What I Never Knew About Childbirth

So I didn’t know what placenta was until I took my birthing class.

Definitely thought placenta was the liquid that surrounds the baby (I guess that’s actually called amniotic fluid).

Definitely did not know that placenta is like another organ (not sure if that’s the correct terminology, but that’s what it looks like to me) or that you have to give birth to the placenta after you give birth to the baby (Oh goodie, can’t wait).

I find this lack of knowledge on my part interesting because between my mom and my three sisters, the women in my family have given birth nine times, and of course I have several friends who have given birth.

And yet, I had no idea about this placenta thing.

I’m not saying it’s good or bad- and it certainly isn’t their fault any more than it is mine- just an interesting fact about our culture that birth affects every one of us in one way or another and yet we talk so little of it… other than how painful it is.

***

Because I’m about to give birth I’ve been asking my sisters and my mom a lot more about it. What’s also so interesting to me is how each of my sisters’ (fantastic) personalities come across in the sharing of their birthing stories.

In giving birth it seems each woman reaches into herself and creates a story that is both uniquely her own and universally tied to the experience of other women throughout time and space.

And I’m about to become a part of this very raw birthing experience- this uniquely feminine and personal – yet global- journey. 

I have no idea what it will be like, and yet I know that my body was created to do this thing- this raw and messy and unpredictable thing.

And I just keeping thinking of the millions and millions of women who have chosen to give birth over time, and some who haven’t been able to, and some who have been mothers without giving birth, and some who have been mothers who lost their children, and some who have chosen not to be mothers, and some who have not been able to be mothers despite the greatest hopes of becoming one. All of us have unique perspectives, losses, and celebrations in this area of new life.

And some of it is so painful and most of it is so beautiful.

And I haven’t even started this journey of motherhood or birth yet, but I am thankful for the many, many women who have been a part of my preparation- from my mom and sisters, to childhood parents’ friends, to teachers, professors, mentors, adult friends- women who have inspired me and shown me to be courageous. Women who have loved me and forgiven me.

Women who have shown me that in tough times and immense amounts of pain – which I know are coming – I have a strength inside and a God with me that will enable me to do this very hard, very terrifying, very vulnerable thing called birth.

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