I am sorry you had to even ask the question - but I totally understand. For the most part, "civilized" society perpetuates a major fear cycle when it comes to birthing.
I, for one, had a great first birth. It was completely different than what I expected though. I took Bradley classes and all they talked about was how first time moms have long births - so get ready - and here are the stages/signposts, blah blah blah. Well, I had my first in 2 hrs. and 45 minutes. Major freight train birth! It was intense but I had confidence and support and I did it. I was with a midwife in her birth center (which is basically just someone else's house imo - might as well stay at home
). I had my dh and my lovely midwives around me, whispering support, comforting me in any way. I was having back labor and I'll never forget the midwife slapping some kind of peppermint extract on my back and WHOOSH. It was like the pain evaporated! So cool. Then, right before ds was born she said "Your baby is about to be born in a room full of love."
I whimpered a little - it was so sweet. He was born, they wrapped me in warm blankets fresh from the dryer (a ritual now with my births ) because the adrenaline usually leaves me "shakey." Then we slipped into an herbal bath with candles lit all around while we watched our baby's eyes open wide up and drink us in. I didn't ask for these things. They were just part of my midwives birthing routine I guess. Lucky for me!!
I wasn't doing cartwheels during the actual birth part but, yeah, it was still good because I was in good hands. I trusted and cared for the people that were with me. I knew they were there for me. I think that's a big factor going into birthing. Be in a place and with people you trust.
Now for the horror stories... I understand women need to process and talk about their births. I find myself talking about my births all the time - I love it! However, I don't perpetuate fear and I had some fear issues creep in after #2. When I talk to new moms I find myself trying to say as many positive things as possible just to balance out the fear laden stories they've heard. I think it's important to be respectful to those who need to "process" their difficult birth but, while pregnant myself, I won't listen to it. I don't need to hear it. I'm focusing on a healthy pregnancy and a wonderful birth. Those are my expectations and I believe words are powerful. I think other women can understand that. Seriously, before they get the first "OMG! My first birth was the worst!" out, I would stop them politely and kindly let them know that you are looking forward to having a great birth and you would be most appreciative if they helped you toward that goal by not imbedding any undue, unnecessary fear. Maybe too strong?? Oh well, I'm not so good with tact sometimes. In short, they can get on board or shut it
PS Like I said, I had some fear issues creep in after #2 but, honestly, I would say all my births were great. There are specific things that happened during each one that I just get so d@mn weepy over. Feeling #2's little head right inside my body - weird but sooooo cool! Having her slither into my hands. #3's birth was just so peaceful and quiet. The bag of water bursting right before I pushed - felt soooo good I think I started smiling! I could go on - but you get the picture. I don't think I'm "lucky" to have these kind of births. I think I make decisions that create a good birthing environment and I prepare my body and mind, kwim? I don't read "scary" birth books. I read practical and inspiring birth books.