It’s Not All Mary Poppins

Quick Question for you – updated

I’ve been reading a book – won’t tell you which one yet – and it’s provoked a thought in my head, which I am about to test out on you, my little guinea pigs.

If you want to help me out, please answer the following questions.

1. When you were pregnant, did you enjoy being pregnant, overall?
a. Yes
b. No

2. When you were pregnant, did you find that other women were
a. full of horror stories about labour? (generally negative about it)
b. full of encouraging tales about labour? (generally positive about it)

That’s it. If you could just leave the number and letter answers in your comments, that would be very helpful. It might even make its way into an upcoming post. (If you’ve never been pregnant, you can still answer question 2: if you’ve heard any labour stories, do you find them to be a) generally negative, or b) generally positive?)

(It’s a fascinating book, utterly fascinating! I will be telling you about it, I promise.)

UPDATE: 29 comments! And it’s only 4:30 Friday afternoon. This is great! Keep them coming, and I’ll tell you what this is all about on Tuesday. Or maybe even Monday. But the more I get, the more meaningful the cumulative information will be. Thanks, all.

July 13, 2007 - Posted by | controversy, pregnancy and delivery, random and odd


  1. I can’t answer one, but for two, can I answer… ab? I have found that labour stories I have read on the internet (mostly blogs) have been largely positive except for the occasional it-went-on-for-two-days-I-wanted-to-die stories (much sympathy), but stories I hear in person tend to be generally more negative. I’ve read online about more homebirths and never known someone in person who had one – I wonder if there’s any correlation.

    Comment by Stacey | July 13, 2007 | Reply

  2. 1. A. Loved being pregnant.
    2. B. But heard very few stories. Only my mom, really, who (as it turned out) had three labors much easier than mine turned out to be. No one else told me any stories about labor at all.

    Comment by Jenn | July 13, 2007 | Reply

  3. 1. Yes, but I think that I had a very easy pregnancy. A number of people actually said that I made it look “too easy”.

    2) I wouldn’t say “horror stories”. My son was born in a local birth center, and I had a number of women share with me what I’d call “cautionary tales” (“don’t let them do xx, because it was a nightmare for me”).

    PS: Thanks for commenting on my LJ about my daycare provider woes. Do you have any advice about getting a 12 month old to stop biting?

    Comment by anastasiav | July 13, 2007 | Reply

  4. 1 a. LOVED it.

    2 a and b
    a — I work for a med mal insurer, so I hear/read about the very worst outcomes.
    b — Almost no one told me negative tales of *personal* experiences. The personal tales ran the gammut of hospital-based to birth-center-based, OB/CNM, doula/no doula (but no home births).

    Comment by alikander | July 13, 2007 | Reply

  5. No, I wasn’t really into being pregnant.
    And honestly, I didn’t know anyone who was or had been pregnant, so I wasn’t hearing anything – bad in itself, since it let my imagination run wild…

    Comment by kittenpie | July 13, 2007 | Reply

  6. Oh, wait, my MIL told me aobut how she had labours that lasted from 2-4 hours with one contraction and how she thought all those women who complained about it were just whiners. (I told Misterpie that if I had a hard time and she said anything, he might just have to hold me back.)

    Comment by kittenpie | July 13, 2007 | Reply

  7. 1- (a) I enjoyed being PG (tho the 2nd time was a bit of a chore because I was so sick)

    2- (a) This was especially annoying the 2nd time because I had a homebirth and everyone told me their hospital birth horror stories + added “I/my baby would have died if we weren’t the hospital, and I can’t BELIEVE you are crazy enough to have a baby at home”. Nice.

    Comment by Sheree | July 13, 2007 | Reply

  8. Question 1 – B
    Question 2 – A

    Can’t wait to find out why you are asking. πŸ˜›

    Comment by Sheri | July 13, 2007 | Reply

  9. 1) B oh, so B
    2) Didn’t really hear any labor stories, horrifying or otherwise.

