Bringing a little person into the world is incredibly hard work. It can be frightening and overwhelming, the ultimate test of endurance - both mentally and physically.
But birth IS beautiful - normally once it's over and the baby is in your arms. Time will generally cast the memory of birth in a rosier glow than the one you might be feeling smack in the middle of your labour. Or the one when the baby is crowning. Holy shit, that's a moment when you know you're alive.
There is no one way to birth. No right way. Nobody can fail at birth. We do what we can do.
And no matter how that baby gets out of your body, it's practically guaranteed that when they turn three, you'll want to leave them on the nature strip with the hard rubbish. Three-year-olds; much harder than childbirth.
Like everything, the birthing suite has changed and evolved over time. Husbands are now in, in many cases the obstetrician is out. Lamaze is yesterday, Hypnobirth is now. Changes, options, slowly but surely helping to make the space safe and nurturing once again. Until you're in it, you can't know how important that will feel as the birthing woman.
Embracing childbirth as a ritual of empowerment and celebration has seen the rise and rise of birth photography. In some ways, I think it would have been lovely to have a visual record of the experience but I was too vain to consider it. Silly of me because every pic I've seen of such a session has been beautiful and moving.
I wanted to share some extraordinary birth images I found on Pinterest with you. Enjoy.
And check out this short video of a woman giving birth in the bath - a little quicker than she expected to....
Firstly, wow! And secondly, why didn't my babies all slip out like that? Apparently the story is that the husband was downstairs letting the midwife in the front door but baby could not wait. This poor woman looks absolutely shellshocked. I would love to hear a follow-up story - what happened next, amazing mother in the bath? And was it a boy or a girl? Damn it, Oprah, come back and have this woman on the show!
It's crazy and beautiful, this having babies business. It almost makes me want to do it again....almost.