Three days postpartum and my sister asked me if I would ever go through childbirth again. I responded with a firm “Hell no!”
Three weeks postpartum and I’ve already changed my mind as I edit my life plan to add back in a Baby No. 2 (not for another three to four years, though).
Leaving the hospital on day one, I was overcome with fatigue, pain and anxiety. But as I drove past the hospital today on our way to the pediatrician, I smiled as I glanced over at the familiar facility. It got me thinking – how have my emotions changed so drastically in such a short period of time?
But the more I sit on it, I don’t think it is a matter of my emotions changing. I think it’s just that I needed time to process my emotions to begin with. Having a child is life-altering, and it happens suddenly. One day you are staring at your stretched out stomach, and the next you are holding precious, albeit needy, life in your hands.
Processing my first birthing experience was tougher than I thought it would be; I tried for months to plan it and anticipate it. So when I finally experienced labor for myself – all 31 hours – and it didn’t go according to my plan, I didn’t really know how to feel. I entered a state of shock, and the fatigue and anxiety didn’t leave much room for any other thoughts and emotions in those first fragile days.
This doesn’t mean it wasn’t a positive birthing experience. Holy moly it was the most empowering, rewarding and meaningful day of my life. But getting through it was also one of the most taxing experiences my body has ever endured.
I look back now, and the pain of the contractions has grown faint. The swelling of my legs has subsided, and my once-angry lady parts have forgiven me. All these short-term perils and pains that initially ganged up on me are now becoming mere scars of the most incredible milestone past.
As the healing continues, I can see more clearly the true beauty of my childbirth as I hold my baby close. I think to myself, “Wow. I made this. That’s pretty damn amazing.” And somehow, nothing else no longer matters – not the scary epidural, the damn peanut ball I had to sleep on, nor those relentless “labor shakes.”
Would I do it all over again? In a heartbeat. The kind of love that exists between a mother and child simply knows no pain.