|I firmly believe most people who have such negative memories of Labor had, for one reason or another, a very negative state of mind going into the process.
I really dislike these kinds of suggestions. Like those of us who DID have excruciating labor only had it because WE weren't ready for birth, weren't positive about birth, were afraid or obviously must have been hindered in some way . . . and people reading stories where birth is really, really painful sometimes seem to need to find reasons, where there really are none, for WHY it was painful and how mom could have avoided this pain (by being more in touch with her body, by avoiding this or that, etc). I dislike the suggestion that the reason 7+ hours of my labor was excruciating (or the reason I remember it that way) was because even though I wasn't
afraid, I must have been
, otherwise it would have just happened easily (or I would remember it as less painful than it was).
I had great faith in my body, my instincts, and my body's ability to safely and naturally birth my baby prior to going into labor. I was never for one moment afraid during labor and always knew everything was ok with me and baby. However, that didn't keep me from 7+ hours of simply excruciating agony. At the end of it, because no one had told me NCB could be like that if you were really in tune with your body and trusted your ability to birth
, I felt deeply betrayed for a long time after the birth.
I had a UC. I did transfer to the hospital at the end of those seven incredibly horrendously painful hours because I did not feel I could keep going like that indefinitely. I knew nothing was "wrong" with me or the baby, but I could not continue to wait at home for a pushing urge (that never
came, even after the doctor pushed a small lip of cervix out of the way).
Someone said she didn't understand how anyone could not know how to push. I didn't. While I understood the "pooping" part, and it was very much like that, at the time that my lower body was doing the "pooping," my upper body wanted very much to throw back my head and scream high-pitched. I was in extreme pain and had been for many hours. I just wanted to be done. It took some help from my doula and the nurse and a lot of effort to focus my upper body into the motion and push properly. Once I saw/felt the difference between the two, it was obvious what I should be doing (the screaming push did not move the baby down at all; the centered, low, grunting push was extremely effective).
I am tired of being blamed for having a painful birth, very mild, brief PTSD as a result, and struggling to come to terms with and understand my birth, like it is somehow my fault. For what it's worth, dh and I were very happy and comfortable with our choice to UC, because we knew so much about birth and both felt complete confidence in my ability to give birth without assistance or intervention. I labored very patiently through extreme pain and waited as long as I could before calling the doctor. It is possible that I could have pushed over the lip of cervix, but I had no urge and could not feel the lip myself to push it out of the way. I expected that at some point, my body would have a pushing urge, or things would feel different and I would instinctively know to push. But I didn't; I just didn't. Some of the sentiments that I got in conveying a very painful, natural UC/transfer birth really made me feel at times that the message was "Birth doesn't have to be painful; you must have done/felt something wrong." At the time, it was very hurtful; now it's just my pet peeve.
I'll reiterate though that I agree with the OP. It is like sex and pooping, just much, much bigger and more intense. And sometimes, doesn't go 100% smoothly and I don't think it's fair to place blame on the woman or her situation just because we want to believe that all births can be painfree, relatively painfree, or at least pain of a nature that can be reasonably coped with and does not last an intolerably long time. I had a very uncomplicated but extremely painful birth. And I'm at peace with it now.
Disclaimer: I realize it says "most" in the quote above. That doesn't really change how the statement comes across, though, especially to those who have struggled with their birth experiences for one reason or another.