10 Things Women Should Not Apologize About During Labor and Delivery
From the moment we find ourselves peeing on a stick, it’s obvious we have to surrender some degree of dignity when it comes to pregnancy—and the birthing process is no exception. In fact, labor and delivery are filled with uncontrollable bodily events that would be embarrassing anywhere, let alone in a hospital surrounded by doctors and nurses we barely know. If you feel yourself compelled to apologize—don’t! It’s all part of the birthing process. For all pregnant women whose greatest fear is pooping on the table, I write this list: 10 Things Women Should Not Apologize About During Labor and Delivery.
10. Crushing the bones in your husband’s hand during contractions. Considering what you’re about to endure, serving as your human squeeze ball is the least he can do for you.
9. Having your water break on the bed/floor/nurse/birth plan folder. Not only do your nurses see this every day, multiple times a day, but they are also thrilled to have this happen because it means the baby is finally on his way.
8. Falling asleep after you get the epidural. It’s not as if you’re bored. It’s just your last chance to catch some ZZZZs before the midnight feedings and 3 AM diaper changes and 5 AM wake-up calls.
7. Begging for the epidural. Contractions hurt. As does giving birth. (Which is why I personally believe epidurals are the second-most glorious invention, right after butt-lifting jeans.)
6. Not dilating or being “ripe enough.” You can walk the entire length of the hospital and bounce on that ball all you want, but the baby will still come whenever he feels like coming (which pretty much encapsulates the parent-child relationship).
5. Swearing like a sailor. The baby isn’t the only thing that drops during labor; you may end up dropping F-bombs, too—in the direction of your husband or doctor or that nurse who dared to suggest you take deeper breaths before pushing. You’ll have to start censoring yourself soon enough, so why not let it all out now?
4. Losing control of bodily functions. Pooping on the delivery table and throwing up during labor? Happens all the time. By the time you say “I’m sorry,” it’s already been cleaned up. Don’t even give it another thought.
3. Not pushing hard enough. If a doctor or nurse “scolds” you for not pushing, don’t waste your energy on apologizing. Instead, channel it into a good push. (Pushing the baby, that is—not the nurse.)
2. Declining the invitation to touch your baby’s head. Your doctor may ask if you want to reach down and touch your baby’s head as it is crowning. If you’d prefer to concentrate on just getting him out, or are afraid you might faint upon touching it, there is no shame in saying, “Thanks, but no thanks.”
1. Needing help to breastfeed—or with anything baby-related, for that matter. Not all babies arrive knowing how to nurse properly; similarly, not all new moms instinctively know how to feed, burp, bathe, swaddle, or change Baby’s diaper. No one is judging you. Just ask (for help), and ye shall receive.
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