Six weeks ago, I gave birth to our tenth child. It was my eighth pregnancy, sixth singleton labor.
In the days, weeks, months preceding Zeb's birth, I overheard many people -- doctors, midwives, nurses, friends, church family -- telling others, "This is her tenth. This is a walk in the park for her!" or the like.
And I really had to bite my tongue.
The thing is, I don't think it matters if it's your first or your tenth, multiples or a singleton. Giving birth is No Fun. It hurts. It hurts. It hurts.
And each labor, each pregnancy, even, is a First. It's your first time being pregnant with a child, or it's your first time being pregnant when you have a toddler, or it's your first time being pregnant with twins, or it's your first time being pregnant with twins when you have twin 5-yr. olds, or it's your first time being pregnant when you're 36 and already have nine children, or what have you. (Or what have me!)
And the same can be said of labor. Each labor has its own variables that make the outcome seem unpredictable, and the veteran mother has only the consolation that she has done this before. She has done this before.
"I have done this before." That became my mantra this pregnancy, only instead of being a consolation, it became a bit of an obsessive reminder. "Oh, no! I have done this before! I know this will hurt, and this will be messy, and this will disrupt our lives for quite some time!"
And I was right.
There were new variables this time (there always are). This time it was pre-eclampsia and the sudden, "You need to have this baby. Do you want to have it tonight or tomorrow?" and the ensuing strangling fear that always precedes my labors.
But in the end, we had a chubby, healthy baby boy and a chubby, healthy mama, and that's wonderful.
Wonderful, but not in any sense easy. Wonderful, because I have a husband who has done this coaching labor thing 8 times and is stronger and wiser for having done it that many times. But still not easy. Not for me, and not for him.
I guess I'm just saying that doing something unpleasant many times does not always make it pleasant. Doing something hard many times does not always make the hard thing easy.
And that's all.