How You Give Birth Really Doesn't Matter

Do you think this monkey talked about how she gave birth? Probably.

Do you think this monkey talked about how she gave birth? Probably.

Tomorrow, I become a mom.

A lot of people say I became a mom when I became pregnant. But aside from the fact that I haven't eaten raw fish in nine months and said no to Dolly Parton AND Metallica concerts (both coming within weeks of this baby's arrival), I haven't felt like a parent.

Parents, especially to little kids, don't get go to the gym when they want. They can't just wing their day, maybe working for a few hours in the morning, then meeting a friend for lunch. They don't go on spur of the moment dates with their significant others. They don't get to sleep in until 9am. I've enjoyed all these things and more for the last 34 years.

Tomorrow afternoon, everything changes.

Our baby is breech (head up, butt down, legs constantly kicking my left side). She's not budging, so she's coming out in the operating room.

When I've told people about this upcoming, very medicated birth, I've had a lot of people ask,

"Are you disappointed?"

I'm not.

I kinda feel relieved. There are no guarantees in childbirth, but with a scheduled c-section, at least the element of surprise is mostly ruled out. I have a date and time, a good idea of what to expect and what recovery should look like. Does it feel like cheating? A little bit, but it feels a lot better than having a breech birth the old fashioned way, which often left baby and/or mom dead. So yay for modern medicine! 

That said, I've been mindful of sharing my c-section news. 

Once you're pregnant (heck, even way before depending on who you hang out with), you'll quickly learn there's a lot of conversation about birthing. Are you having the baby at home, at a birthing center or in a hospital? Drugs or no drugs? Doula or no doula? Midwife or doctor? Water birth or scheduled c-section? And let's be honest: no matter what your personal answer is to any of these questions, you'll feel judged.

Birth is regarded as grand finale. 9.5 months of training, culminating in human physiology's greatest marathon. Moms write elaborate plans explaining exactly how the race will go, how much or little intervention they'd like, and how they want to cross that finish line, down to the music they want playing over the loud speakers. 

That's fine, but why do we spend so much time talking about this stuff? 

I'm pretty sure birth is the easy part.

No matter how you do it, you most likely will be surrounded by people who deliver babies every day. They know exactly what to do, exactly how to fix problems, exactly what to anticipate next. There are only a few major interstates barreling toward Destination Birth. But once you hit parenthood, it's alllll spaghetti junction.  

I've had so many new parents say to me that they were so caught up in the birth stuff that they barely even thought about breastfeeding, or sleep schedules, let alone being a parent for the next 5, 10, 30, 50 years. It reminds me a lot of people who get so entangled in wedding planning that it's not until the vows have been said that they realize, oh shit, I'm married to that guy! Sure, planning a wedding is fun and all, but it's just one day in what's supposed to be a lifetime. 

Having kids is the same, only there are no backsies.

So I say have your baby in a warm bath in your living room. Or on a cold, sterile table in a hospital on the day of your choice. Or at a birthing center while huffing laughing gas with your entire family looking on. Or in a hospital bed, completely numb from the waist down. Or in a galvanized tub in the woods with nothing but the stars as your midwife and the moon as your doula. Do it whatever way you want.

Because guess what?

It's not about the birth, it's about the baby. Who turns into a toddler, who then becomes a kid, who morphs into a teenager, who later becomes a 20-something and then 30-something and maybe a parent themselves, and then one day picks out your nursing home. 

Yeah, I'm scared about having a baby cut out of my body tomorrow afternoon. But that's nothing compared to the fact that tomorrow I meet the person I'll love more than anything, who'll inevitably expand and sometimes break my heart. A person my husband and I will be in charge of shaping and caring about, in sickness and in health, until death do us part.

It's a huge responsibility, and while it scares the ever-loving shit out of me, I hear it's amazing. But I don't really know about that yet because today, I'm just Molly. 

Tomorrow, I'm mom.

* * * 

Like this mom crap I've been writing lately? Here's more of it-- like the 25 things that scare me about having a baby, plus 28 things that will make your pregnancy better.

Rather read non-mom crap? Here's a post about the time I went to a concert by myself

Giving birth is really just the beginning.

Giving birth is really just the beginning.