My son will be three years old in a little over a month, and with each birthday, like I’m sure many mothers do, I find myself reminiscing about his birth.
Looking back on past experiencing is not always filled with regret, Often it is simply for the sake of learning from what one has gone through and knowing how to do better next time. This is one of those times.
Born at home on a bitter February night, he was no small feat to bring into this world. I had a great, supportive team that knew what I wanted and strove to help me have the best birth experience I could. And for my first birth, it really was wonderful! But looking back on my forty hour labor with three hours of pushing, there’s a few things I know now that I could have done differently to help move things along.
I could have walked more. I barely moved the whole time I was in labor. I don’t even know why. I knew I should. But I felt so awkward and anxious, and didn’t even realize I was feeling that way. And for me that just translated into sitting on the couch wondering why on earth it was taking so long for me baby to get here. Despite the fact that it was cold outside, why didn’t I go for a waddle outside? The fresh air and space would have felt so nice.
I should have slept more during early labor. Man, I was so excited. And little did I know that after my water broke, it would be forty long hours before my baby breathed his first breath. I was so exhausted by the time he came that I felt like a narcoleptic…if I closed my eyes for two seconds I would feel myself falling asleep! Maybe that was my sign that I was getting a kiddo that wouldn’t sleep through the night till he was 18 months old?
Early labor was so slow and mild that I could have slept most of almost two days before things really picked up. But my excitement and anxiety kept me from truly resting and preparing for what was to come.
I could have done squats or wiggled my hips. I only did this a couple times, And it really would have helped a lot! When I got in the pool after my labor had finally progressed enough, it not only felt so good but I was able to do some “Captain Morgan” style poses in the water and wow! It was amazing how fast things sped up after that! And how good it felt to stretch my legs and hips out too. I do remember thinking in the midst of that, “Why did I not do this earlier?!”
I should have prepared more for postpartum. This is probably my only real regret. People, I had no freezer meals, almost no groceries, and not even any good leftovers. I had gotten bored in the weeks before and ate a bunch of the good snacks my mom had brought me way too far ahead of time. So less than two days after birth, I was shuffling through the kitchen trying to come up with meals and sending my husband grocery shopping.
Let’s just say that next time, I’ll have freezer meals made, groceries stocked for at least a few weeks, and utilizing Walmart pick up or something of the like.
I should have accepted the help that was offered. Basically, I didn’t know how to. When people asked me if I needed anything, I didn’t know how to say “Yeah, if you want to bring us a meal, that would be great!” I just brushed every offer off by saying I was fine and we didn’t need anything, all the while honestly trying to convince myself of that fact. I did need help. And food. And someone to talk to me. And maybe to even hold my baby while I took a shower. Or do some dishes for me. But instead I worked myself into anxiety attacks and felt so alone and overwhelmed.
Bringing a new baby into the world is an exhaustingly beautiful thing. It can be hard to know how to set ourselves up for success and to know when we need to accept help or just ask for it.
But we can all learn together how to go through these tough moments better. We aren’t going to get it right every time, but we are having the conversations and that’s the most important thing of all.