Wednesday, June 26, 2013

My happy birth experiences can be yours, too

A story that I will never ever get tired of telling is the story of how I gave birth to my boys. I gave birth to Vito in 2010 and I gave birth to Iñigo in 2012. Both were incredibly easy births. But I was told by my OB that I made it easy. I found that a wonderful affirmation since I was prepared for the movie birth—the screaming, the huffing and puffing, the sweat, the tears, the cursing at the husband. Instead, I gave birth the Scientology way.

Say whut?!

Nope, I'm not a Scientologist. But I remember when Katie Holmes was preparing to give birth to Suri. News reports were splashed all over the tabloids that Scientologists had a silent birth policy—that's women should be silent while giving birth. Scientolgists explained that the passage of a child into the world should be a peaceful and joyful experience, that a screaming mother would traumatize the baby. Of course, everyone ridiculed the "cult" for that. I was one of them. Then five years later, I gave birth and while it wasn't totally quiet (I was joking with the medical team), I realized that it is possible to give birth calmly and happily.

Actually, when I saw the video of Kourtney Kardashian giving birth, I really got envious. I wanted to give birth that way. Put on my makeup while contracting, calmly choose nice clothes to wear to the hospital, reassure everyone around me, be gorgeous while I'm pushing, then actually reach down and pull out the baby myself! Kourtney did it to both her kids! She totally became my idol after that. It truly is possible to give birth calmly, happily... and in style!

Of course, no birth is exactly the same. While Vito's birth found me joking with the doctors and nurses while I was pushing, Iñigo's was excruciating. When the OB did an internal exam, she said she felt the baby's back or butt. Uh oh. She said she might have to reach inside with both hands to turn the baby. OMG! But while Vince and I were waiting, Iñigo couldn't wait. My body pushed him out (nope, I didn't push at all) and I felt every mighty painful contraction. That was kinda awful. Fortunately, because it was my second time, I wasn't so freaked out. I had a really good attitude about it so no trauma.

I guess I'm sharing this because I have a couple of friends about to give birth and they are terrified. I've assured them and encouraged them and even tried my best to make birth sound like the most exciting thing in the world. Yes, it hurts. Yes, it's unpredictable. Yes, things can go wrong. But fear makes it worse. Fear robs you of the joy of the occasion. So try not to be afraid.

I was fortunate enough to have supportive women who told me giving birth may be painful but nature designed a woman's body to bear children. In fact, someone told me—bless her soul—that giving birth will be my moment of glory. I will never feel as powerful and as tender, as god-like and as human. So instead of fearing childbirth, I was anticipating it.

Welcome to the world, Vito!

If you're a mommy about to give birth, congratulations! Don't be scared. Arm yourself with knowledge about the childbirth process. Exercise and have a healthy pregnancy. Discuss your birth plan with your doctor but don't get too attached to it in case circumstances demand for a change in plans. If you must undergo CS, trust that it's the best decision since your doctor won't recommend it if it's not necessary. Just make sure it's the doctor's decision and not yours. A lot of women opt for a CS so they won't feel pain but a CS is major surgery that should be your last resort. Click here to know why.

If it makes you feel better, go get a great haircut, get a Brazilian wax, bring pretty bedsheets for your hospital bed, or bring calming scented candles to your birthing pool if you want a water birth—nothing is too silly or frivolous. You're ushering a life into the world! That's powerful magic!

Most of all, remember that giving birth is natural to your body. You have to trust your body that it will do what it was meant to do. You are a warrior, mommy! Be brave and own the changes happening in your body. Fear will freeze your body. Panic will make you lose focus. Instead, listen to your body, be alert to the changes, feel the flow and ebb of the pain. The pain is actually exciting since you know that as the pain sharpens and gets more frequent, that means only one thing: your baby is coming! And that is the best news in the world!

*Katie, Tom and Suri photo from Just Jared, Kourtney photo from Glamour.


  1. I have never left any comment in any blog since it's just not me. But i can't help doing so in this entry! Very inspiring! I, too have been fearing child birth all my life to the point that I was positive I did not want to have a kid EVER. But you have expressed it in a very enlightening perspective that I've never heard from anywhere and anyone before. Now I'm excited to have a baby. I will definitely come back to this post if it's my time to become a mom.

    Bring it on baby!!

  2. I have never seen a mother who is not excited to tell other people how she gave birth. It's just so empowering and is a very unique experience which, I guess, is why we want to share it to people. If I am to make a book of how I gave birth to my daughter, it will be entitled "28 Hours of Labor".

  3. Hi Frances! My OB also told me not to shout when I was giving birth. Ako naman I was excited to do what I see on TV--you know, women who even curse their hubbies, mwehehehe! But just when I was about to shout my OB told me to be composed. I thought "What the heck?!? Why do I need to be composed?" But since my husband and I trust our OB so much I just did as I was told.

    Frankly, here's my two cents' on pregnancy in general based on my own pregnancy: the first trimester was underrated (this was what I hated sooo much! The all-day sickness!), but the pain of giving birth was overrated (after I've given birth I thought to myself, "Yun na yun?").

  4. You're my birthing hero, Frances! And by the way, nakapa ko na ang supit-sipitan ko but I can't tell if it's wide enough. Haha! I guess I'll just have to wait and see until it's time to push (calmly and beautifully).

  5. My second one was madali lang din for me but feel ko talaga ang pain unlike the first, I labored 17 hours but on the second 4 hours lang. parang bawi2x lang

  6. I share in your "birthing joy"! I delivered the way Kim Kardashian did -so I always say that I half-delivered my baby. It was truly empowering. And cathartic. :)

  7. Wow! Thank you for sharing this post. Super laki ng naitulong.. Kinakabahan kc ako lalo na pag kinukwento ng mga friends ko na super sakin mag labor, but with this article, lumakas loob ko.. thank you!

  8. Thanks so much for this post! :) It's very reassuring. I'm about to give birth in April, and though I am very excited about it, I feel more and more afraid too as the weeks pass. Thank you, thank you! :)


This is all pretty new to me so please feel free to share your mommy wisdom!