Illustration: Sam Island
1. “The possibility of pooping myself during delivery.” —Sue K.
2. “No one ever tells you that it feels like your insides are going to fall out for at least a few days after giving birth.” —Ainsley M.
3. “The benefit of pelvic-floor physio, both during pregnancy and postpartum, so we can all jump on trampolines again someday!” —Kate D.
4. “That birth is like the one test you really can’t study for. You can study and prepare for a lot of different scenarios, but you don’t know what’s going to be on the quiz.” —Ariel B.
5. “Finding out you need a C-section may be more emotional than you think.” —Laura S.
6. “There was so much focus on giving birth, but it’s so short compared to the ‘labour’ of raising a kid. That moment when you get home from the hospital, and it’s just, ‘Oh! Oh. I have to keep this thing—forever?’” —Sarah I.
7. “I was totally unprepared for my aunt to tell me every last detail of her C-section from 31 years ago.” —Kaitlyn C.
8. “That maaaybe I should ease up a bit on my birth fixation and spend a little time contemplating what actually happens when that baby is out.” —Lauren F.
9. “For nine months, you’re focused on the birth, but then once the baby is here, very few people want to hear your birth story. (This is especially true with your second.) Everyone’s fawning over the new creature, not the mom. Meanwhile, you still can’t sit down properly and need to squirt yourself with a water bottle every time you pee. It feels very unfair! At the same time, it’s a relief to be free of all the fretting about how the birth will go. It’s over, and everyone’s like, ‘Whatever, the baby’s here! Eeee!’” —Ariel B.
10. "Not to decline the NICU tour.” —Ashley W.
“I didn’t know how scared I was to give birth until I was in labour, and then I was like, ‘Oh shit.’” —Kaitlyn C.
12. “I didn’t mentally prepare myself for not having an epidural. By the time I got to the hospital, it was too late, and going ‘natural’ wasn’t remotely part of my ‘plan.’” —Rebekah W.
13. “The health system’s extreme focus on my health and well-being when I was pregnant completely evaporated once I had given birth. I hear that this is very different if you use a midwife, but I was under the care of an OB and had very poor postpartum follow-up.” —Miranda E.
14. “That the baby will come out somehow, some way. I hear people frantically worrying about vaginal births, C-sections, inductions and epidurals, and honestly, none of it matters. Try not to worry too much about how the baby comes out—just focus on the outcome.” —Ashley W.