You Don’t Have To Love It: Don’t Mention Oxytocin

Women are supposed to love childbirth, such an uplifting experience. That’s what people tell you. Not me. It hurt.

I was told I’d forget about the pain and look back euphorically at bringing life into the world. I didn’t.

I’m not saying I’d change anything, I love my kids like the next mom. But don’t tell me their exit from me/entrance to the world was wonderfully simple, as it’s just not true.

Now, I accept no-one said I’d forget about the pain and anxiety of the big day instantly, maybe I’ve not waited long enough. It’s only been twenty three years after all, and that’s since the last one.

There’s a clue in that last sentence about why it shouldn’t scare you if you’re pregnant. I’d hate to put anyone off, I’m just keen to squash the myth I swallowed hook line and sinker a quarter of a century or so ago.

I’ve had this conversation repeatedly over two decades or more, and what I can tell you is women fall into at least two camps on this. The first camp, which I’m very pleased about, are the moms that agree with me. Then there’s the second camp who felt no pain and tell lies.

Note that I did say at least two groups. There are women who haven’t had children. Let’s call them group three, and then promptly forget about them. If you’re in group three and have a problem with that, come and have a go if you think you’re hard enough. I warn you though, I’m rock hard, I’ve had a baby and lived to tell the tale.

Then we’ve got group four, who have multiple children, but only the first was a natural birth. I never saw through this in the early days, but now I wonder if those cesarean births were a little more elective than I was led to believe.

Of course, I’m saying all of this in a slightly tongue in cheek manner. That’s deliberate, because we all know that childbirth is significantly worse than man flu. Some men even admit that openly.

The point I’m trying to get across is that things are referred to as ‘worse than childbirth’ for a reason. Often those things aren’t worse than childbirth at all, in itself it’s designed to be a tongue in cheek comparison, so acting out this article might require multiple tongues.

What I’d like is for first time moms to get slightly less of a shock. Perhaps some young ladies will be terrified at the thought if they know the truth, but right now that might mean they stop at one child for fear of going through it all again – don’t they have the right to go into number one with their eyes open too?

As a final parting thought, I’d like to leave you with this. Next time you’re tempted to suggest that the oxytocin will help with labor and childbirth, whether that’s to manage the pain in real time or make the experience magically turn into a utopia in hindsight, just keep in mind that mom to be might be a mom already, and that same oxytocin might cause a little discomfort in the side of your face.