|Edvard Munch "The Scream"|
I went to see the doctor again yesterday and for the first time, I was gripped by fear. This is really going to happen and it's going to happen very soon. Her prediction: late next week. My panic was elevated when I stumbled upon the delivery room, which seemed downright medieval compared to those in the U.S. Not only that, I was informed that epidurals aren't standard procedure at the hospital where I will be giving birth. I would, most likely, be doing this al natural. The thought of which didn't scare me so much before when I knew it was a possibility, but downright terrifies me now that I know it's a high probability. The doctor and Ming's mother saw the look in my eyes and tried to assuage my terror.
“You'll be fine. Your baby is a normal size and in the right position. You have wide hips—much better off than Chinese women! What's to worry about? If your progresses very slowly or you really can't manage the pain, you can opt for the epidural,” the doctor reassured me.
I didn't feel very reassured. I felt like I had something to prove, if not to them, then to myself. Why was something they found completely normal so scary to me? In America, having a medicated birth is common practice, to the point that many people feel you'd be stupid not to have some kind of drugs. While I always tried to remain open to the idea of going natural, it was more something I envisioned as a nice idea for someone else, rather than for myself.
With this new reality now facing me, I felt, for the first time, a little resentful about being a woman. I always tried to think of pregnancy and birth as a gift, something only a woman can experience and truly appreciate. A part of me used to pity men, because they can just stand by as helpless spectators to this event. Now, all of a sudden, being a spectator sounded preferable to being an active participant.
But I suppose none of this really matters. The most important thing is trying to manage my fear which I truly believe is a greater obstacle to me than the pain I will experience. Not to mention, time is going so fast, no matter what I think or fear now, this will all be a distant memory in a couple week's (or perhaps day's) time.