The BuzzFeed Community asked readers to share their most empowering memories from labor and delivery. As usual, the moms of BuzzFeed did not disappoint.
Fair warning -- this is childbirth we're talking about here -- there are some graphic scenes below.
1. "I grew this actual person inside of my body..."
My most empowering moment from labor and delivery was when I saw my daughter's face for the very first time. Knowing that I grew this actual person inside of my body and seeing her on the outside, living and breathing, really drove home how amazing my body is.
—Submitted by yelenas41a9e7d47
2. "I love that when I wear a bikini you can see my scar..."
I love that when I wear a bikini you can see my scar because yes, this is what I had to go through for my beautiful child and I'm damn proud of it! A C-section is in no way taking the easy way out, and it does not make me less of a mother or a woman because my son was not born "naturally."
—Submitted by gabriellep41cee509e
3. "It was such a high."
I had my son at home in a blow-up kiddy pool. Nine hours of AMAZING labor. I loved every minute of it. I have a very low pain tolerance (I thought), but I did it! I cannot wait to be in labor again. It was such a high.
—Submitted by kadyr2
5. "It felt out of this world."
I had my twins month and a half before due date. It felt out of this world. As I pushed my first son out, I screamed, "Breathe, son, breathe," and he cried and I felt like all my wishes came true. My second son was born five minutes later — I remember he was bigger and I told the doctor, "I did it!!" Nothing can compare to the feeling of giving birth. Now I know.
—Submitted by azy888
6. "I don't remember the pain to this day."
After being sent home from the hospital because I "wasn't progressing quickly enough to stay," I labored for five hours in a hotel room, since home was an hour away. By the time I finally headed back to the hospital, and they decided to keep me, I made it to my room less than a half an hour before delivering my son. I was begging for an epidural when they were taking me to my room, but by the time I got there, it was too late. I delivered with no pain medicine, and I only had to push through two contractions! I felt pretty powerful, and I don't remember the pain to this day. Every moment was so worth it!
—Submitted by ericagustafw
7. "My son gave me my strength. He helped me heal."
I went into labor a month before I was due. After 30 hours, I gave birth to a beautiful, healthy-as-can-be baby boy. But I after I brought him home, I couldn't breath. I went to the emergency room, and it turns out I had a blood clot in my lung. All of the doctors wanted me to understand that the odds weren't really in my favor. But I went home, took care of my son, took my blood thinners, and made it out unscathed. My son gave me my strength. He helped me heal.
—Submitted by megant452c579a0
8. "I feel empowered to know that I created life."
I think that creating a life in general is incredibly empowering. I ended up having two C-sections and had to be under general anesthesia — I have a spinal fusion and an epidural/spinal could not be properly placed. Even though I did not go all natural or even vaginal, I still feel empowered to know that i created life.
—Submitted by sarahl46d3b6f74
9. "The hippies were right..."
All the worries about him getting stuck, or my pelvis breaking under strain, or needing a C-section seemed silly as they put him on my chest. At the end of the day, all the hippies were right. My body was designed for this, and I pulled through it amazingly. I never felt more badass.
—Submitted by sugarf
10. "She is amazing."
I gave birth in a teaching hospital, and I will never forget when I heard the nurse explain to her student: "Her body knows what to do. Most women's bodies know what to do. We just have to stand back, let them do it, and assist when necessary. She is amazing!" And I was!
—Submitted by rebeccawalkers
11. "Being a wonderful mother is my purpose on this earth."
When I had my daughter Camille, I felt like a superhero. There's something empowering about having a little human placed on your chest, depending on you for their survival. It anchored my feeling that being a wonderful mother is my purpose on this earth.
—Submitted by heatherlynns2
12. "My body decided to take over completely."
The nurse was having me do practice pushes before the doctor arrived. About five pushes later, she realized my daughter was crowning and told me to stop. Except...my body decided to take over completely and my daughter basically came out on her own in 10 minutes. The doctor barely had enough time to sit down and "catch" her. An hour and a half worth of stitches and two years later and I still feel like a badass.
—Submitted by gabz1016
13. "He fell asleep while he was helping me time contractions."
My most relished moment of empowerment from childbirth is smacking my husband with a pillow because I was in active labor pain, and he fell asleep while he was helping me time contractions.
—Submitted by Ashleigh Polley via Facebook
15. "It gives you such an appreciation for your body."
