Why I’m Terrified of LaborClaire Diaz-Ortiz
I have a little over a month before I give birth to my first baby, and I’m feeling anxious about the birth.
Well, let’s be honest. Anxious is an exceedingly light word for the intense fear coursing through my body and mind when I think of the onset of labor pains, and the hours or days that will then follow.
I thought this was normal, until friends with babies began to express surprise over my confession.
Asking things like, “You’re really nervous about birth?”, or “You truly feel scared?”, or “I wouldn’t have expected that of you.”
All comments to which I respond, equally surprised, with different degrees of alarm. “Yes. A bit.”, or, “Of course I’m SCARED”, or, “I’M SCARED OUT OF MY MIND AND PRETENDING NOT TO BE.” My specific reaction and the level of alarm to which it betrays depends entirely on the particular friend of hand, of course.
The truth, as some of those friends hear, is that the act of birth scares the daylights out of me. Although I don’t consider myself an easily scared person — I travel alone all over the world, I walk at night sometimes when I shouldn’t, I find scary movies entertaining — this whole birth thing is, for me, taking fear to a whole new level.
Because, in reality, I’m not so great with pain. My husband jokes that when I get sick I find the act of moaning more productive than taking medicine. It’s true. (Although I do both, to my credit, I do like me a good moan when I’m not feeling well.)
I’m also not absolutely great with surprises. Although no one’s ever thrown me a surprise party, I’m sure my first thought upon seeing a group of loved ones gathered to celebrate my birthday would be whether or not I was wearing a good outfit or not.
The double whammy of surprising pain — I hear this is par for the course when it comes to birth — seems like a whole lot of something I don’t want. But I do want the result. Oh, how I’ve waited years for the result.
The sweet, little wailing pink one that will find herself flapping about in a nurse’s arms, and then in my own. The tiny little bundle of life-changing energy that will take my life and turn it on its head so that it can never go back. Oh how I want that.
So I’ll take it. The anxiety, the fear, the pain. Bring it on.