    Comment by Suz | July 13, 2007 | Reply

  10. 1. (a) I LOVED being pregnant both times. πŸ™‚

    2. (a) and (b) Nothing super horrible that I can remember, but when talking about their labor, I don’t remember anyone saying it was wonderful. πŸ™‚

    Comment by Karly @ Indescribable Life | July 13, 2007 | Reply

  11. 1.a (hated the heartburn but otherwise loved it)
    2. b. not everyone told me horror stories of their OWN labor, but nearly everyone knows someone who was in labor for 40 hours, was induced and then delivered after 5 days, etc. They were always happy to share those stories.

    Comment by BookMama | July 13, 2007 | Reply

  12. A, B.

    I’d say mixed on both – I had TONS of edema in my pregnancy so was often physically uncomfortable, but overall enjoyed the experience. I heard some of both types of stories but was shocked at the unholy glee some women (don’t like these women!) seemed to take in telling terrifying stories about labour – and other things.

    (I ask you, how is saying things like “you’ll never sleep again!” and “your life as you know it is over!” considered helpful or nice in any way???!? I mean, I KNOW having a baby will change things. Trust me, I’ve thought about it a lot! And I know one can’t really know until it happens what it will be like. It’s OK to say things like “go to a lot of movies and dinners out with your husband while you’re pregnant, b/c it will be harder for you both to get out of the house at the same time sans baby for several months at least” – that’s helpful. But we considered the other types of comments to be nothing more than malicious, a type of “hazing” if you will. Grr. [Obviously, it pissed me off.])

    Comment by Heath | July 13, 2007 | Reply

  13. 1. A


    Comment by Wendz | July 13, 2007 | Reply

  14. 1. A- It was a miracle but SO exhausting

    2. B- I found myself saying, in the middle of many horror stories, “Is this REALLY a story you want to tell me at this point in my pregnancy?” It stopped those stories like a charm!

    Comment by Chelsea | July 13, 2007 | Reply

  15. 1. A-generally enjoyed being pregnant
    2. A-EVERYONE told me their horror stories. As well as their sister’s, neighbor’s, and best friend’s stories.

    Comment by Kellie | July 13, 2007 | Reply

  16. 1A


    Although the horror stories didn’t start until I was well beyond the point of no return!

    Comment by juggling mother | July 13, 2007 | Reply

  17. oops wrong way round!!!

    I MEANT to say:

    *embarressed now*

    Comment by juggling mother | July 13, 2007 | Reply

  18. 1. A. Which is weird, beacuse I rememebr a LOT of bad things about it. but I still think it was great.

    2. Neither really. mostly I heard poeple’s personal stories. I heard a lot about what they wish they had done differently, but not a lot of horror stories about the actual process. If i had to pick, I’d say positive, but it was mostly just advice on what to expect procedure-wise.

    Comment by ktjrdn | July 13, 2007 | Reply

  19. 1. B, Although my pregnancy was healthy and uneventful, I just felt weird.

    2. A, Hmmm, maybe that explains my answer to question 1. Two things I distinctly remember being told: You throw up during labor and you bleed for 6 weeks after. Neither of those things happened for me. Labor was a piece of cake. Recovery (itchy stitches and sitting on donut pillows) was much worse than pregnancy or labor!

    Comment by MJH | July 13, 2007 | Reply

  20. 1. A for the most part

    2. B generally. Most of the stuff I heard was cautionary also, as someone already said. I didn’t mind hearing horror stories either though- I just wanted as much information as possible before it happened to me!

    Comment by kelli in the mirror | July 13, 2007 | Reply

  21. Well I am 30 weeks pregnant with my second son:

    1. When you were pregnant, did you enjoy being pregnant, overall?
    a. Yes

    2. When you were pregnant, did you find that other women were
    a. full of horror stories about labour? (generally negative about it)

    Comment by Judi | July 13, 2007 | Reply

  22. (LOVE your blog)
    1. Liked some of it, but I had morning sickness and then pre-term labor. Liked the fact that I was pregnant, and when my little girl kicked (except when she kicked my ribs and my bladder ;o)).
    2. Most were horror stories. I had a C-Section. Easy as pie.

    Comment by Michelle | July 13, 2007 | Reply

  23. 1. A
    Any discomfort was quickly forgotten every time I felt her move inside me.

    2. A-B
    I will have to agree with Karly above, “Nothing super horrible that I can remember, but when talking about their labor, I don’t remember anyone saying it was wonderful” But also, I think people will tell their “horror” story because it was such a big accomplishment. Doesn’t everyone like to brag a little about difficult & important things they’ve done?

