“I had a natural birth.”
“I wanted a natural birth but I had a c-section.”
“I’m planning for a natural birth.”
I hear the term “natural” a lot from women coming to my office.
What they mean by “natural” is an unmedicated, vaginal birth. But there is A LOT of unpacking that needs to happen with this term – from unmet expectations to the reality of what comes with it.
I wish that birth were simple. The story I heard growing up was my mom made my dad his birthday dinner, then he took her to the hospital and I was born (Yes, my dad and I share a birthday.)
I think many of us can attest to how NOT SIMPLE birth can be. Things don’t always go according to plan.
The common theme is that birth is hard. I don’t care how much you did or didn’t plan.
We all need to get something out of the experience. If you are the type of person who feels the need to laminate your birth plan (I’m the poster child for that idea), you’ll want to work on embracing flexibility.
But at the same time, if you don’t know anything, you don’t want to get caught off-guard.
This idea of meeting people where they are also comes into play with physical therapy. We need to have an idea of what’s normal so we know when it’s time to ask for help.
If problems like leakage or pubic pain do arise during pregnancy, we may not be able to fix it, but we’ll have an idea of what to look for in postpartum.
People want to share their birth stories, which I love, because I don’t think that was common with our parents’ generation. And it’s important, because the more stories we hear, the more likely we are to hear a story similar to ours and it can help us feel less alone.
If things didn’t go according to plan, and you logically know the comparison game is unhelpful, you still need to unpack that experience, both physical and mental. Ideal, this needs to happen BEFORE you decide to get pregnant again.
Birthing a child is a holistic experience and we need to treat it that way.
If you feel like you’re alone, you’re probably not. And being open to sharing can help you process.
If you’ve given birth, I would love to hear your birth story,
If you’re pregnant, I would love to hear your expectations!