I always have an addiction. I get it from my dad. It's part of being a high strung, Type A, slightly OCD, passionate person. I never seem to be able to just be interested in something. I have to be over the top obsessed.
My addictions have ranged from wedding planning, to interior design blogs, to upcycling old furniture, to researching baby gear, to grilled cheese sandwiches (my mom used to tell me in high school that if I ate many more, I'd turn into a grilled cheese sandwich!)
Well, right now my addiction is birth stories. I can literally spend hours upon hours reading women's birth stories, and I'm not picky. I'll read natural births, medicated births, easy births, long hard births, pretty much anything I can get my hands on. I guess real life accounts have been a preference of mine for a long time, though. I always preferred seeing real wedding pictures, and articles about real people throwing real parties. One of my favorite days of the week is Thursday because my favorite design blog Design*Sponge features before and after projects on Thursday. As awesome as it is to see pictures of fully finished projects done by professionals, there's something even more inspiring to see real process pictures of real projects done by real people. So, I guess I shouldn't be surprised that I prefer real birth stories over theoretical information.
But I don't think this is the only reason I love birth stories. When Jay was deployed, a fellow Navy girl posted a link to a YouTube video of an aircraft carrier homecoming. I think I watched that video almost every day that he was gone, and on really difficult days I would watch it over and over and over again and just cry. But they weren't really tears of depression. They were tears of release, of longing, and of anticipation. Something about the video kept me going, kept me looking forward, kept reminding me that there was an end to all this. It also gave me a vision of what homecoming would look like since I'd never seen one before.
Sometimes the unknown is the most terrifying thing. When I was young, I never wanted to be a mother. My dolls would having different names every day since I never could remember what I'd named them the day before. My best friend drove me crazy because all she wanted to do was play dolls. (Now she has 4 kids of her own, and is one of the best moms I know!) It wasn't until a professor in college recommended that I read this book about childbirth in America and the OB vs. Midwife view of labor and delivery, that I finally saw myself as a mother. I truly think my fear of labor was what had me vowing and declaring I wasn't cut out to be a mother.
That single book sparked my interest in childbirth, a passion I carry to this day, and relieved my fear of the unknown. Reading about strong women who conquered the most difficult thing any woman is asked to do, inspired me. It gave me confidence that I could do that as well, and it even made me look forward to the time when I can join their ranks. Childbirth is a rite of passage, and one I am doing everything I can to prepare myself for. I know it is going to be painful and I welcome that. I know that the pain has a purpose and will result in me being able to hold my Butter Bean.
It's kind of similar to the way I feel about tattoos. Taking away the pain of a tattoo would almost diminish the feeling of pride in the work. There's something about enduring the pain that makes me feel like I've earned the right to wear the ink. I feel similarly about childbirth. I feel that through this right of passage, and through the pain, I will earn my place among thousands of generations of women. I will earn my place as a mother.
Happy Friday everyone! Hope everyone has a wonderful, restful weekend!
PS: Nothing I write on this blog is meant to be seen as a judgement of other women and how they have chosen to become mothers. Just because this is how I feel about childbirth doesn't mean it's the only way. There are many, many women who are wonderful mothers that have never given birth, some through formal adoption, others simply embody the spirit of a mother and comfort the motherless. This is also not meant to say that women who have had c-sections or utilized epidurals or other pain medications during labor have failed in any way. Childbirth (whether spiritually, emotionally, or physically) is scary and painful and all mothers should be celebrated and revered!