Mothering Forums

Mothering Forums (
-   Birth and Beyond (
-   -   What did you learn about birth that you wish someone had told you? (

mamazee 07-20-2013 12:25 PM

I had never heard of an episiotomy until I was pregnant. I wish I'd known that word earlier. My life's mission became to avoid that, and luckily I did.

I learned through the birth process that having the baby isn't the end of it. I thought I'd have the baby and it would be all over! I also wish that had been better explained to me.

What did you learn that you wish you'd known?

JamieCatheryn 07-20-2013 01:25 PM

I knew a lot before birth, classes and books aplenty, but there are some things I had to experience to understand. Like that I would have my own unique way of doing it and the birth would happen whether I was loud or quiet, relaxed or active, and no matter what it was a success. I wish I'd really known with my first it can take a long time so rest up until you can't anymore. Also that you have to let go, surrender and get out of your body's way.

michelleepotter 07-20-2013 01:30 PM

I wish I had understood how often Pitocin is overused, that there's nothing really wrong with labor progressing slowly (or even unevenly in spurts and stops), and that just because someone says, "You need ..." doesn't necessarily mean that you do.

Unfortunately, I was reading a wonderful book that covered all of this -- and I read that chapter right after I got home from my unnecessarily augmented labor turned c-section. Sigh.

myra1 07-23-2013 05:57 PM

Since I'm in the U.S., so, so, so much. What are we doing to our women with these standard hospital births!

tpase 07-23-2013 05:58 PM

complete and utter lack of sleep.......seemingly for the REST of your life! :))

tm0sweet 07-23-2013 06:10 PM

2 Attachment(s)
I wish someone had told me about the shakes after the baby is born.... When you just can't stop shivering. I was afraid I would give my first baby shaken baby syndrome I was shivering so badly

PrimordialMind 07-24-2013 12:03 AM

How much blood i would lose, both right after and for weeks. I was unprepared for that the first time and i had a normal loss of blood. I wish i had adult diapers on hand, that would have made for easier clean up and less mess.

How much birth can truly shake my foundation. I thought just the baby did that, but no. Maybe its because i've had unassisted births in which i had to become really in tune with my intuition, or maybe this is just how birth is. I've never been the same, giving birth has completely changed my perspective on life, in a good way.

How needy you (the mother) feels the first week or two after. I thought just the baby was going to be needy. Boy, was i wrong. I felt almost like a baby myself. I needed to be held, listened to, fed, loved, and nurtured. It was an extremely vulnerable time.

GISDiva 07-24-2013 09:52 AM

Originally Posted by tm0sweet View Post

I wish someone had told me about the shakes after the baby is born.... When you just can't stop shivering. I was afraid I would give my first baby shaken baby syndrome I was shivering so badly

I shook during labor instead.  I swear, that wore me and my muscles out way more than the actual labor part.  I really, really hope that doesn't happen this time...


I agree on the vulnerable part, Primordial, I wasn't prepared for that either.  Between the hormones and the Life Changing Event and the part where everyone leaves to let you take care of another human being all alone, I was a mess!

Tiffa 07-25-2013 02:35 PM

This is my first so I have been trying to be informed by reading plenty of books, and discussions on different forums. I am also signed up to take prenatal classes at my hospital. I am eager to hear what you experienced mother's have to say here. 

Adaline'sMama 07-25-2013 05:08 PM

I wish I'd known that all of the massage techniques DH learned werent going to work. I did not want to be touched. Period.


Also, I wish someone had told me about how the afterpains get worse every time. 

bobcat 07-25-2013 06:08 PM

Believe it or not, I didn't realize quite how big my tummy would look, even on a "thin" person, afterwards. So then when I saw Duchess Kate not hiding her bump today (postpartum), I was like, "you go girl!" That was the first time I had seen a woman's belly so "closely" (not covered or hidden) right after birth. Since I was thin also, I assumed the bump would flatten out, but it wasn't......and I think most people in the real world don't realize, you REALLY will look 5-7 months pregnant afterwards, unless you TRY to hide it. I spent weeks thinking I was a freak of nature.


