Accepting Unpredictability

As a Type-A planner/organizational freak, I have to say, the various unpredictabilities of pregnancy — specifically, childbirth — scare me most of all.

I’d been trying not to think about it much the past few months, to be honest. I’d cover my ears and sing “lalalalala” til the cows came home … anything to avoid having to think about it.

Fear of childbirth is not abnormal; of this I’m sure. Few women get excited at the idea of squeezing out a watermelon. But childbirth is something absolutely unavoidable once you’re pregnant: there’s really no turning back!

Baby has to come out.

My best friend, who had a great labor with her son a few years ago, gave me a copy of Great Expectations (a book I highly recommend; it’s become like my bible of sorts) and, knowing my fears, suggested I might want to skip the graphic images of the pelvic bones separating during labor for now, as they are quite disturbing.

I”m glad she forewarned me — I definitely skipped over that chapter upon first read! But then recently one day while flipping through the pages, I came across the graphics … and let’s just say my whole body hurt thinking about it.

Still, it needed to be seen at some point, so I’m glad I got it out of the way. I mean, we all know the baby has to come out somehow… I was just trying to put the “how” out of my mind for as long as possible. πŸ˜‰

But now I’m past the half-way point. And sometime this fall, my husband and I will need to take birthing classes, breastfeeding classes, etc…. and as I grow, it will continually feel more real, which means the actual birth will be coming … it’s just a question of “when.”

And therein lies the dilemma. My “due date” is December 19. But anyone who has ever had a baby or knows someone who has had a baby knows due dates are not usually accurate … estimates at best … and often babies come sooner or later than said “due date”.Β  Which means a helluva lot of uncertainty for mamas-to-be.

Which is, in a word, scary.

My whole life has, for the most part, followed a trajectory I controlled. While I’ve had to endure some unpredictable experiences and moments (and had to be patient a lot!), for the most part, I’ve been able to map out my first 30 years.

But now, with a baby, I’ll be entering completely unchartered territory. If my anxiety levels were high before … I can only imagine how they will be with baby or in the days leading up to baby’s arrival!

Unless for some reason I have to have a scheduled C-section (or at the last-minute have to have one), I’ll be at my baby’s whim … contractions, water breaking, labor … nothing I can control.

She’ll be ready to go… and I’ll have no choice but to roll with the punches — something I am NOT good at. I’m getting better, believe me, but the thought of being truly physically out of control terrifies me. Hence, I’m trying now to face these fears by putting some thought to them instead of avoiding the inevitable: because she WILL need to come out and I WILL have to deal.

Fortunately, I have a husband who is very grounded and will do his best to keep me sane throughout this whole process … but ultimately, I am going to need to be OK with unpredictability.

And I believe thinking about these things now — mapping out ways I can handle it when time comes (or throw them to the wind, who knows!) — will be helpful in the months and years to come.

I’m not saying I’m not still afraid, or that I’m totally embracing the idea of it being so unplanned and uncontrolled … that’d be a blatant and utter lie.

But like all my experiences thus far with anxiety … I know I have the power in me to manage my reactions to it, even if I can’t control it.

I’d say that’s a pretty good lesson to have learned, and one I can carry through this pregnancy and mommyhood and beyond.

How about you? Are you afraid of childbirth/the unpredictability of it all? Any moms care to weigh in on their birth experiences?


7 thoughts on “Accepting Unpredictability

  1. This is where I respectfully disagree. I think you’ve already been dealt with much that was out of your control. You just might not have realized it. And, I’m here to tell you, you handled it with ease.

    I will also say there is no way in he-doubehockeysticks I would’ve wanted to see those graphics. I know from where the baby comes and that was scary enough. πŸ™‚ I felt as prepared as I could while still not knowing when CJ would arrive. Then, 40 bazillion hours later, there he was and I forgot how someone the size he was could’ve arrived from my stretched out pelvic bones.

    1. Thank you … you’re right, in this situation I have … I just meant in life, in general, I’ve been able to carve out the path I wanted (for the most part) — this pregnancy,as you know, has been a complete exercise in lack of control for me! πŸ˜‰ But thank you … that means a lot! πŸ™‚

      LOL … I hope to feel that same elatement after!

  2. Before and during my pregnancy, I held to a theory that there’s so much focus on giving birth because it’s this sensationalized, female only event… and I felt like there was significantly relatively less “talk” about what happens after the birth. I just kept telling myself the birth was going to be one day (or 2-3, depending on experience) but after that was when the REAL work began.

    I have to say that while I didn’t want a c-section, I appreciated knowing exactly when I’d be giving birth. It made the Type A part of me very happy, although it makes going to bed the night before so weird. You’re not supposed to know when you’ll give birth, you know? I think the unpredictability helps prep you for the unpredictability of motherhood. πŸ™‚

  3. In my experience, childbirth itself = no big deal. Yes, it was the most exhausting, painful thing I’ve ever done (and I’ve run two marathons – they don’t even come close! πŸ™‚ but I had nurses, midwives, med students and doctors helping me through the process, telling me what to do. I didn’t take a class on childbirth, but I read a few book chapters and that was plenty to prepare me. πŸ™‚

    Like Candice said, the real work comes afterward. There is so much focus on preparing for the birth process but I found that to be easy compared to the next 4+ weeks of physical recovery, lack of sleep, CRAZY postpartum hormones, breastfeeding, etc. Nobody prepared me for any of that at all and it made childbirth seem like a stroll in the park. It was so unpredictable, but I managed to get through it and come out stronger on the other side!

  4. I stumbled across your site after a not so good day emotionally. I can’t believe how much I can relate! Though I never lost a lot of weight initially, I have been living the second part
    of your story since I was probably 8! Oddly enough, I’m also pregnant (20 weeks) with my second. Being pregnant can be difficult when you’re used to controlling your food/exercise the moment you feel bigger or like you’re losing control (which as you know is a daily thing these days). I’m really glad I found this!

  5. Oh and on the actual topic… childbirth isn’t nearly as bad as it seems when the time actually arrives. Nature has a way of making you increasingly uncomfortable until you lose all fear and then the edorphines kick in! It’s amazing. Your body just knows what to do.I actually liked labor and delivery and look forward to it again. It’s painful and tiring, but then it turns out to be the best day of your life. I suppose it would be much worse if you had to endure that pain and just got some kidney stones or something.

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