We refer to childbirth as a miracle for very good reason. What the human body goes through to bring a new life into the world is truly astounding, but what nobody tells you about giving birth is there are a lot of unpleasant (if we are being honest: super gross) details that are often glossed over. While most people are too squeamish to talk about the nitty-gritty of the birthing process, every single mother has had to deal with it in the delivery room. The blood, urine, fecal matter and mucus were definitely left out of that sanitized “Miracle of Life” educational video we all watched in our sex ed class. When the baby was actually delivered in the video, I definitely covered my eyes, and only as an adult woman am I getting my facts straight. We need to start talking about what a woman actually goes through when in labor, and a new video from BuzzFeed is helping to start the conversation.
A large portion of sex education in America still focusses on teaching abstinence, and students still carry around an egg or sack of flour to "teach responsibility." I guess this is easier than explaining that babies essentially arrive on a tsunami of human waste. Here are a few facts about what actually goes down in the delivery room, cause having a baby isn't just about heavy breathing and a few pushes. Our moms had to put up with a lot!
There Won't Be Food
If you are hungry while in labor, that's too bad. Best to get comfy, because that grilled cheese will have to wait until after the baby is born. Doctors do not allow women going into labor to eat, because the contractions frequently bring on waves of nausea and possible vomiting. If you ate dinner before, it may come back to haunt you. All you get is a few tasty ice chips, which is just another reason so many pray that labor doesn't last more than a few hours. If your hubby decided to eat takeout in front of you, there may be a problem.
There Will Be Blood
As my mother says, when giving birth you have no control and you cannot stop the process, which "sets you up for being a parent." Unfortunately, mothers don't get to choose when the natural labor starts. When the baby reaches a certain size, labor is induced by fetus by releasing steroids and hormones that cause the muscles of uterus to contract (ouch). The cervix becomes shorter and wider (dilating to about the size of a grapefruit), so that the baby can fit through. This is all super painful and uncomfortable. Not to mention, that you have the obstetricians hand up your vagina, checking to make sure everything is progressing smoothly — so multiply those unpleasant feelings.
With all the straining and pushing a human out of your body tears will happen. Sometimes an additional incision must be made to prevent tearing when the babies head pushes through (called an episiotomy). It will take some time for the body to heal after birth, but that's what ice packs and donut cushions are for!
There Will Be Pee... And More!
To ease the immense pain of childbirth, may women opt to have an epidural. Anesthetic is administered directly into the spine which numbs the lower regions. When you are told to push, and you can't really feel exactly what's happening down there, the effort can produce gas, urine, or the dreaded poop on the delivery table. These are all totally normal parts of labor, and good doctors and nurses will keep the waste in check. But losing control of these faculties in front of your partner or the obstetrician can still be embarrassing. Thankfully, you might not even notice, since you just want to get that baby out already!
There Will Be... Babies!
Once the storm of labor passes comes a quiet and peacefulness. You are exhausted, and excited, and your life has been completely changed. The body will heal and return to normal, but now there is a completely new normal cause you have a baby!
Thankfully, you will always have those terrifying photos of the labor and delivery that your partner took on their smart phone. Just hope they don't post the ones where you're covered in sweat and screaming to "get this baby out of me now!"
Watch the full video here and see more about the crazy things that only happen during childbirth:
'Cause they don't call it labor for nothing.