Also, I wish someone would have told me to bring earplugs to the hospital. I wasn't planning on getting an epidural, but did. Then I wished I had earplugs so I could sleep. You can hear the nurses and stuff going on outside your room at night, in Labor in Delivery. I finally buzzed the nurse to bring me some at 4 AM, but I only had 1.5 hours of darkness left to sleep at that point. I had packed TONS of stuff, scoured every list on what to bring, and never did I see earplugs mentioned. I didn't use a lot of the other stuff!


I also wish I would have read up more. I "knew" I wanted a natural delivery, but I still wasn't educated enough on what an epidural was, etc, until the very end, when I crammed. Things can change, so just know it all. Know what a C-section is like.


I wish I would have known not to get too attached to anything.....this or that outfit, this product for newborns, etc. Things change so quickly, that you may scarcely have time to use an infant carrier, before your baby outgrows it. So don't obsess about any "thing."


I wish I would have realized how nice it was to stay in the hospital overnight, multiple nights. Sacrilige, I know!!! But it was nice having food brought to us, every meal, and never having to leave the baby's side, and hubby never having to leave our sides, not for a moment. There were no awkward fights about how to do this or that, because there was someone there to be a tie breaker. Even if we ignored their advice.

PrimordialMind 07-25-2013 07:05 PM

bobcat: i hear ya about the postpartum belly, i was shocked and disturbed by it, too. I felt so flabby and unattractive. It took a few months for it to go back to normal. I might try belly binding next time, i've heard great things about it.

nj001 07-26-2013 07:21 AM

Okay, most of this I wrote as though what I would tell the version of me who is nearly 8 months pregnant if I could talk to me, then.  It obviously doesn't hold true for everyone.

And it's not all about birth but about those first few weeks, I guess because the labor came and went but those first weeks and months were quite an initiation to motherhood!





Not all moms deliver their first late.  I was nearly a month early and it was scary! 


Hire a doula! You will not want to speak to your loving husband once contractions begin.  He just doesn't get it and can't say or do the right thing no matter how hard he tries!


Severe, severe sleep deprivation in the early weeks, followed by spurts of severe sleep deprivation in the months ahead.  And that it will pass.


There will be no time to prepare food for a while, so if you don't have a lot of people preparing casseroles for you after the birth, do it for yourself beforehand.  Prepare as much as will fit in the freezer.


Breastfeeding was significantly harder and more painful than anyone prepared me for.  (This could be followed by a list of things I could have done to make breastfeeding easier). 


At 97.8 degrees she did not need to be put under a warmer to heat up.  She needed skin to skin with a blanket and to nurse.


As soon as someone utters anything that suggests you should hold your baby less/wait to respond/ etc., you should tune them out immediately.  They are so, horribly wrong.

Hold her more.


It may feel like your instincts aren't kicking in, but they are and in time you will see how strong they are. 


There will be moments where you can't imagine it's possible for you to do what you're supposed to do all by yourself without sleep.  But you are and the payoff is great!


I'm sure there's more but that's it. It's a wonderful journey and is completely life changing.

AllisonRH 07-26-2013 11:05 AM

No one told me how amazing I would feel after an unmedicated, natural birth. I had this amazing rush of feel-good hormones and turned to my midwife and just said "I feel AMAZING!!". And also how absolutely starving I would be.


That everyone loves to offer you parenting advice - I love to hear different opinions but at the end of the day I do what feels right and works for me and my family. Whether that is AP or not, or any of the other theories behind parenting just doing what works for you and feels right was the best decision for us. It did make some of our family members a little upset that we weren't parenting in the same way that they did but I am ok with that.


Your friends that have kids will be way more understanding and helpful than your friends that don't have kids. This may be just my group of friends but I totally didn't see this coming. I thought my friends without kids would be by more but they just weren't.


Oh - and how emotional you are the first couple weeks after giving birth. I always heard about the baby blues, and PPD, but being the kind of person who rarely cries and have never had any issues with depression I just assumed I would be fine. I cried a ton (happy tears as well as sad tears) for about a week and a half or so, then on an off for awhile after that.

monkeyscience 07-26-2013 11:23 AM

Originally Posted by mamazee View Post

I learned through the birth process that having the baby isn't the end of it. I thought I'd have the baby and it would be all over! I also wish that had been better explained to me.

yeahthat.gif I read so, so much about birth, and a little about breastfeeding, and thought I'd just be okay with a baby. We went home less than 5 hours after our baby was born, and looked at each other like... what the heck are we doing?!? (It was 1 AM by this time, too.)


