There are moments when I seriously doubt this decision to get pregnant.
It happens most often when I think about my actual labor & delivery. I know it’s inevitable – I will give birth, there’s no getting around it. But sometimes I am overwhelmed by a surge of fear – how on earth will I be strong enough to handle this?
I know this will be painful – I recognize that I will become intimately aware of my pain threshold, yet the need to flee from this fear sometimes wells up in my chest and that little voice of doubt starts to whisper, “oh god, what have we gotten ourselves into…”
I hear the stories. I hear how other women describe those moments giving birth – how terrible the process of labor and delivery can be. How no one tells you the truth about it; you’ll never know how hard it is until you go through it yourself.
My first inclination, when confronted with an uncomfortable situation, is to back away quietly and hope it’ll resolve itself. I relied on this coping mechanism for many years, with limited success. I now realize the only way to handle the fear, the uncomfortable learnings, the awkward silences is simply to jump in, feet first. Diving into the wave is the only way to make it past the breakers, and to hesitate or turn away from the power of it all merely makes it easier to be knocked off one’s feet.
In my calmest moments, I’m able to control the fear and “zen” my way through it. Am I better able to handle this process at 40 than I would have been at 20 or 30? I think so.
In my 20s, I thought I was strong. In my 40s, I know my strength.
I feel calm, more settled. More likely to take this step by step. I am so excited to finally have this nugget in my arms that I look forward to delivery and the pain that comes with it. This is what I have been waiting for, what I’ve needed for so long.
I hear the stories. The other ones. The stories of women being in labor for only a few hours. Women who gave birth and couldn’t believe how easy it was, how quick, how simple. The stories of how the labor ends and before you know it, this tiny miracle is in the world. The pain is worth it and you, you amazing miracle-bearing superwoman, are awesome and powerful. Those are the stories I continue to focus on – as that little fear tries to rise up…
I hope I have the strength to continue to dive into the waves of labor pain and continue to breathe after each passing wave. But if not, that’s OK too. I hope that we are lucky enough to get through delivery with minimal interventions, but I recognize that all I can do is be prepared and remain calm.
At the end of the day all I want is a healthy baby. How she gets here matters least to me.