It Doesn’t Matter How You Get to the Party: Birth is Different for All of Us

Birth is different for all of us. I am currently 37 weeks pregnant and staring at a calendar that has a date on it, circled in red and fast approaching when I will be induced. 

This is my fourth child, and all three of my previous pregnancies have been induced because I have been up to 12 days “overdue.” All of my babies have weighed between 8 pounds, 12 ounces, and 10 pounds, 2 ounces at birth. This history of big babies that stubbornly refuse to come out has prompted my doctors and me to decide that, this time around, I’ll be induced earlier than in the past.

My due date has usually meant nothing to me, a mere suggestion that my body flies right by without acknowledging in the slightest – so having a literal end date on a calendar has me feeling all sorts of mixed-up feelings {thank you, hormones!} I wonder if I’m doing the right thing by “planning” this birth more than I have “planned” out others in the past.

birthWomen have so many options when it comes to birth in this modern age. We can schedule a C-section or an induction. We can give birth at home, at a birth center, or at a hospital. We can give birth at 37 or 40 or 43 weeks depending on a whole host of factors. Every baby is different, every woman is different, and every birth is a wholly unique experience. 

But – does it really matter? 

Hear me out with a little story: let’s say you and a bunch of friends from across the country were gathering for a reunion. You were looking forward to the happy event for months and made a lot of plans as the date approached.

You were going to have to travel to this destination, and travel is always a little frustrating and uncomfortable. You didn’t know quite what to expect, because even if you try to plan for every problem that may arise, something always seems to throw a wrench in your plans! Regardless, you made it through the hours of travel and were so delighted to get to the party. It was great to see those you loved and to finally spend time together after so many months of anticipation!

In the course of the event, let’s say an acquaintance came up to you and asked, “so, did you fly here or drive here?” You responded that you drove, and it took you 10 hours in the car to reach your destination. The acquaintance scoffed and replied, “10 hours? That’s crazy! I flew, and it only took me 2 hours.” 

It’s a strange situation, but let me ask you – in this story, does it really matter how you got to the party? 

No! What matters in the above hypothetical situation is that both you and your acquaintance got to the party safely and that you were having a great time with people you love. Whether you flew or drove doesn’t really matter. The same scenario applies to giving birth.

Maybe your acquaintance flew because they were in a car accident on a road trip in the past and didn’t want to repeat it. Maybe they had a health issue that made sitting in a car for long stretches too difficult. Maybe they were in a different place financially than you were at that moment. They certainly were starting out from a different city than you were!  

Whatever the reason, they chose to fly and you chose to drive – and you both made it to the party safely. 

I think the same metaphor can be applied to how we think about and talk about birth. 

birthSome women choose to have an unmedicated birth. Some choose C-sections, and some choose any number of other options in between, but we all have the same goal – to safely bring our baby out of the womb and to enjoy the gift of a baby after birth. 

The reasons we choose {as much as we can} to give birth how we do comes from a whole host of factors. Maybe we had a traumatic birth in the past that we aren’t looking to repeat. Maybe we would love to give birth in a birth center, but that isn’t in our budget. Maybe we have health issues that make our birth decisions for us, whether we like it or not. We all come to birth with different cultural biases and expectations. 

Now, I’m not saying your birth experience doesn’t impact you because it most certainly does. Many people will say “well, all that matters is that the baby arrives safely!” While that is the priority, how you feel about your birth experience is important to your mental health postpartum and beyond. All women want to feel safe and in control as they traverse the uncertain and often uncomfortable process of labor and delivery. No one wants to feel forced into anything or regret anything, and birth trauma is real. Please know that if you experienced a traumatic birth and are working through the repercussions of that event, you are not alone. What you went through is valid and that pain is real. 

That being said – women are good at feeling guilty about everything related to our kids, even in regard to how they were born. Let’s stop that. 

If you choose to “plan” out your birth, that is okay. 

If you choose to not plan out your birth, that is okay. 

We are all coming at this momentous point in our lives from different places, and that is okay!  

Whether you “fly” or “drive” or choose anything in between, you are doing your best with the information that you have.

My prayer for all of us is that we “get to the party” of snuggling our newborn baby in our arms safely – and enjoy the journey along the way! 

What was the birth of your child like?

Did you have mixed-up feelings about your choices surrounding their birth?

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Hi, I'm Katie, a teacher by training who is currently loving the SAHM life. I live in Chesaning with my husband, principal of Zion Lutheran School, and our three young kids. My roots are in Milwaukee, but have been a small-town Michigander for the past 6 years and love it! I run a toddler/baby playgroup called Mornings with Mommy in Chesaning - come check us out! My loves include coffee, reading, cooking, writing, my family, and Jesus most of all. Being a mother is a great blessing, and I am grateful to be a contributor with Mid Michigan Moms - can't wait to journey through motherhood with you!