    Comment by meesha | July 13, 2007 | Reply

  24. 1. b. had nothing to do with other women’s stories about birth or pregnancy. had to do with my own hospital-grade nausea.

    2. a. generally negative, but I ignored it. And I loved labor, for what it was. I actually had an easy one.

    Comment by Micaela | July 13, 2007 | Reply

  25. First pregnancy: enjoyed.

    Second pregnancy: did not enjoy.

    Labour stories: mostly positive (though by that I do NOT mean that the pain and drama were minimized).

    Comment by bubandpie | July 13, 2007 | Reply

  26. 1. A – LOVED being pregnant
    2. B – Generally negative

    I find it funny that we had an awful complicated pregnancy (blood clot at 7 weeks, low amniotic fluid, possible Downs, 17 ultrasounds finally culminating in a 29 week preemie). But I loved it. Every second. I loved feeling him kick and the amazing feeling that this awesome little guy was growing in there.

    As far as horror stories, everyone told them and it annoyed the snot out of me. I have no patience for people who tell you how awful it is and that you’ll never shower or go out again. I for one, enjoy nights out with my husband, reading at home with and without the baby AND I can shower anytime I want. It’s just that occasionally Jeffrey joins me or gets locked in the bathroom with me. πŸ™‚

    I can’t wait to hear about the book!!

    Comment by Dani | July 13, 2007 | Reply

  27. 1. B
    2. B

    At 5′ no inches, I was just not built to breed. Nevertheless, my first baby was 9lbs 6oz. and my 2nd was 8lbs. 14oz and 2 weeks early! C-sections for both.

    Comment by Betsy | July 13, 2007 | Reply

  28. I’m going to be difficult.

    #1. First child-A, because it was all new, and I didn’t know that what I thought were a few “minor” problems that would “soon go away” would end up lasting 3-4 months. Second child-B. But both times I did love the attention that being pregnant brings (hmmm…what does that say about me? πŸ˜‰

    #2. I’d have to say the first time, it was more B. @nd time around, A but it was more mutual sharing all our horror stories. I try not to tell horror stories to others though.

    Comment by Tina | July 13, 2007 | Reply

  29. 1. B, I guess (first time was easy and I felt fine, second time I felt horrid from start to finish – easier delivery and easier baby the second time though)

    2. B

    Comment by clumberkim | July 13, 2007 | Reply

  30. 1B. I had a pretty easy pregnancy, so I was grateful for that, but I certainly would have preferred to not be pregnant . . . if I could have still had a baby!

    2B. I got one horror story because I wasn’t paying attention enough to how the story was going. Then I learned to fend them off and have people just tell me the good things (unless there was something useful to be learned). The horror story involved being in rural Africa with an uncompromising hospital and refusal by the doctor to give pain medication, so I figure that’s not one I needed to hear.

    Comment by Lady M | July 13, 2007 | Reply

  31. 1. A – I really enjoyed both pregnancies, though the second one flew by without as much opportunity to revel in it… apparently a toddler can distract you from almost anything!

    2. B – Almost all the birth stories people shared with me (unsolicited) were realistic, but couched in positive terms. The same was true of those stories I sought out and chose to read online. At least that’s how I perceived/remember them… maybe I’d have “read” them differently if I’d been more uncomfortable or fearful about my own pregnancies and deliveries.

    Comment by Karen | July 13, 2007 | Reply

  32. 1.a yes

    2.b. But don’t the bad experiences make better stories (after the fact) than good ones anyway?

    Comment by Ms. Huis Herself | July 13, 2007 | Reply

  33. 1. B – hated it.
    2. A – Mostly horror stories, or at least talking about how bad labor was.

    Comment by Julie | July 13, 2007 | Reply

  34. 1) a. being pregnant was easy and enjoyable.
    2) b. encouraging, unrealistic tales of labor and delivery. My sisters-in-law are the queens of 15 minute, only a menstrual cramp labor stories. But when I tell how my perfect, unmedicated birth went, women react like it’s a horror story. The one friend I have who heard my description of delivery without drugs and later delivered without drugs and she thought it was spot on.

