I enjoy telling my birth story, but it's a lot like answering the "how did you meet your significant other?" question. I never know how much detail the person asking really wants.
There's the short version (induced, epidural, pushed). Then there's the long story -- why I got induced, the "Jersey Shore" marathon that got me through about four hours of waiting for something to happen, the husband running out to buy DVDs so we could stop watching bad TV and coming back with an incredibly non-lady-friendly "The Three Stooges" box set. The epidural was a debacle, pushing was even harder than I thought it would be and we listened to the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, which I maintain is the best labor music ever.
But there's also a whole bunch of feeling that goes along with the story. A wish that I had gone into labor without being hooked up to machines. Pride in pushing her out. As I was watching the part of "More Business of Being Born" that we're screening on HuffPost Parents tonight, I realized that's why we all love to share our birth stories. No matter what you go through, having a baby is miraculous and moving -- it is an experience tied to your emotional core.
In the film, celebrity moms Alanis Morissette, Alyson Hannigan, Laila Ali and others tell about their experiences. I thought going into it that these wouldn't be my type of stories, that they'd all be women who believed only in natural childbirth and would make me feel guilty and weak. And they do start out this way. But their narratives reveal how little goes as planned. Even earth mother Alanis, who went all the way (baby at home, midwife, the whole nine), confesses:
"I remember wishing for some complication not with my son but with me so that I could be whisked away to [a] pain-free experience, which I totally get, by the way. I get every version of childbirth. Every version I hear, I'm just, 'Yes-yes-yes-of course.'"
I think it's time to talk about more of the details, not less. At least here in our corner of the world, let's start sharing our versions of birth, feelings included. What did you love? What will you make sure to do differently next time? What's the one thing you tell expectant mothers they should remember? Watch the movie tonight and talk about it all in the comments.
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