From the heart: Reality of labour and entering motherhood

How did you find labour? If it was a doddle and you have no complaints, then wow, seriously good for you! But this is reality and let's face it, labour isn't pretty, it isn't easy, and it doesn't come without it's down-falls. Although you get something absolutely AMAZING at the end of it, the actual giving birth thing is bloomin' horrible. And post-birth traumatic stress and post natal depression are way more common than you may think, so never be afraid to speak up.

Everyone see's images on social media of the 'perfect life', sometimes these images include how radiant a mother looks after just giving birth. Some show her getting out and about 2 days after having her baby, with a flat tummy, a beautiful face of makeup and gorgeous hair. While some very lucky Mum's are like this, and good for you!! The reality is that most new Mum's aren't. So don't compare yourself to what you see online!

I came across a lovely lady, Hajra Ghanchi who was willing to share her labour story with me, with the hope it'd help someone else. It took Hajra a long while to get over her labour, and writing about it helped her. So here's her story, it's full of embarrassment, gore, and very personal moments, but it's honest...

In Hajra's own words:

“Why are you crying? Aren’t you happy? We’re finally going home!” I looked around the room where my husband and new born baby sat together on the chair. We were going home. I should’ve been happy. I was happy! But I also had another one million emotions running through me. I remembered the nights where I was alone in that very room with my new born baby, struggling to stand up from the pain of my stitches, pressing the buzzer and waiting what seemed like a lifetime for someone to come to my aid, looking at the clock in front of me and counting down the minutes ‪till 10am‬ when my husband would arrive.

I looked at my baby, his tiny hands and feet, so perfect, so innocent. Only been in the world for a week, yet what a week it had been for us. I had heard horror labour stories, of course I wasn’t expecting it to be a walk in the park. But I did not for even one moment expect this. I felt guilty as the question “why did it happen to us?” kept cropping into my mind. What did I do wrong? I was active. I worked right till the very end, two weeks before my due date to be precise. Long walks after work with my husband who would bribe me with ice-cream after we’d done our second or third lap. I prayed. So why did it go so pear shaped?

I wasn’t the type who had written out a birth plan. I knew things in the labour room would never go ‘to plan.’ You can’t plan these things. But I still had an image of how it would happen. I guess in my mind I was convinced that I wouldn’t be induced and I definitely wouldn’t be having an emergency caesarean section. In my mind my waters would break, I would feel pain and begin to time my contractions and then go to hospital towards the end when my contractions were getting close together, I would then after a while, even if it was a long while, even if it was immensely painful, give birth to my baby (preferably a water birth) and I would be handed my baby and it would be the most magical moment of my life. But what happens in the mind and what happens in reality are two different entities.

My waters did break. But I had no pain. “You need to come in straight away,” said the midwife I spoke to. “Why? I’m not feeling any pain yet?” Looking back, I should’ve taken my rose coloured specs off at that point. I should’ve taken them off and trampled all over them. We went in of course and after a few checks were sent back home. I left the house thinking the next time we come inside I’ll have my baby in my arms. I was told to come back if I experienced pain, if not then the next morning I would be booked in for an induction. In my mind though, I knew this wouldn’t happen. It wasn’t what I wanted, it wasn’t what I had prayed for.

That day, I prayed for pain all day. Nothing. Not a tiny bit. I woke up the next morning, trying to stay calm but feeling nervous inside. I tried to act like it was a normal day, as if getting a baby was like going for a quick shop. “I’ll be back home before I know it,” I thought. Once we were at the hospital and the dreaded (and awful might I add) induction process took place, we were left to our own devices. We went for a stroll, and I tried to have a bite to eat but I could slowly feel the pain kicking in. By late evening, my contractions had begun and they were getting stronger. I could feel the pain resonate inside me, taking over my whole body. It was a pain I had never felt before, but I knew I could get through it. “It would be over soon,” I kept telling myself. I was told my husband could now stay the night and I was officially in labour. “Your baby will be here by early hours of the morning.”

WOW! I thought to myself. I wasn’t one of those women who went in thinking ‘no pain relief!’ I was happy to have an epidural. My aunt, who was more of a best friend, stayed with me whilst the epidural was inserted in me. I sat still, even through the contractions. She held my hand tightly. We had been through so much together, and now she was with me through this too. I held on to her tightly. “I’m so proud of you,” she said. The pain almost instantly disappeared and I was as comfortable as I could be in the hospital bed, falling asleep whilst watching my husband, uncomfortably sat in the chair near me. It didn’t matter though, as our baby would be here soon, this would all be worth it. Nicola, a midwife stayed with me that night.