I wish someone had explained that the feelings of not being able to cope any more when you're in transition aren't just psychological. It actually hurts more! I was under the impression it was an all-in-your-head thing. Um. No. Contractions getting closer and closer and harder and harder is not all in my head.


Also, next time I need to tell my husband/midwife/someone to remind me why I shouldn't scream at the top of my lungs, and why I shouldn't push my baby out as fast as humanly possible. I know why, but I couldn't access that knowledge at all in the throes of labor.

monkeyscience 07-26-2013 11:24 AM

Oh, and while eating something in early labor may be good for keeping your energy up, you may want to skip the bagel and cream cheese in active labor, or you might just spend the rest of your labor feeling like you're going to barf.

vanni 07-26-2013 01:23 PM

I wish I had known more about the possibility of prolapse (uterine, bladder, rectocele) and how to minimize the chances of it happening. This extends into the postpartum time - I think that we're expected to jump back into things very quickly before we have fully healed and that can have an impact on our pelvic floor health.

vanni 07-26-2013 01:24 PM

Oh, and I wish I had known more about postpartum depression and had told myself it would be truly okay to ask for help. I didn't and I regret it.

LittleCapucine 07-26-2013 01:52 PM

That afterpains are full blown contractions during nursing with subsequent babies...and to pee before nursing and lay a full hot water bottle on your lower abdomen while nursing to keep them tame.

Have chapstick and a hairtie around during labor.

That postpartum elation is also a real thing, and equally hormone-driven as the depression flavor.

That milk letdown can be toe-curlingly painful, so if the baby seems latched well and then two minutes in it hurts, it could well be just letdown.

That being unable to get back to sleep at 2am will be with you for years, wakeful and watchful mama turf.

Be alone mostly with your newborn listening for the uncertain idea flickering across your mind on why she is doing Thing X or maybe she needs Thing Y.

Being just a family alone at home for six weeks is full of what is good and needed.

Birth opens you to the world, literally, and the most vulnerable time lasts with the bleeding. So avoid the meanies like flu carriers, you've got no armor up against them. It will one day return, but if they are mean now you will never forget it.

Moby the!!!

magnoliasmom 07-26-2013 10:31 PM

For my first and only so far, I was so geared up for having an awesome natural birth but really didnt consider what happens after that.  I really didnt know how tough the first few weeks would be.  And then additionally, looking back I see that had I focused more of my preparation on becoming a mother and not just birthing that it actually would've been helpful in the birth.  I think I was subconsciously apprehensive about becoming a mother and that actually stalled out my labor towards the end.  (Over-analyze much?)  


Oh and lastly, my goodness I wish someone had looked me in the face and said "TRUST YOURSELF!"

cheer4hen 07-27-2013 03:26 PM

I wish I would have researched more "what if's...."


I had a fantastic birth plan with no IVs, eat, drink, walk around during labor, no pain meds, go home 12 hours later... etc... 


Then when the time really came to have my baby my water broke, and six hours later I went to the hospital because I wasn't having contractions. Of course they started me on a cascade of interventions leading to a C-Sec. I'll never regret that because me and my baby are happy and healthy, but I wish I was more armed with information about "what if my water breaks and contractions don't start", etc. 

srieger 07-27-2013 06:37 PM

I wish I would have known that the entire birth event can be really really fast (even if it's your first time)! Like a lot of you, I was very well read and "prepared" for the birth and was expecting contractions to begin and then become closer together over time.  In actuality, the contractions came out of nowhere and were 30 seconds to 60 seconds apart from the beginning. It was totally wild!


I also wish that I would have known that the intense pressure that I felt was not some bout of violent diarrhea but maybe, just maybe my water needing to break.  (I almost threw in the towel on our home birth because I thought I was going to cover my husband in "you know what"!) Silly I know but I couldn't help it!


