Everbody seems quite concerned about poor Kate being in labour while the world waits. Can she block it out? Will it add to the stress? And while I imagine the last few days have been a bit tense, with the media parked outside the hospital on stepladders, I also think that giving birth offers a miraculous buffer to the world around you.
Everyone’s experience is unique, of course, and I can only speak for myself, but whether it’s day or night, hot or cold, once you’re in the zone, I think the sky could turn pink and small bananas could start raining down and you wouldn’t notice. I remember looking at the bag of neatly packed iPod speakers, cold compresses, hot water bottles, massage oils and other paraphernalia as merely a trip hazard during my first labour, as I strode around the room fighting excruciating contractions. As you do.
The outside world, the last few months, the worries and concerns, all tend to take a back seat as you become immersed in the process of giving birth. Of course it’s all consuming, as your body takes you to realms of pain you could never before imagine and behaves in an incredibly autonomous and powerful way. You can buy a 100% cotton black birthing wrap dress, get your nails done, dye your eyelashes, carefully pick out the cutest first baby outfit, but on the day, you won’t care about any of those things. If you’re famous, the media might, the magazine readers might, but you won’t.
We all know how birth plans fly out of the window, and they do, and they might as well, literally. Your entire being is giving birth in whatever way your body sees fit. There is nothing else. And as Kate doesn’t know the gender yet, she might find the moment she first sees the baby or someone tells her the gender, her reaction is one of shock. Mine was this: “Oh! I forgot about that too!”
The female body is an amazing thing during birth, however hard or straightforward it is, and whatever way the baby is delivered. The experience inside the mother’s head is hard to describe but I don’t think it involves much concern for those camped outside the door.