A year ago today, I was a nervous wreck. I remember going for what was to be my last gynae’s appointment and confessing to him my fears. The thought of child birth had taken my mind through a rollercoaster. Of course I thought I was going to have a vaginal birth until I heard him say ‘Judith, it looks like we are having a 4 kg baby’.
My fears were now safely buckled and packed waiting to take off. A myriad of questions tormented my sanity. How on earth was I going to push a 4 kg baby? Then Dr Kiragu as if in consolation told me that an elephant cannot be overpowered by its tasks. He had noticed just how concerned I was.
I wanted December to move a bit further especially after members of our WhatsApp group started having their babies earlier than their expected delivery dates. I felt like I needed more time, to finish shopping for the baby, to wash his clothes, to rearrange my house, to pack my hospital bag, to be pampered and excused by everyone. I sure would miss being pregnant especially because of how people treated me. Most people were friendly, mothers would always offer advice, I would not queue anywhere for any service, I would fart in public and people would just understand that it was part of the pregnancy package.
More often than not, I wondered of the type of parent I would be. Was I ready to receive my prince charming? What if he was not as charming as expected, would I accept him for who he was? Would I figure out how to be a mother given that there was no manual. A friend had told me that I would learn on the job, was I ready for the task ahead?
I remember going for walks trying to be a little fit, they said it would make dilation a little easier. I went up and down those stairs at the roysambu fly over hoping that the baby would engage. I even bought a yoga ball and sat on it bouncing most of my days. I even had too much sex, following my doctor’s advice that it would help soften the cervix. If I remember everything I did just because I wanted to ensure that I had a vaginal birth just because everyone considered it to be the normal way, I pity myself on how misinformed I was.
Most people had advised me against opting for a caesarian section. Ask me why and I fail to understand the need for everyone to live as per the norm and not break out. See, I always thought having a cs would save me from all the pain and that it would be a bit safer but most people wanted to influence my thinking. They said that I had to go through the pain of child birth for me to be a certified woman. I wondered who had made them the decision maker as to who qualified to be a certified woman and who didn’t.
Watching those videos of childbirth on YouTube did a number on me. I remember crying for a whole day at the thought of it. It scared me to my core. I couldn’t imagine the pain, the sweat and the thought of a child’s head popping out of my vagina made me really frightened. I prayed for the grace to overcome my fear. The fear of going into the delivery room and not coming out. I remember my most common prayer was for God to let me and my baby come back home safe and sound.
A year later and I now know how misguided I was. I now know better. I know that childbirth isn’t a death sentence, it is not the toughest part of life if you compare it to motherhood. I’ve realized that motherhood is like going into an exam of a course that you didn’t choose, that you have no idea of the content and you have to figure it out: it rearranges your life in such a way that you may feel trapped in your own life but once you figure it out, you will love it. I’ve also realized that whether you go for a vaginal birth or a caesarian section no one should make you feel less of a woman