to push any longer. At this point of time, being told that one isn’t co-operating is the most insensitive thing ever.
4. “Be strong!”
This is classic advice given to the laboring mother by everybody around her - from her family members to the doctor. I’d just like to say that if we weren’t strong, we wouldn’t have been in the delivery room in the first place. And it doesn’t help to be told to “be strong” when your contractions are painful enough to seem to break your body in half. We’re doing the best we can, thank you very much!
5. “Don’t push yet.”
My labor progressed faster than usual and the nurses were not yet prepared for delivery. I told the lone nurse in my delivery room that I was feeling the urge to push. And her panicky response was, “Don’t push now!” I’m not sure how I was supposed to fight the natural urge to push, but I did the best I could. I felt powerless against the natural impulses of my body.
When I shared this anecdote with some of my mommy friends, I realized I wasn’t the only one who had faced this situation. For mums who experienced crowning earlier than usual, the nurses expected us to literally hold the baby in until the doctor could arrive. It is horrible - the fear that the baby could slip out and come to possible harm since the doctor was not around.
What annoying things did you hear as a mom-to-be? Do share in the comments below.