Upon hearing tales of other second-time mothers giving birth in record speed, we had two different groups of friends and family standing by waiting for The Call. We welcomed my son into the world after four days of pre-labor, 18 hours of labor in the hospital, and an emergency C-section.
That was almost four weeks ago. And, now that I know the facts, the memory isn't so bad. Like almost every mother, I'm just joyous that I've got a healthy child. Are we all altruistic, sappy women? No; God drugs us so that we are forgetful enough to continue the human species. (My apologies to those who don't believe in a higher power. If my mention of "God" is bothersome, please substitute "Jolly Green Giant" or complain in the Comments section below.)
Honestly, we are duped into forgetting the horrors of childbirth by a natural hormone called oxytocin. Oxytocin is released into our systems as soon as we give birth. The extreme pain is smoothed over into something acceptable enough to warrant repetition. Otherwise, the human race would have died out long ago. (Maybe that's what happened to the dinosaurs!) Even now, I'm thinking that childbirth wasn't horrible. But, I've got journal entries from those four days of pre-labor that tell a different story.
As I type this at 3:51 a.m. with an infant happily nursing at my bosom, I remember that oxytocin is also released while breastfeeding. I’m still drugged. The sleep-deprivation had to be this intense with the first baby, yet I remember Zen-like days of maternity leave filled with staring into my beautiful baby's eyes. At this point, I haven't strung three straight hours of sleep together since giving birth, I'm always starving, my house is a disaster zone and I haven't showered in two days.
Oh well. This son’s eyes are as fascinating as the first one’s... God's drugs are good.