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My first look at childbirth came during a prenatal class when I was pregnant with my first baby. As the teacher pressed play on a well worn video about labor and delivery, my husband and I sat in wary silence in the dark along with our classmates, soon-to-be first-time parents just like us.
It all started out well enough, but by the time that poor mother in the film was ready to push she was topless and screeching. As for those of us watching, one woman had fled the room and another had her head buried in a pregnancy pillow. I sat with my eyes glued to the TV screen, wide-eyed and horrified.
It wasn't the depiction of pain that worried me so much as the complete chaos of it. I'm not a loud, out-of-control type of person. I really never yell, and I speak so softly that my husband is always having to ask me to repeat myself. Yet I suddenly had this vision of being so overcome by pain and exhaustion that I'd tear off my clothes and start screaming like a wild woman in the delivery room.
Thankfully, that wasn't the case. I delivered both my babies without medication and didn't scream a single time. I think I grunted. I probably swore. I definitely pleaded for it all to be over. But I stayed fully clothed from the waist up, and for the most part pretty quiet.
It turns out that childbirth doesn't always look the way it does in the movies – or even in home videos. A group of our site moms who delivered without drugs recently revealed what really went down when when their babies were born. Take a look...
I'm relieved to hear that I'm not the only foul-mouthed mama out there! Those delivery room doctors and nurses must hear some pretty colorful language.
The thing is, it's all perfectly fine. Scream or groan or pray or chatter or swear or stay silent, or sing show tunes for that matter. Giving birth is no joke, so do whatever you need to do to get yourself through it.
As for that old childbirth video, I still think it would have been better suited to a high school sex ed class than a prenatal lesson. The "scared straight" approach to pregnancy prevention works better when you're not dealing with a group of women who are already approaching their third trimesters.
Photos: iStock, Thinkstock
This post was originally published in January 2017
Opinions expressed by parent contributors are their own.