Dear friend (who is about to deliver),
I have four babies and have gone through four labors and deliveries. There is one thing I want you to know above all else...
You can do this.
You are strong and you are able.
In the pre-labor season there are all kinds of things to worry and obsess about, like how to pack your toothbrush and your phone when you are still using them.
Life is so complicated.
So, I have compiled a list of things you should definitely stop stressing about...
1. The small stuff
Speaking of hospital bags, do you know what they have at the hospital for you to use?
I was going to say just grab a couple pairs of underwear and your phone on your way out—but, scratch that. They even have underwear. Magical underwear. They are one-size-fits-all gems aka granny panties. I may or may not have been tempted to stuff my purse with undergarments.
So don’t obsess about the small stuff. It just doesn’t matter.
2. The nudity
My first time around I was very concerned about the naked part of labor.
Also, I hadn’t seen down there in at least a month—so who knew how things were faring?
One of my most important Target purchases was a “birthing” nightgown—so that no one would come near me with one of those backless nightmares. (Oh hell no.) My daughter recently asked my why my butt is so big and wobbly, so you can understand my concern.
But you guys, when I was in labor I suddenly channeled my inner hippie.
It was amazing.
Even the nurses were like, “Would you like to cover up?” And I was all—What are clothes?
At that point they could have invited in the local high school’s varsity choir to serenade me and I would have asked them to please help massage my back and maybe get me some of those cherry-flavored ice chips.
3. Doing it ‘right’
Two of my friends are extremely un-dramatic about pain. One of them usually likes to hike when she is in early labor (Whaaaa?), and the other one accidentally had her baby in her Subaru on the way to the birthing center.
Also, their weight gains during pregnancy were very anticlimactic. I’m pretty sure I beat them with just one cankle.
The thing is, I am proud of them and they are proud of me. We are woman warriors bringing entire people into the world. #BadassStatus
You’re going to do this in your own way, too, my friend, and your way is going to be just right for you.
Don’t waste time comparing. We each have our own way of doing things. My way just involves more swearing and nachos... and extremely zero hiking.
4. The poop
There’s a skill the nurses and midwives don’t mention: stealthiness.
Nurses, midwives and doctors are cleanup ninjas. This is going to be one of those moments when you pretend something simply isn’t happening. It’s kind of like when you downed that glass of wine too quickly. You’re cool.
Also, you are about to spend at least two years cleaning someone else’s butt, so: The universe owes you.
But, ahem, still... Sorry, nurse.
5. The birth plan
With a couple of my births I put a lot of pressure on myself to deliver in a certain way.
Instead, nothing went according to plan. One time I had a nurse who acted like I was filing taxes instead of giving birth. Another time I had an epidural I didn’t “plan” to get.
Here’s the important thing: I didn’t fail.
Make a plan, but give yourself permission to make decisions on the go as well. Trust the process, trust your birth coaches and trust yourself.
You aren’t going to fail. (It’s not a thing.)
6. The possibility of an epidural
In my four labors I had one natural, one epidural (hallelujah), one epidural that didn’t work and one natural with Pitocin. I haven’t had a C-section (although it was close with my fourth), but I have many friends who have.
All those births were beautiful and perfect and also messy and hard. They were predictable and unexpected and sometimes even disappointing, but they were mine... and I (honestly) wouldn’t change a thing.
They are sacred because they were the moments when my whole world changed.
Remember, you have nothing to prove.
Do what’s right for you, relax and go along for the ride. And when all else fails...
Focus on the milk shake.
After I give birth, I like to soak in the glory of hospital room service. I look forward to eating all the things during my mini “vacation.” Starting with the largest vanilla malt they can produce.
So just think, after you run that marathon—I mean, have that baby—you get a wonderful prize: ice cream. ?
Girl, you’ve got this.
So, in the meantime, keep eating pizza and dreaming those weird pregnancy dreams about giving birth to puppies and eating donuts with Barack Obama.
Before you know it you’ll have a baby in your arms.