“Don’t try to be a hero”: Labor advice from a stranger

October 24, 2017

labor There have been many things that have surprised me about pregnancy. But one of the most eye opening things has been the openness of strangers with their “advice”, comments about my body, and a multitude of other things. Should I be surprised about this? Probably not. A lot of people have mentioned it, but holy cow, I did NOT realize the extent that people would go to talk to me about my body, my pregnancy, their own bodies, their own pregnancies, and how different I look/act/dress/fill in the blank. Today I’m going to tell you about one little example from the other day. I’ll call it, “All I wanted was enchilada sauce, but instead I got instructions from a stranger on how my labor should go”. That has a nice ring to it right?

So there I was, in the happiest place on earth a.k.a. PUBLIX. If you aren’t familiar with Publix, I’m sorry. It’s the best grocery store out there, clean, organized, and always stocked. Don’t even get me started about the subs…  I digress.  So there I was picking up dinner supplies for Enchilada Wednesday (oh, it’s a thing). Of course I can’t ever remember where the enchilada sauce lives so I found a friendly associate to assist.

Publix is one of those places where they don’t just point you to an aisle, they walk with you and stay with you until you actually find it. Normally this is SUCH a plus, because I am good at staring right at what I need and still not seeing it.

Unfortunately I had ventured to the opposite side of enchilada supplies so we had a ways to walk and catch up on life along they way. I knew it was coming, “How far along are you?” “Girl or boy?” “Do you have a name?” All the usuals. I really don’t mind at all answering these questions, hey I’ll talk about my baby all day! But then we ventured into territory I was not prepared to go with a complete stranger. All of the sudden she stops, turns to me, and gets a really nasty look on her face,

“You’re not going to try to get through labor without an epidural are you?!”

Me: Silence

“Don’t try to be a hero. You know you don’t win a prize or get a medal or anything”


She went on about ‘girls these days’, social media (?!),  and some other things. Got a little hazy as I was trying to think of a response. I was faced with the choice of just smiling and nodding, finding the sauce, and getting the h*ll out of Dodge OR entering into a detailed discussion about my labor plan. But I slowly started to realize, I actually don’t have a plan.

The truth is though, comments like this are jarring because it makes me ask the question, how does a complete stranger think they know exactly what I should be doing during my labor and delivery, but I can’t seem to figure it out myself? I’ve been avoiding really letting myself think in detail about my labor because I’m semi terrified. The unknown is scary. Especially when that unknown almost certainly involves a great deal of pain and crazy bodily functions.

I’ve made it to almost 33 weeks and while most likely this girl won’t come any time soon, I’ve decided it’s time to figure it out.

We had been to one labor class that gave a nice general overview of the stages of labor, pain control options, and how your partner can help with massage techniques (obviously the best part). The nagging though I had throughout that class is ” I want to be able to move”.

It doesn’t give me great feelings to think about being stuck in bed, unable to move or feel my legs, and attached to a foley. So I know I don’t want to jump right to the epidural. I want to prepare myself to get through as much of the process as possible with my feeling and movement intact. So now I am on a quest to try to figure out how to do that.

labor prep
Let the reading begin!

These are my feelings on the situation. I guarantee it has nothing to do with being a hero or wanting a medal or a prize. My prize will be a healthy baby girl however she decides to make her entrance into this world. Maybe I’ll perfectly labor in the comfort of my own home for hours and show up at the hospital at the perfect time to get settled in and start pushing. Or maybe I’ll show up 1cm dilated begging for an epidural and somehow end up under general anesthesia for a c section. Either of those scenarios is OK. And part of my quest is to prepare myself to be ok with any of the possibilities.

Maybe you’re planning on a scheduled, a home birth, or somewhere in between. You are a hero and you definitely deserve a medal. I’m thankful for this stranger at Publix for the reminder of that and lighting a fire under me to prepare myself. See, I told you it was the happiest place on earth.

More to come on whether or not I can remember where the enchilada sauce is for this week’s version of Enchilada Wednesday.