(Photo credit to confused.com, and I should say that despite the 'good-mixed-in-with-the-challenging' nature of our trip, there wasn't a single moment during our journey when we looked anything at all like this picture, anyhoo.....)
We're back from our half term trip! The South of France was a much needed break, and we all returned with a fresh perspective (right up until they were such pricks this evening....). I found the whole thing pretty inspirational really - the chance to take a break & be in a different environment meant I was able to pause, focus & think, instead of the rapid doing mode I've been in since January. I spent the whole holiday firing off little topic notes for myself to remember. And one of these was this;
THE JOURNEY MIGHT BE TOUGH,
BUT THERE ARE ALWAYS MOMENTS OF BRILLIANCE,
AND WHEN YOU CAN FOCUS ON THESE, THERE LIES HAPPINESS
I know. It's all very gnomic & zen-like, isn't it. But having spent nigh-on 6 days in the car with a 7, 4 & 2yo, I can assure you, this is very much true. And an approach you might want to start thinking about applying to your labour.
We left home at about 2pm on Friday. We didn't arrive at our destination until 3pm on Sunday. And the timings were much the same for our return leg. We were on the road for a LOOOOOONG time. It was tiring for us. It was somewhat boring for the kids. There were some dodgy sandwiches, some missed turns. and at least one 90 minute detour.
However. We ALSO stayed in a favourite hotel and had chocolat chaud & croissant for breakfast. We walked through a medieval city & took a ride on a carousel I enjoyed as a child. We stayed with the loveliest family and the most beautiful farmhouse - completely unexpected. We played in a river under a Roman aquaduct. We giggled at my daughter's idea for a car game ("You say it is, and I'll say it isn't" - the perfect game for a 2yo).
Anyhoo - we travelled over 1500 miles. It wasn't a walk in the park. But while it was hard, it was also brilliant. And guess what. Most things in life are like this. My Mum used to say that you don't really enjoy things unless you've had to work for them, and it's kind of true.
My point - after all that - is that the culture of birth is pretty unremittingly negative, so you'd be perfectly reasonable to be wary of it. We are conditioned to expect suffering, expect to feel out of control, to have to accept treatment we don't wish to accept because it's the least worst option. And it's true that birth can be unpredictable, and we must be informed about the various options (I've worked with couples gunning for home-birth who ended up having inductions, and women ready to warmly welcome an epidural who had unplanned home-births).
But don't believe the lie that it's ALL bad. There can be lovely, heart-warming, intimate, loving memories to be made too. And you have every right to make them.