The truth hurts
Forget Hollywood, birth is painful and messy.
Mothers-to-be gather round. Heck, if you’re in the trying-to-fall-pregnant category, you might as well listen up as well. And take note, what I am about to tell you is something that you have probably never heard before. It is The Truth. And believe me, The Truth hurts.
Here goes. Labour is horrendous. There are no words for me to describe the pain, nor time enough for me to expand on the agony. The closest I can come to an accurate description is to say that it felt as if I was being ripped apart on the inside. Slowly. And after 10 hours of active labour and only one cm dilation, I had a moment where I was pretty certain I was not going to survive the next 10 hours ahead.
And no, you do not forget the pain as soon as you hold your bundle of joy in your arms. You weep with relief that it is over but I am pretty certain that the pain will be seared into my memory forever.
Before you all rush off and book your caesars (or your sterilisations), I must add that I was induced and apparently an induction is a lot more intense than going into labour naturally. I’d heard women speak of hours of mild contractions that resemble period pains, where they happily do a grocery shop or go for a brisk walk to bide time. With this in mind, my husband and I took Boggle with us to the hospital. A board game! What a joke!
My contractions were intense and right on top of each other from the word go. I could hardly walk to the loo and back when diarrhoea set in (oh yes, that’s another thing you have to look forward to). As you can tell, my experience was a far cry from the Hollywood portrayals where the heroine hardly breaks a sweat, which is why I’ve decided to spread The Truth far and wide.
But it’s not all doom and gloom, I lived to tell the sordid tale and at 8pm that night, after 20 of the worst hours of my life, we experienced what was easily the best moment of our lives: watching our son being born. Seeing his little head crowning and his little face crumpling as he joined us in the world. Hearing his cry for the first time and holding him on my chest seconds after pushing him out. All indescribable and, believe it or not, well worth the 20 hours prior to that moment. So, I certainly won’t forget the pain, but next time I will be better prepared. And I will also know that it is absolutely worth it. Is there a conspiracy of silence around the pain of childbirth? Or was Carrie just unlucky?