Five Things I Wish I Knew Before I Gave Birth

What moms really need to know before the big event

Every mother has a birth story and they love to tell it. I’m not sure if it has to do with our need to process such a large life event by recalling the details or if we are just so darn proud we went through it and came out the other side. Either way, we love to share.

As a mother of three, I have heard many of these stories and have a few of my own, but what I think is much more helpful is the things about labour we don’t often share. Instead of knowing how many minutes you pushed for or whether or not you pooped on the table (I know you did), it’s time we parents shared what expecting moms really need to know before the big moment.

Take the time to shower first-My water broke with my first daughter after a long bath. I was almost two weeks overdue and completely over being pregnant. With no contractions and zero experience, I headed to the hospital with post-bath hair and a bare face. Of course, what I didn’t realize at the time is that 12 hours of labour later, I would be accosted by visitors armed with cameras. These photos would then be posted online. Seven years later these photos still haunt me. I’m not saying moms should do a full face of makeup and an updo while going through painful contractions, but, jump in the shower and wash your face. Trust me, you will be much happier with your pictures.

Consider your team carefully- The birth of your baby is going to be an event when emotions run high. The moment the midwife told me we were going to start pushing, I felt a wave of fear. You need to consider who is going to be helpful in this situation and who will not be. For my first daughter, I had a whole group in the room to watch the birth and the least helpful person was my husband. He was freaked out, pacing and making really awful jokes. Luckily, one of the other people in the room was his mother, who was able to talk him down. I was also grateful my own mother was there because when it comes down to it, when I am scared I want my mom.

Short list the waiting room-As important as it is to choose the right people for the delivery room, the waiting room is almost as important. While many may want to be a part of your experience, labour can last for days, especially first babies, and you don’t want to feel the need to rush your labour because 20 relatives are waiting in the hall. You also need to consider that you will be sweaty, in pain and have a sore lower half. Are you in the market for a bunch of visitors or would you rather let this life moment happen in a more private setting?

Trust your body-When you feel the urge to push (which I only felt with my last delivery) it feels like you are about to crap your pants Bridesmaids style. Now if you are worried about pooping on the delivery table this sensation is going to up that fear to a million. You need to feel confident enough to trust your body. (This is also why lots of moms end up delivering on the toilet.)  Just like I recommend taking the time to shower before things get crazy, I also recommend spending a few quality minutes on the throne. Don’t learn this lesson the hard way.

Don’t post in haste-While you are over the moon with your new little one, you may want to consider delaying their online debut. Once the news of your delivery is on social media, some may take it as an invitation to visit. As eager as you may be to show off pictures of your new baby, the thought of socializing with people in your living room is likely much less appealing. Delaying your announcement until you and baby are well settled in and ready for visits could easily avoid some hurt feelings and guilt.

The most important thing to consider about your birth experience is just that: it’s your experience. Just make sure that the decisions you make are in place because you want them and not to please anyone else. After all, you are speaking for two now.

Melissa Robertson

Melissa Robertson

Melissa Robertson divides her time between writing her for the Parent Life Network and wrangling her three children that have lovingly helped her earn the title 'hot mess mom'.