My advice to first time mumma's to be...
I will say, I hated the unsolicited advice I often received during the latter stages of my pregnancy. 'Do this', 'Don't do that', 'you need this', 'make sure you have that', 'this happened to me', 'you will experience this'. It was endless. And it was all offered when I didn't ask.
Throughout my own pregnancy, I didn't pass off any advice I had to other expectant mothers. I myself didn't want to know the ins and outs of childbirth, what could happen or what did happen to fellow women. I felt the less I knew, the better for me and my intrusive health anxiety. And even when it came to my own experience during pregnancy, I often kept my mouth shut.
So when I experienced childbirth myself, with those 'wise words of wisdom' rattling around my head, I realised what utter shit was spoken to me prior to labour.
All the previous worries I had, concerns and expectations, all went out the window because nothing is as expected or what you had planned - it rarely is when it comes to health.
Read my birth story here.
You can't really plan anything. You can have ideas of what you want, would prefer and how you would like your labour to look, but as often happens, situations change, your ideas change during labour and often you create a path to birth that suits you, your active labour and the safety of you and bubba.
So what is my advice to first-time mummas worried about childbirth? What would I say to 39 weeks pregnant Charlotte if I had the chance?
Roll with the punches.
Literally. Have an idea of what you want your birth to look like: The pain relief you do and don't want, any equipment you may want to use ( birthing pool, tens machine, birthing ball ) and accept this may not make it to your labour.
What you expect you may like, you might not. What you think might happen, could very well, but also, might not. Labour cannot be predicted, and it's best, in my opinion, not to put too much pressure on what you want yours to look like. You'll only have heartache when it doesn't happen for whatever reason.
Take other birth stories with a pinch of salt.
I ignored the birth stories that came my way from other women during pregnancy. I didn't want to hear horror stories, nor glowing reviews, worrying mine could be as bad, or not as blissful as others.
Everyone labours differently, with every experience being varied. What didn't work for some women could very well work for you. Listen to others' experiences if you want to, but take it with a pinch of salt, for your own sanity.
Don't sweat the stuff you can't control.
I was soooo worried about tearing during labour. My worse nightmare was that 4th-degree tear. News flash, I did tear. I required stitches. I was super worried about going to the toilet after. And you know what, it was okay in the end. I was lucky, not everyone has stitches and tears and feels quite as good as me, but that was my journey. Post labour, I wish I hadn't worried about the stuff I really couldn't predict, nor control.
You've got this girl!
Someone said to me, during pregnancy, you will feel like you can tackle anything after labour. You will feel kick arse! They were spot on.
Post labour, once I came around from all the drugs, cleaned up, dressed and wobbled from the hospital to the car, I gazed at my daughter, relieved from the last 24 hours and thought ' Damn, I'm superwoman!'.
We, women, are superhuman I tell you! You have got this, you can do it! Whatever your labour journey is, however you deliver your bubba, you are superwoman. Your body has produced something truly amazing and you did it, no one else but you.