I'm forewarning you that this post is about birth, a topic I have a particular interest in since I'm training to be a doula, but I promise it's not gory.
Women by nature tend to be social shoppers. It's not enough for us to know the specs, price and features of a product as listed by the manufacturer, we want to know what other people like us who have used it really think of it! We ask our friends about vacuums, google reviews for food processors, watch talk show segments trialing beauty products and scour magazines for travel stories. Is it any surprise that when we're pregnant we listen to the stories other women tell us about their birth experiences?
There is a difference though! With everything else we are listening for the stories of people who are really happy about whatever it is they've got but with birth, often the stories we let affect us the most are the horror stories! I mean, we certainly don't consciously think "I'm going to find the women who feel they had the worst possible births and do it just the way they did!" but often that's what we end up doing! If we're truly honest, don't most uf us, upon hearing a woman go into raptures about how fabulous their birth was sort of give an internal eye roll and think to ourselves that she's crazy, or that she must be a little bit of a masochist? Why don't we instead try to really listen to what she's saying and hear what it is that made her experience different from the nightmare stories?
Mind you, I'm not of the opinion that there's only one right way to do birth that fits every woman. I've known women who had unmedicated, vaginal births with midwives who talk as though they've survived a major natural disaster and I've known a few women who had elective c-sections who talk about the entire experience as being blissful and peaceful. I think what is really important is to listen for stories that are rave reviews of birth and consider being open to different possibilities for our own birth that what we may have pictured and take those stories into account while searching for the plans and goals that fit us and our families.