There really are no words to describe what giving birth feels like. I can compare it to lots of different sensations and emotions, but you can’t truly understand what giving birth feels like unless you actually experience it.
Any story you hear about giving birth is a unique and deeply intimate experience. Women love to talk about it, too. It’s a badge of honor that is worn with pride, regardless of how you brought life into the world. Whether your birth was medicated or unmedicated, vaginal or a c-section, full-term or premature, or resulted in a rainbow baby, each story is so special. After having my first daughter, I really didn’t know how to describe what giving birth feels like, and the only words that came to mind for me were intense pressure, strength, pain, and joy. I remember that even my teeth hurt after the whole ordeal, probably because I was pushing so hard that I was literally seeing stars. I’ve always wondered how other women would describe what giving birth feels like.
I am a part of Facebook mommy groups all over the country and I love it. There is always something I can relate to on the discussion boards, and it’s nice to know that there are so many other women out there going through similar experiences as me. I thought it would be fun to throw this fill-in-the-blank out there- “Giving birth feels like _______.”
I received tons of feedback from each group. Some were very graphic, some made me laugh out loud, some made me cringe a little bit, and some made my jaw drop. There were common themes I discovered as well…lots of descriptions involving having to take the biggest poop of your life, elephants on chests, bowling balls, fire, relief, and joy. I had to share some of my favorites, and I wish I could have shared every single one. Here are the top 25 ways birth was described when I asked women from all over the country what it feels like.
1.) Trying to poop out a turd the size of a dinosaur egg. I felt like my eyes were going to pop out of my head from pushing.
2.) I used Hypno-Birthing so there was no pain for me. Just a relaxed, calm birth. I’m looking forward to delivering again soon.
3.) It feels like “God, forgive all my sins, because I’m dying today.”.
4.) The truth? Unmedicated feels like intense pressure but wouldn’t describe it as painful… So I’m going say “intense intensity”. Medicated feels like “minor pressure.”
5.) I had a C-section and I felt like, a Halloween decoration…. with the guts and stuff spilling out.
6.) Failed epidural: …Frantically climbing a mountain, as you are being chased by a mountain lion. The lion bites you and then you have to grab your own mangled flesh and rip it apart.
Working epidural: …Holding your breath and scrunching up your face a bunch of times, wondering how that could possibly push a baby out. Oh look, there’s the baby!
7.) My last was natural, and I had no pain medication. It felt like hell and I was going to die, but after birth I felt so strong, and empowered. It’s the strongest and the most important I have ever felt in my life.
8.) Nothing. I had an early epidural and was induced. I felt nothing.
9.) It felt like my butt was going to fall off. So much pressure!! I told them it felt like she was coming out of yet wrong end…and then I ripped.
10.) Empowering. Especially my VBAC.
11.) Trying to move the entire earth, inch by inch… with your vagina.
12.) A walk in the park! I labor fast and easy! My shortest labor was 7 minutes and he slid on out, my husband had to catch him as no one was in the room!
13.) The most scary thing to be excited over.
14.) Power! Pushing felt like trying to fit a square block in a canning jar. It felt like a ton of resistance! But the second he crowned, my water broke and he came flying out! So incredible!
15.) 28 hrs of labor only to wind up getting an emergency C-section. I hemorrhaged so bad later that night (while my hubby was passed out cold on the floor!) that I had to have two blood transfusions. All I cared about as I was fading away, was that my beautiful baby girl was okay. I would’ve had no problem going to Heaven that day to take her place. She will always be my little miracle and still is.
16.) Giving birth feels like running a marathon while having a flame thrower blown at your vagina.
17.) A C-section is an out of body experience in which you’re watching a documentary about C-sections. But then when you feel all of your insides being tugged and realize that your lower half is being moved around fairly violently, you come to understand that you’re the documentary subject, and that you are, in fact, there.
18.) Amazing! The active labor/ transition part sucked pretty bad but once the doctor broke my water at 10 cm., it was wonderful! Pushing was such a relief for me. And somehow amid all the stitches and blood everywhere, I actually felt so much better. Something about pushing a 9 lb 15 oz baby out with no medication makes you feel like Superwoman.
19.) I had two C-sections. There was no pain, but I was able to feel a pressure release the second the baby was out both times. It was quite incredible. The recovery was more intense for my first. I attributed it to regular exercise when I was pregnant with my second. I did yoga right up to the day before my C-section and my recovery times were exponentially different.
20.) Birth was intense. Not painful but almost overwhelming. Pushing was something I couldn’t control and actually ended up fighting it while crowning to allow stretching. The baby was half way out looking up at us from beneath the water (we had a home water birth).
21.) Transition was like being in the middle of the ocean with no lifeboat- overwhelmed and out of control by the wave of the contraction, and then a little bit of peace when it was over. Pushing was easy in comparison. It was a relief to feel in control during that phase. Crazy, but the best experience of my life.
22.) Powerful and relieving! For my home VBAC, I loved being in labor both times. The sensation of pushing itself feels like a fullness between your legs and when things get to that point, its very exciting because the moment is finally there…it’s sort of a high.
23.) Like you can feel every fiber of skin on your lady parts ripping one by one like threads of a seam popping….. But they’re not- they’re just stretching. And just as you think I caaaaaaaan’t doooooooo ittttttt, you’re doing it and it’s over!
24.) I had 3 C-sections. No pain at all. I remember feeling cold because the OR is so cold. And anxious, but not scared or nervous really. The actual moment of delivery I just felt pushing and pulling and pressure, like someone sitting on my stomach. And then relief and utter joy as soon as I heard the cry.
25.) Cramping like you have to go #2 (for a number of hours), then your muscles contracting involuntarily, then feeling like a bowling ball is stuck in your pelvis. Pushing is something you want to do and I felt the most discomfort when they told me not to push. Once the baby is out it all goes away! Then you’re sore for a few days. I didn’t have an epidural and it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.
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