Pregnancy Diaries
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Pregnancy Diaries

How I went from fearing childbirth to a labor expert

Anything you emotionally connect with, stays as a memory, and the rest is all just mundane life that passes you by...

I am Dr Labiba M. (MBBS, FGO) and this is my story.

Childbirth has always been something I feared. The fact that something that big needs to come out of such a small opening always made me cringe to the point of absolute muscle spasm in my lower half. After years of interacting with pregnant women, I have come to the realization that I was not alone in this fear and many women have felt this way too.

Fear of pregnancy and childbirth is real!

I want to point to media influence and its role in this. With the labor scene in movies, being shot as the most dramatic, sweaty, and painful experience that a woman can ever undergo, to all the screaming and anxiety around pushing the baby out. No platform ever portrayed birth as the peaceful process it was always intended to be.

Somehow these women end up in the hospital minutes after their water breaks, which you will be surprised to know that this is not how most labors start (most women just start getting contractions even before their waterbags burst into a flood down there!) to when they are down in bed, pushing a baby out whilst screaming their lungs out/ throwing things at their significant other!

I mean, what teenage girl is looking forward to that experience?

I also want to place some of this blame on the culture of not educating girls about their bodies at a young age, in turn hindering early understanding and intuitive mindset towards the whole process - be it sex, pregnancy, or just your regular menstrual period. The taboo created around these topics does not help the situation, in any way!

I realized young that I wanted to become someone important in the medical field. With all the hype regarding the medical profession and considering that my grades were not half bad, I decided to apply to medical school and see where it took me. Yes, I winged it!

Blood and gore never bothered me as much as the fear of a vaginal birth did. I had a few years before I had to start attending deliveries, which meant I had time to witness the inevitable, and I was temporarily relieved. I was doing well in all subjects up until that point. But, to my ultimate surprise, I was excelling (beyond belief) in obstetrics theory. I think it just gripped me so hard, and struck a chord so deep with my fears, that everything I read up on it grew deep roots into my brain to haunt me in my nightmares!

It’s true that anything that you emotionally connect with stays as a memory and the rest is all just mundane life that passes you by.

It wasn’t until the 3rd-year obstetric posting that I got to witness my first birth. Although the process had just started and there wasn't much to be seen yet — I am not going to lie, I was seconds away from falling down the minute they announced that she needed to push. I got lightheaded due to extreme anxiety and was sent away to take a breather. This is where the magic happened!

One of my professors came up to me and said, “Don’t worry, I passed out for my first labor too. Most successful obstetricians do, it happens because you care deeply… Use it wisely.”

I like to think of this as the turning point or pivotal moment of my career. Honestly, I did care, and I still do...

Even today, when I go in to attend a birth — I stress out when I anticipate complications and get goosebumps when the baby falls into my arms.
I have learned to channel my fears and insecurities, by recognizing their roots, to guide this emotion and empathy to do good and help women with similar fears.

My Birthing Experience

It came as no surprise to me that I wanted to conceive as soon as I was married. I was curious beyond measure and could not wait to finally gain some first-hand experience in something that I was witnessing as an outsider up until that point.

I undertook my pregnancy journey as any researcher would, and kept a mental log of everything I went through. I tried to use my medical knowledge and expertise to make sense of it all.

I would not be where I am without that wonderful journey. It truly gave me such amazing insights, that could not have been gained without this experience! Any amount of years working in the field would have fallen short of this.

My labor was, what I like to call, my spiritual connection with God. It was such an unexpected and wonderful experience that I had come out of it, a different person altogether — I was a Mother.

It was not one bit like the movies I watched or even the real labors I attended. It was a trance… and the pain was an intense submission to my inner self. It emotionally took me places and into corners of my mind and helped me find that strength within myself, something I never knew existed, to begin with. I had a natural delivery with no interventions other than an episiotomy and some oxytocin thereafter (which I reacted to badly). I wanted to experience it first hand and I would not change it for the world.

My post-partum was hard, it was like the low after the high, but we don’t have to delve into that for now (or ever).

When I think back at my childbirth experience, I hope more women get to labor and deliver as I did. It gave me the confidence I have today — in myself, and in the ability and inbuilt strength we women possess. It also helped me gain the confidence I needed then, in knowing that I would be a great mom. I felt that “If I can do this I can do anything!”. It felt nothing less than being Wonderwoman for the day, sitting there in my blood-stained robe, munching away on the best Chinese chicken I have had... to date!

I have since attended many deliveries and helped numerous women as they undergo their journey through motherhood.

I recently started a pregnancy coaching service to aid this goal and help fulfill my dream of — Trauma free childbirth for all women.

Trust me, it’s not an experience you want to miss out on!

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Dr Labiba M

Dr Labiba M

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Medical professional looking to make a difference in overall health and wellness through preventive medicine, technological advancements and health education.