    Comment by Rayne of Terror | July 13, 2007 | Reply

  35. 1. N/A
    2. A

    Haven’t heard too many horror stories, mostly about how painful and lons-drawn it was.

    Comment by tn | July 13, 2007 | Reply

  36. 1. A – I absolutely loved it
    2. A – I’d say it was a pretty close race though. I heard or read lots of L&D stories, about half good half bad. But there tended to be slighty more negative stories.

    Comment by Allknowingjen | July 13, 2007 | Reply

  37. I HATED, HATED, HATED being pregnant. I LOVE the little person that is the result though. In fact I love her so much that I’m willing to go for number two. πŸ™‚ B for question number two.

    Comment by Angie Satchivi | July 13, 2007 | Reply

  38. I just realized I got the letters backwards. I thought A was good and B was bad. Switch mine to B generally enjoyed pregnancy and A mostly cruddy stories.


    Comment by Heath | July 13, 2007 | Reply

  39. B, and B. Hated it, heard all the happy labor stories and feared I was just a negative bitch about the whole thing. (And, you know, I was, but that was okay!)

    Comment by ltwar | July 14, 2007 | Reply

  40. a and a x

    Comment by jenny uk | July 14, 2007 | Reply

  41. 1. a
    2. b

    Comment by e | July 14, 2007 | Reply

  42. 1) b – hated it. Fat, tired, miserable. I never bloomed. And then the little sod wouldn’t come out (in the end I was induced)
    2) hmm, I don’t recall hearing much at all, to be honest. But I think I had heard more b than a

    Comment by sylvia | July 14, 2007 | Reply

  43. 1. a (but my pregnancies got worse so by the time I was pregnant with the last is was more b – could be the difference is being pregnant at 23 and at 31)

    2. mostly a (and I must admit to sharing my very un-fun 26 hours of excruciating back labor tales with others).

    Comment by Meredith | July 14, 2007 | Reply

  44. 1. a
    2. b

    Comment by Dana | July 14, 2007 | Reply

  45. 1 a – generally enjoyed being pg, at least after the morning sickness (mostly just lots of queasiness went away after 2 weeks). It was pretty smooth sailing then until the end when both were overdue and had to be induced.

    2 – a bit of both. Not really horror stories, but not really encouraging either. I think there’s something about telling what all you survived.

    Comment by Katherine | July 14, 2007 | Reply

  46. 1. First time around: A; Second time around, not so much.
    2. B (it’s not a decent labour story without pain and gore)–I particularly love long, pain-filled stories that end with, “But I’m sure you’ll be fine.” Okay, thanks for sharing!

    Comment by Kat | July 14, 2007 | Reply

  47. B

    n/a didn’t tell many people + we knew that *if* a live baby resulted it would be c-section

    Comment by Melanie | July 14, 2007 | Reply

  48. I can’t answer #1
    For #2, definitely A. I work in a hospital, and we only talk about the horror stories.

    Comment by Tricia | July 14, 2007 | Reply

  49. 1. a. I loved being pregnant each time, although my second and third pregnancies were stressful. I was happy to be pregnant anyhow!

    2. a. mostly, but some b’s.

    Comment by albamaria30 | July 14, 2007 | Reply

  50. 1) A I mostly enjoyed being pregnant
    2) B Which is why I made sure to be quite vocal about my (admittedly lucky) two easy, fast, drug free labours to any first time pregnant woman that wanted to know. Or said they were scared. Or nervous. Or headed straight for the epi.

    I did not try to convince anyone that my way was the right way (because obviously it isn’t, it was just one of many ways to become a mother), but I did want to let them know that the books, TV and movies might not be totally accurate depictions of what a woman might go through.

    What I got out of our prenatal classes was that to be informed about options was to have (more) control over your labour. so that is basically what I try to tell new Moms. Know what happens, what might happen, what is unlikely but still might happen, and try to get comfortable with the knowledge. And also that everyone’s birth experience will be slightly (or a lot!) different than the woman before them.

    Comment by karyn | July 14, 2007 | Reply

  51. 1, b. I hated being pregnant. I loved the idea of it, being that I got to have a baby at the end, but I was very, very, VERY ill with both of the pregnancies that ended up with babies, and very, very, VERY ill with one that didn’t. I hated being pregnant.

