Face to Face with Childbirth
Updated: Feb 28
Face to Face with Childbirth:
“My experience the first 100 days postpartum”.
Choosing to become a mother is about entering into a new lifestyle, the one we think we know everything about, researching books, articles and other people's experiences. Creating life itself is an experience that is equal parts rewarding and terrifying. The feeling inside your body when you feel your baby is inexplicable.
Those 9 months forming the baby, I felt like I was floating on a cloud, I was so focused on the process of creating life, and I didn't really think about what I was going to face during the birth, besides taking care of a creature that depended solely on my care and that of my partner.
I think we don't talk honestly about the situations we are going to experience with the arrival of the baby. Midwives and doctors talk to you about an idyllic theory, and even in movies we see childbirth as almost perfect, very fast and magical. We don't think about childbirth until we come face to face with it. That phrase: "the moment of childbirth has arrived" echoes in the ears of many as a special moment, but unfortunately for many others, it stirs up feelings and chills because of the bittersweet experience of the moment.
I remember being excited, nervous and anxious, those 9 months had gone by so fast, and in no time I would be face to face with the love of my life. It was time, the baby was ready, but something inside me was not going as expected. There my world stopped, I began to feel the anguish of a mother, the one that activates the same day you get the positive pregnancy test, and you know deep inside you, that you are going to start a great battle.
Entering the hospital because my blood pressure shot through the roof was the first sign, my baby was showing signs of wanting to come out, but my body did not respond in the same way. It was an arduous 5 days to fight the battle of my life, 5 days in which my water naturally failed to break. My water broke to help the baby, but things kept getting twisted. I became infected with the procedure; I developed a fever and my strength waned as the hours went by.
They tried speeding up labor with oxytocin and misoprostol, but my cervix would not dilate to open the canal for my baby to come out.
The pain of those days was intense, exhausting and desperate, but you don't stop to think "I can't", even though your strength is waning, your battle, your goal, is to have the baby in your arms. The painkiller pumps in my arm were not working, and the doctors were considering a cesarean section. I kept finding myself face to face with childbirth and now with surgery, I stared at them and faced them with the weapons I had: "MY DESIRE".
The miracle happened, my body responded, and after those long and agonizing 5 days, I was able to dilate and give birth to my son.
Goodbye childbirth, "I told you so": my desire has won you!
It sounds cliché to say that this inexplicable pain will be erased from your body and thoughts immediately when the baby is delivered in your arms. It is not cliché, mothers, it is like that. From that moment on, the power returns, and the instinct is strengthened even more, because being a mother is just that, instinctive most of the time with the decisions you are going to make with the baby.
Two of us go into the hospital, and three of us come out. The medical discharge is the starting signal to begin to live the Olympics of motherhood.
Arriving home, looking at my partner and seeing the baby in my arms made me feel excited, but tired at the same time. Those first days with a newborn can be lived as chaos or glory; I had a bit of both (insert laughter).
Getting to know the 3 of us, trying to create a routine and feeding a baby were the first challenges to complete. I decided to offer him the breast and feed him exclusively with my milk. I confess, breastfeeding was hard, very challenging, and exhausting. Theory is not the same as practice and if there is something that we mothers should share with other mothers-to-be is that breastfeeding is "on demand", there are no schedules, there are no pre-established rules, the baby creates his own pattern and we accompany him in the process. The key here is to form a team, and the couple is an essential link.
By nature, we women are the ones who feed, we do that part of the work, but the couple can and should cover the rest of the needs of the mother and the baby. In my case, the support was and still is absolutely committed. While I spent hours breastfeeding, my husband did the laundry, cleaned the house, made the food and walked our dog. I did everything and more, because he understood that my strengths were focused on feeding and caring for our little one.
Changing the baby, bathing and cooing are fundamental aspects that create a secure attachment bond between father and baby. While that was happening, I had time alone, and how important it was, the one that your subconscious cries out for but tries to sabotage you in equal parts with the famous "guilt". No mothers, a rested and happy mother will raise a happy baby.
I insist on the team, motherhood and parenthood are a puzzle that you have to know how to fit almost perfectly. Nobody gives us a manual of procedures when the baby is born, nor do they tell us how to face the changes in the couple, home and work that we must adapt to after the new member.
A baby is exhausting, a baby needs time, a baby needs daily care, a baby needs its parents, a baby only wants you around because you represent its security and love figure. A baby changes everything, and a baby is everything. Taking it on is a challenge, but when you embark on this lifestyle, the satisfaction and love that springs from deep within you makes it all worth it.
And well-deserved mothers, we have all had that moment of holding the baby on our lap and connect with the look, touch them tenderly on the cheek, and feel their little hand holding our finger. That is magic, that is purity, and it is a feeling difficult to describe in words.
I invite you to live motherhood accepting the chaos, accepting the tiredness, embracing the difficulties of parenting, understanding our emotions, expressing naturally your feelings with your partner, making mistakes with your decisions but looking for solutions, being honest with your fears, enjoying the moments of peace, managing the moments of tension, understanding that expectations cannot always be met.
In those first 100 days with the baby at home, how much you learn, how much you struggle, how much you evolve... but how much you enjoy.
I have opened my heart to you again,
Until next time,
A photographic mother.