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Real Moms Share: What Surprised Us Most About Childbirth

Photograph by Twenty20

Bringing a baby into the world is nothing short of miraculous. Even more amazing is the fact that no two births are the same. After having one baby, I felt like a total pro going into my second labor. I thought I knew exactly what would happen and how. While I definitely didn't feel like such a noob the second time, I was amazed at how different the whole experience felt.

Birth is surprising, and these moms shared what was most surprising about the whole experience:

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"I heard nothing but horror stories during my pregnancy. I was surprised that I felt no pain at all, just pressure to push. The most pain I had was during postpartum. But thanks to Motrin and Percocet, and the hospital ice packs, it wasn't too bad at all. I felt like everyone just tried to scare me and made me think it was going to be the most painful experience ever. Actually, the numbing agent they use to administer the epidural was the worst part of the whole thing. It felt like a bee sting and I almost cried. Also, I was surprised I couldn't control my emotions when I was holding our baby for the first two hours." - Stephanie, Missouri, mother of one

"I was surprised by the after pains of the uterus contracting and shrinking back. WOW. I don't remember hearing about that until I went through it myself! And it was so much more painful after the second." - Inge, Texas, mother of two

"The intense emotions. I expected it to be magical but had no idea the feeling of love would be so overwhelming." - Sherry, Missouri mother of two

That, honestly, it wasn't some magical euphoric moment.

"At six weeks my OB sent me for an ultrasound. I was very surprised to find out I was having twins ....my son was only one. Yikes." - Donna, Ottawa, mother of three

"I was surprised that my idea of what I was willing to relax on changed when push came to shove. My ideal versus what we decided on was really quite beyond our control—I had to have an emergency C-section due to failure to dilate. The probability of severe complications to myself and our child made it easy to go forward." - Olivia, California, mother of two

"That, honestly, it wasn't some magical euphoric moment. It was just what it was—something that had to be done. It didn't bond my husband and I tighter, it wasn't an outpouring of rainbows and sunshine from the heavens. I love my children but it wasn't like I suddenly felt eternally connected because they were now earthside." -Kimberlee, Arizona, mother of 5

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"I was surprised at how pushy nurses were about drugs and speeding up the process. I did hypnobirthing for both my boys, (now ages 8 and 4) and they looked at us like we were Amish when we said we didn't want any Pitocin or an epidural." -Adrienne, Missouri, mother of two

"I think one of my biggest surprises was that it was so different every time." - Avily, Arizona, mother of five

For me, I was most surprised that my body naturally began the pushing process without any effort on my part. I was crowning with my first son when the nurses were like, 'Oh it's not time yet!' I was like, "I'm pretty sure it's time." And it was.

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