Labor already has a terrible reputation, so when Miranda Kerr said her natural, drug-free birth was so painful, she thought she was going to die, most people probably were not terribly surprised. And while I am sure it was intense (because duh), it does not do women any good to hear all the time how awful labor is.
It is not just to spare pregnant women, either. Our culture as a whole seems to have this idea that labor has to be terrible. We all have to curse and yell and scream and cry and eventually, even those of us who prepared for and planned a drug-free birth, will beg for the epidural.
It is simply not true. Now, I am well aware that I had textbook simple pregnancies and extremely easy labors, which makes me unable to comment on medical intervention. Certainly, when it is needed, it is wonderful. The point is, it is not always needed. And labor is not always a screaming mess of pain.
I practiced Hypnobirthing for both of my births, which is a natural means of pain relief that involves relaxation and visualization combined with light movement and partner massage. It sounds hokey, but if you practice before the labor, it really does work.
By the time I was at the hospital with my daughter, I was in a zone. During the classes, we were taught to change the language around birth. It was not a "painful" experience, but rather an "intense" one. They were not "contractions," they were "surges."
Now, I also have really good genes when it comes to labor. My mom had very easy, quick labors right on her due dates. She never asked for or needed drugs and I was actually present in the room during her second birth, so a lot of the fears most women had, I did not. I had seen one happen and knew it was not that bad.
And while I realize my experiences around birth are not the same as everyone else's, I also know that I felt all the same things most healthy, average women feel during labor. But it was not that bad. I was OK. It was work, sure. But it was not some excruciating mass of pain and horror that blurred together and I hated.
I loved my labors. They were empowering. It may just be one story, but I feel like there is a dearth of nice stories and most of the noise around labor involves how painful and awful it is. So, Miranda Kerr, who has every right to share her story just contributed to that unwittingly.
It's too bad she did not keep those details more private.
Do you think labor is awful and painful?
Image via thebigshop99/Flickr