My major fear about pregnancy was not losing my figure, developing unsightly stretch marks, the eventual post breastfeeding saggy boobs or even the acne specking my skin. It's the labour, specifically the tearing that has got me trembling in my bones. I have a very short un-flexible perineum which tears from time to time whenever we do the deed after going for weeks without it. So I figured with a huge baby popping out it can't be too happy about taking all that pressure.
My fears were allayed today when the midwife said that for most first pregnancies tearing is very common, but massaging the area beforehand helps mitigate the extent. It was a relief when she said also that they prefer women to tear on their own than to issue episiotomies because self-tearing healed better and faster. They only perform an episiotomy if the baby is in danger and they have to deliver it quickly.
I've concluded that they don't call it labour for nothing. It's painful quite alright. At the same time the pain is not so great that a woman decided after that to never have a child again. Between my grandmother, mother, MIL and sister they have 24 children, all born naturally without medication and pain relief.
For a first time mother I'm fussy and worried to death not knowing what to expect. I'm equally aware that no amount of reading can prepare me for labour, natural though I want it to be. I can only cross the bridge when I get there. What I am discovering as I go along is that at that moment it will feel like the worst pain in the world, and I might scream for them to cut me open and pull the darn thing out, but once it's over, I have a strong feeling I'll look back and wonder what all the fuss was about. Even if I had 3rd degree tear (God forbid) and I was in pain for weeks and months, I'd still want to do it all over again half a year later.
Even now my early morning sickness feels like a distant memory. It doesn't feel as horrible as it was then. If you'd asked me then to rate my discomfort I'd give it 10 out of 10. Right now I'd probably give it 2 out of 10 because I can barely remember how bad it was.
I've stopped freaking out because nature has a way of taking care of these things. I just need to trust my body, train it as best as I can and leave it to do its job. Women have been giving birth for thousands of years, my aunts would pop one out and be back on their feet the following day with house chores, and Bob's your uncle!