More than anything though, I wish I could scream from the rooftops that birth can be exhilarating, empowering and here is the kicker...we women were made to do it!  We weren't "made" to sit at desks all day or to stand on our feet cutting hair all day but we were made to birth babies.  That is the one truth that can help you through those contractions and keep you feeling strong!

nj001 07-27-2013 06:59 PM

Originally Posted by LittleCapucine View Post

That milk letdown can be toe-curlingly painful, so if the baby seems latched well and then two minutes in it hurts, it could well be just letdown.
Oh my gosh. I forgot how much the letdown used to hurt. This passed for me and there is nothing remotely painful about nursing (anymore), but it used to hurt. A lot.

nj001 07-27-2013 07:00 PM

Originally Posted by LittleCapucine View Post

That milk letdown can be toe-curlingly painful, so if the baby seems latched well and then two minutes in it hurts, it could well be just letdown.
Oh my gosh. I forgot how much the letdown used to hurt. This passed for me and there is nothing remotely painful about nursing (anymore), but it used to hurt. A lot.

MadameXCupcake 07-27-2013 07:09 PM

That the first time you go pee after birth you might have cuts and it will burn something horrible. I screamed and jumped off the toilet it surprised me and burned SOOOO bad. I told my midwife after and she was like thats what that squirt bottle is for that I left in the bathroom. How was I supposed to know?? lol

isad3 07-27-2013 07:41 PM

That if it ends in a c section, it's ok. Your babys birth is just as amazing and beautiful as natural delivery. I was so sad about it, then my husband said " how cool is it that you love this baby so much, you were willing to cut open your body just so you could hold him " It changed my whole attitude, my scar is proof of strength and love smile.gif

monkeyscience 07-27-2013 09:18 PM

I wish someone had told me that even with a positive outlook on birth, even with the belief that our bodies are made to do this, even with a midwife and a birth center and the works... it might hurt really, really bad. So bad that if it had been possible, I would have walked away and committed to never, every having any children, bio or adopted, if only someone would make it stop hurting. I wish someone had told me that it might take weeks, if not months, to get over the trauma of that pain. But that I could and would move past it, and even actually want to have children again!


About postpartum - I wish someone had mentioned to me that I'd be peeing on myself for awhile, and that if I wouldn't wait so long to go to the bathroom, it wouldn't happen so much! I also wish I had known that if your stitches haven't dissolved by 2 weeks or so, you should really get someone to look at them, and possibly pull them out. Because healing will actually go so much better when they are gone! (I didn't know dissolving stitches could just fail to dissolve, but I know I'm not the only one this has happened to!)

Viola 07-27-2013 11:29 PM

I think people did tell me, I just didn't believe it.  That you won't really be in your normal frame of mind, and will be in a weakened and vulnerable state for people who had a specific agenda.

Also, take lots of photos.  You will wish you had them after the fact. 


When you have a homebirth and people decide to leave you alone for awhile, you may start to feel abandoned.  Same after the birth.  I didn't think I would actually miss being in the hospital, but there was something about how the nurses seemed to regard me, how they brought me meals and checked on me and told me I did a great job and my baby was beautiful--all that stuff that I didn't get afterwards giving birth at home.  So I did feel elated, but it was like, "Yay, I'm done, let's celebrate" and it was time to be quiet.  But I'm probably just weird like that.

Jaxy 07-28-2013 05:03 AM

How hospitals actually push c-sections... When I was reading about the birth and all, I always skipped the c-section because I thought it wouldn't happen to me... I cried from the moment the doctor told me I would have one to the moment I saw my baby... Must have been 8h....

AllisonRH 07-29-2013 08:21 AM

Originally Posted by magnoliasmom View Post


Oh and lastly, my goodness I wish someone had looked me in the face and said "TRUST YOURSELF!"


YES! I was pushing and totally ready to give up. I remember saying "I don't think I can do this" and both my midwife and my husband at the same time said "YES YOU CAN!". It was amazing to have that kind of support behind me and I owe it to them for helping me make it through and giving birth the way I wanted to.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 06:01 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Resources saved on this page: MySQL 5.56%
vBulletin Optimisation provided by vB Optimise (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2017 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
vBulletin Security provided by vBSecurity v2.2.2 (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2017 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
User Alert System provided by Advanced User Tagging (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2017 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.