With Mother's Day just around the corner, there's no better time to celebrate motherhood and all it entails. But sometimes, it can be hard to put an experience like childbirth into words.
The pain, the pleasure, the explosion of emotions, the sheer awe of what your body can do. It's nothing short of extraordinary.
But that's not to say it's an entirely positive experience, of course. The stitches, the bruising, the swelling, not to mention the new-found weak bladder and vaginal dryness that come part and parcel of a new baby, are just some of the few bonus joys you'll experience alongside your precious bundle of joy.
Suddenly Gloria Steinem's quote about childbirth seems even more apt: “Childbirth is more admirable than conquest, more amazing than self-defence, and as courageous as either one.”
“In some cases more than others, your body experiences a kind of trauma through childbirth that is difficult to explain unless you've had that experience. My case was like that, everything from my thyroid to my platelets crashed. [My] body was really bent out of shape after the boys were born. Bouncing back feels impossible, but I know it is important as a woman, and now a mummy, to not give up.” – Zoe Saldana
“I have my doctor and my mum [Goldie Hawn] kind of looking over with these headlights. And she brings a magnolia flower. And she sort of starts to do these visualisations with me. And she’s going, ‘Imagine your va-jay-jay as a large magnolia flower blossoming.” – Kate Hudson
“Giving birth is just whoa! What I remember the most is the cry. When the baby is born, the cry penetrates on such a deep level and Keith says that, too. He goes, ‘What about that cry!’ And we actually did record our birth. So we’ve heard it back. And every time it jolts me back into the moment.” – Nicole Kidman
“I actually thought I was going to die at one point and left my body. I was looking down on myself, the pain was so intense.” – Miranda Kerr
“I’ve never talked about this. I’ve actually gone to great pains to cover it up. But Mia [Threapleton, now 16] was an emergency C-section. I just said that I had a natural birth because I was so completely traumatised by the fact that I hadn’t given birth. I felt like a complete failure. My whole life, I’d been told I had great childbearing hips. There’s this thing amongst women in the world that if you can handle childbirth, you can handle anything. I had never handled childbirth, and I felt like, in some way that I couldn’t join that ‘powerful women’s club.” – Kate Winslet
“I didn’t scream, it was really Zen. It was amazing. The labour was more like meditation. I did yoga breathing. I was focused.” – Jessica Alba
“Don't tell your kids you had an easy birth or they won't respect you. For years I used to wake up my daughter and say, ‘Melissa you ripped me to shreds. Now go back to sleep.’” – Joan Rivers
“We were in this little hospital in Africa when Shi was born. I don’t think there was anybody else in the hospital. It was just a little cottage, the three of us. It ended up being the greatest thing. We had wonderful doctors and nurses. It was lovely, very personal, all three in this sweet room. I had a C-section and I found it fascinating. I didn’t find it a sacrifice and I didn’t find it a painful experience. I found it a fascinating miracle of what a body can do.” – Angelina Jolie
“I tweeted in the very early stages of my labour. I figured that if I went completely silent on social media, then people would know I was in the hospital.” – Kerry Washington
“When I was having contractions, I envisioned my child pushing through a very heavy door. And I imagined this tiny infant doing all the work, so I couldn’t think about my own pain.” – Beyoncé
“I ended up on all fours in the back of a taxi with my husband on the way to the hospital, but otherwise I feel like I had a very lucky and good experience. I always knew I wanted an epidural. I am not a daredevil.” – Tina Fey