My best friend, Alyssa, and I have been friends since we were about 8-years-old, growing up figure skating together. I actually gave this little speech when I was maid of honor in her wedding, but I remember a conversation we had one summer when we were about 12 planning how cool our lives would be if we grew up and married guys that were best friends. In this dream world, we’d get married together, work together, live next door to each other and then have babies at the same time, all with the men of our dreams who’d be best of pals. This is the same perfect world where playing M.A.S.H. actually determined your future destiny. Pretty far-fetched, right?
Well amazingly our lives haven’t been too far off. We dated our husbands, Nate and Rob, for about 7 years before we got married. Let’s just say the guys love each other. Through the years we’ve regularly joked about their “bromance” with their late night talks about their friendship to their petty girl fights over stupid stuff. Ironically Alyssa and I, in our history, rarely have had silly girl fights like them, despite the fact that we were actually friends as little girls.
We got engaged about a week and a half apart, then married four weeks from each other. We were each other’s maids of honor and the boys were each groomsmen. We were both sky high in wedding planning, bridal showers, and bachelorette parties as we were each other’s maids of honor. That was one crazy year!
Then I started a new job, and since it’s pretty much the best company ever, about a year later I referred Alyssa to working there as well. As if we didn’t already spend enough time together, I work with her everyday now.
Since everything from those far-fetched, juvenile plans seemed to be working out, we said we were obligated to have babies together next. Clearly we waited until we were ready independently, but sure enough our due dates are eight weeks apart. To add to it, we are both having boys, so surely these two little guys will be buddies. I have really tried to enjoy the whole process of pregnancy, but it’s definitely more fun to experience it with my best friend.
Since it was just too perfect that we’re both pregnant with our first babies at the same time, we had to follow through with a photo or two! Because we’re dorks like that.
So what’s next? I guess the next thing on our list is buying houses next door, or perhaps we could settle for the same neighborhood. Hopefully M.A.S.H. really is real and they will be mansions. Or maybe we’ll have a round of girls for our next babes, our children can get married and we can grow old together spoiling our grandkids. Ahhh, only time will tell, but for now we’ll take in our sweet life.
When I tell people I am planning a natural birth, it’s interesting to me to compare their reactions. Everything from, “it’s amazing, you’ll love it” to “you know you don’t get a badge for that, right?” to “you just wait, you’ll want the drugs.” Other people don’t know that much about it, but either think I’m crazy or super brave based on what they know of natural birth from the movies.
I’m a first-time mom, which I think adds to people’s thoughts that I must be naive as to how painful, horrible, scary, and dangerous birth is. Especially when I say I simply don’t believe it is. Not that I’m unaware of complications that can happen in a small percentage. I’ve done my research.
But when it all comes down to it, birth is one of the most natural, sure functions of humanity. Think about it — thousands of years of biology has perfected and prepared the female body for reproduction — a function that has worked time and time again for billions of people throughout history. If you’ve ever seen an animal give birth, think about the peace and quiet calm in which they do so without any assistance. We have more developed brains, but otherwise, why should it be all that different? Why do women have this innate fear that somehow their bodies can’t handle it?
I can tell you why — conditioning. Birth as portrayed in the media, stories, and culturally is so often frightening. You see sweaty, screaming women with rags to bite on, clearly in utter distress. The greatest pains of society are always compared to that of childbirth, as if it’s the ultimate of all pain a person can experience. “It’s like pushing a watermelon through your nostril.” I remember being scared of it from the time I was a little girl. I always wanted children, but labor was something I looked forward to with fear. And with everything out there, it’s no wonder that females are terrified!
Because of that, it wasn’t that many years ago that I would have said “give me the drugs!” I remember thinking that someday when I got pregnant I would feel trapped. Not from the fear of becoming a parent, but from the knowledge that my baby would have to come out somehow. Surely I didn’t want to go through that much pain, right? If you don’t know much about it, why would you choose to when the idea of numbing the pain sounds so much better?
Then my friend had her daughter and shared her birth story. It was a beautiful, full of pure elation and made me see that natural birth didn’t have to be a scary thing. It could be a desired thing — inspiring. Even in her case where she was having a more “complicated” VBAC, her body handled it as it was made to do. It got me thinking.
Although I was nowhere ready for kids then, over the next few years I sparked up an interest in it and started doing research. I watched “The Business of Being Born.” I read birth stories and articles. I watched hypnobirthing videos. I had conversations with friends. I read “Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth.” I realized that even my PMS was preparing me for “someday” and when I’d get cramps, I thought of it as labor training. The more I learned, the more I trusted the way our bodies are created.
I not only became more confident in my ability, I learned all the benefits for me and the baby that come with natural birth. Your body and your baby being able to work together better, shorter labor, a natural oxytocin high (the love hormone) for you and baby, easier bonding and breastfeeding, and much faster recovery time to name a few. There are so many more. Women that have been through it talk about seeing a wall that didn’t think they could climb, and then scaling it. They speak of birth as an incredibly empowering experience. “If I can do that, I can do anything!” Labor went from being something that absolutely terrified me, to something I genuinely look forward to. And with an army of women that have done it before me, I go into it with confidence.
Despite today’s technology, I think women’s bodies know what to do better on their own than any doctor. Don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful for medical technology, and especially the life-saving capabilities that doctors provide when they are needed. But it’s also been shown that the more interventions that take place via medicine, emotional pressure and fear, and in-optimal position can cause more unnecessary emergencies than there would be without intervention. Your body is made to labor without all that stuff, so when you add it, you and your baby don’t always know how to adapt.
So to sum it up, I’m not doing it because I’m brave or naive or expect a badge of honor. I’m choosing a natural birth for the health of me and my baby and because I am confident my body was made to handle it. Whether you call it science or God, I trust that my body was given everything it needs and knows exactly what to do. I am excited, not just the end result of having a baby, but for the journey which will hopefully lead me to an empowering, life-changing experience.Read More
34 weeks. Starting the new year nesting like a crazy woman now the holidays are over and there are only a few weeks left! Who decided it was a good idea to give pregnant women all these nesting hormones when it’s so much harder to bend over and pick stuff up?Read More
32 weeks. I’m big enough to play Santa now! Got a big bowl fully ‘o jelly!
Also, since I’m nesting, made some cute gifties for friends and family. Stay tuned on the blog post!
And how cute is my little reindog? Poor Daisy. But she’s so cute!Read More
30 weeks. Got the crib put together. Getting closer!
See my whole baby bump series here!
28 weeks. So thankful for this baby inside me. Happy Thanksgiving! See my whole baby bump series here!
Also, had a wonderful time visiting my grandparents in Arizona. Oh, how the sunshine helps a pregnant mama’s soul!
Me, my mom and grandma got pedis!
I hope Nate and I are as cute as my grandparents someday.
Last plane ride before baby!Read More