Muscles don’t “push” a baby out, you do… and why I care

This is how messed up I still am over my “birth:”

We’re discussing the muscular system in my classes right now and I was telling the students that muscles can only pull, they cannot push.

A girl raised her hand and said, “What about when you have a baby? Aren’t you pushing?”

I froze. Sure, the students probably didn’t notice at all. Sure, it only lasted a second. But every function and movement of my body froze. My muscles tensed, my breath stopped.

Pushing? I wanted to yell, “WELL I WOULDN’T KNOW, I HAD A C-SECTION.” and proceed to run out of the classroom crying.

Seriously? Still? It has been just over 9 months. And that is still my gut reaction to an innocent question? Will that ever go away?

Of course I know the real answer. And I composed myself and said something similar to, “No, YOU are pushing a baby out, your MUSCLES are pulling in order to contract and cause the movement.” There are a few more details involved, but I’ll spare you.

I don’t want to react that way. I don’t want that thought to be the first one in my head. I don’t want to have to fight the urge to scream and cry. Her question was so simple and so innocent, yet the mention of giving birth drives me crazy. Still.

Does that ever go away?

13 comments to Muscles don’t “push” a baby out, you do… and why I care

  • Oh mama… I didn’t know this. I’m so sorry I can offer no advise… but a hug I can do. (big-hug) I DO know, that you are one strong mother. Having a C-section to me would be scarier than birthing, which is pretty scary anyway. I don’t know the background, or why you needed a C-section, but I do know the after… your BEAUTIFUL baby boy! Do your best to thing of him when you get so upset… he was worth it right? 😉
    Much love.
    ~Amanda

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    babydickey Reply:

    Thanks 🙂

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  • Leah

    It might go away when you have another baby and give birth the way you wanted to give birth to Ryan. Any thoughts on another baby anytime soon?

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    babydickey Reply:

    My husband is ready for another… but I don’t feel mentally prepared yet – that I’m still freaking out over my first and would spend the entire pregnancy terrified over the birth. You know? Just can’t do it yet!!

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  • jennifer

    I had a bit of trauma associated with my second delivery and I had the same kind of reaction you are having through the whole 3rd pregnancy, but after that delivery went well, I no longer feel bad about the second one. does that make sense? Maybe the next one for you will be different and you will be able to get passed this feeling

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    babydickey Reply:

    I hope so! Thanks 🙂

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  • My 2nd born (c-section) is 21 months old (today). I still cry every time a friend gets the natural birth of my dreams….

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    babydickey Reply:

    sorry Mama 🙁 hugs!

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  • Technically, a mom doesn’t ever have to push to have a baby. The muscles do contract together, and technically push the baby out. A lot of hypnobirthing moms don’t ever push. A lot of moms with epidurals labor down where they don’t push, and the baby is lowered just by the uterine contractions themselves.

    BUT, I am so so so sorry. I wish I could give you a time frame. I wish I could tell you in a few years it will all be better. I know for me, I still hear something and it will set off a trigger and I’m three years out. It doesn’t get easier, it gets more livable.

    It sucks.

    Huge huge hugs!!

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    babydickey Reply:

    Thanks Kayce.

    I honestly didn’t know that some moms can have babies without ever pushing. My point to the student was just that muscles themselves (individual muscles) cannot push, they only “pull” to cause contraction and movement…. the baby is “pushed” out, but muscles don’t “push,” is what I was trying to explain to my class! 🙂

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    Kayce Reply:

    The ones where moms don’t push are really cool births! Though the very very vast majority of moms have to push because the urge is so strong.

    And cool, I didn’t know that!! You learn something new everyday!

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  • After 17 months with Lexi I can honestly say the guilty feelings about birth and raising a newborn never go away! I honestly believe one day when I’m 50 I’ll still be feeling guilty about everything that happened. But, you have to tell yourself, you did everything you could at that time. You have a happy, healthy baby boy who loves you! He couldn’t have a better mommy than you!

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  • emjaybee

    Hugs to you…and I’m nearly 5 years out from my traumatic c/s. It’s not so much that it gets “better” because it is what it is, right? That doesn’t change. What happened, happened.

    But you get *stronger* eventually. You always have the scar, but it doesn’t occupy your thoughts all the time.

    Two things helped me: time, and in my case, some therapy for a few months.

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