    2, a. There were the few women who were positive, but not many. I mostly try to be positive with pregnant women, even though my first birth was not a positive experience. The second was, though, so I try to focus on that. And I NEVER offer labor information if it’s not asked for.

    Comment by candace | July 15, 2007 | Reply

  52. 1. a… kind of. I loved it but I was so ill that I hated that and I also moved internationally and my husband lost his job and I traveled long distances every day for work to try to make up for our lost income which just compounded the stress.

    2. a. Definitely. I had a great birth so I never shut up about how great it was to try to counteract the negativity out there.

    Comment by kate | July 15, 2007 | Reply

  53. 1. a. Yes enjoyed being pregnant. I didn’t have any nausea, joint pain and only had minimal swelling the first time and none the second time. Being able to exercise was great.

    2.b. I found that women generally liked sharing their labour stories AFTER I experienced my first labour/delivery. They were generally honest (both pos and neg) but I found the people always had horrors stories about friends while I was pregnant. Mostly I wished they’d kept those to themselves. I do wish women who’d experienced labour had been more frank about the pain of contractions, if possible, in an objective way that was neither neg or pos. After the birth of my first child I was really left thinking that no one tells you what it’s REALLY like, pain-wise. I chalk some of that up to being induced, but not all of it.

    I can’t wait to hear about the book you’re reading. When I was pregnant the second time I couldn’t get enough birth stories.

    Comment by Tricia | July 15, 2007 | Reply

  54. I enjoyed pregnancy, not overjoyed, but fairly ok. I was a bit afraid of labour, but I decided not to think about it in advance. I recall most of the stories they told me were favourable, and the few ones of difficult labour were minimized by the storyteller.

    On my second pregnancy, the horror story was real and close, since the year before a friend of my husband had a problematic labour, neonatal death included. That was hard to bear, and thank god my first pregnancy & childbirth were uneventful, so I had good memories to fight negative thoughts.

    Comment by marta | July 16, 2007 | Reply

  55. 1. a
    2. b the first time, a the second

    I had two very uneventful pregnancies with a difficult first labor and a very easy second one. I think part of the ease of the second one was due to thinking positively and only surrounding myself with positive stories.

    Comment by Melissa | July 16, 2007 | Reply

  56. 1. A for most of both, B for the last 6-8 weeks of the second. My 2 are 14 months apart, and I was nursing for the entire non pregnant portion. By the end the second pregnancy I just want to be done. now. really.

    2. A for the first, and I don’t really remember many stories during my second. I think I developed selective hearing πŸ™‚

    The worst was my last ultrasound before my first was born. The tech actually gasped out loud and when I asked what was wrong her answer was “His head is so large, and you’re so tiny”

    Well thanks for THAT.

    Labour turned out to be fairly easy with him, but she was right, he did have a big head and long legs too.

    Comment by Monica | July 16, 2007 | Reply

  57. 1. a – generally positive. It felt special to be pregnant, even though the day-to-day symptoms were sometimes no fun.

    2. b – encouraging. Although I don’t remember too many people telling me labor stories. But there were plenty of “it’ll be fine”‘s. My sister was the only horror story teller I remember.

    Comment by Lynn | July 16, 2007 | Reply

  58. My answer is “a” to both questions.

    Comment by midlife mommy | July 16, 2007 | Reply

  59. 1. Loved it. But I had easy pregnancies with both.

    2. Interesting. Now that I think about it…. most of the stories I heard from my family members were positive but most of the ones I heard from other women my age were negative…. maybe I should change the women I talk too….

    My deliveries were so simple and easy my husband has forbidden me to talk about them because they make other women hate me. πŸ™‚

    Comment by Homestead | July 16, 2007 | Reply

  60. 1. When you were pregnant, did you enjoy being pregnant, overall?
    a. Yes

    2. When you were pregnant, did you find that other women were
    a. full of horror stories about labour? (generally negative about it)

    I had a very supportive prenatal instructor and group tho’ but we came to that information too late.

    ps.. sorry to be so late to the party

    Comment by mo-wo | July 17, 2007 | Reply

  61. 1. a. Yes, very much so.

    2. a. I had to search out the positive stories on my own. I had a great delivery and I try to tell people about it!

    Comment by girlprof | July 17, 2007 | Reply

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