I've had two planned home births. With my second, I went into it with no fear, but it ended up being a much harder labor. The contractions were overlapping in the end, and it was one heck of a ride. At the crowning, there was such intense pressure that had it not been for the midwife assuring me that I could do this, I'm not sure how I would have made it through. When she was weighed and we found out that she was 9 lbs., 10 oz. (after a huge meconium poo, nonetheless), it made sense why she was so much more difficult. I'm still in disbelief that I managed to birth such a big baby, not to mention without drugs. It gives you such an appreciation for your body.
—Submitted by Laura Webster via Facebook
16. "It's OK to be sad and overwhelmed."
Three days after my crash C-section, the doctor asked how I was doing. I started to cry. She said, "What's that tear for?" I told her I was exhausted and overwhelmed already and I don't know how to take care of a baby and I want sleep and I'm just sad and I don't know why.
She told me, "It's OK to be sad and overwhelmed." She told me to take care of myself, lean on the people around me, call her with any questions, and that everyone at the OB-GYN clinic would be there to care for me. She told me to call the pediatrician with questions about the baby, and let everyone around me help take care of us.
"It's OK to be sad and overwhelmed" is something I'd never heard in relation to having a baby. I truly think that hearing that made me more empowered to admit that I had postpartum depression, and made getting help easier.
—Submitted by Jennifer Nelson via Facebook
17. "I helped deliver my own son."
When it came time for him to come out, the doctor told me to learn over and put my hands out. Then he said, "When I tell you to, grab his shoulders and pull." I helped deliver my own son. It was such an amazing feeling!
—Submitted by Nikki Vang via Facebook
18. "It really made me feel like a superhuman."
My husband looked at me during my delivery and said, "I can't believe you are doing this!" with total amazement in his eyes. It really made me feel like a superhuman and helped my confidence more than I could ever tell him.
—Submitted by Erin Zagar via Facebook
19. "I was a surrogate, and it was a really hard process."
I was a surrogate, and it was a really hard process. The most empowering feeling of it, though, was that I was able to make this human life for someone else. I was able to make them a family and complete them! Not just a normal everyday gift — I GAVE THE GIFT OF LIFE!!!
—Submitted by Elizabeth Wood via Facebook
20. "Being able to make the decision on how I gave birth was the most empowering thing."
I had an elective cesarean for reasons that are nobody's business. When people ask me if I was scared going in, I reply that I wasn't because it was exactly what I wanted and that being able to make the decision on how I give birth is the most empowering decision I have ever made.
—Submitted by Amy Cambell via Facebook
22. "My son is a surviving twin..."
I didn't experience delivery the way I had planned, but it has become the most amazing and life-changing experience I have ever encountered. My son is a surviving twin — I went into labor at 24 weeks and three days. My first was stillborn the next day. At the time I was experiencing so many emotions — grief as well as hope for my second. Things had started to look like I would keep him in for another few weeks, but to our surprise, the following day at 24 weeks and five days, my son was born via emergency C-section.
My son went through several surgeries and processes throughout his four-month NICU stay. I learned to appreciate very small accomplishments in him. Today, he is a happy, healthy, 2½-year-old.
—Submitted by Megan Salem via Facebook
23. "It truly taught me patience."
I was life-flighted at around 21 weeks for a lack of amniotic fluid. My entire pregnancy was mentally and physically taxing. I ended up being started into labor after my amniotic fluid was at an all-time low. Finally, on Easter Sunday, our miracle baby finally made it into this world. She celebrated her 10th birthday last Friday and I'm thankful every day for her and the experience of my pregnancy and labor with her. It truly taught me patience, self-control, and true perseverance.
—Submitted by A.a. Ron via Facebook
24. "I slept through most of my labor."
I went the full 40 weeks. I went to the doctor at midnight, but was sent home after only being dilated at a 2. I went home and slept. At 6 a.m. I woke up in crazy pain! By the time we got to the doctor, they told me I was dilated to an 8! They stuck me in a room, introduced me to the doctor on call, and told me push on my next contraction. YES, it all happened that fast!! I slept through most of my labor. Girl power!
—Submitted by Cyndi Magdaleno via Facebook
25. "I made that!"
I'd labored for 36 hours medicine-free, and had to be sold on a C-section. When he was born I was so glad I had a cesarean, as he was 10 lbs., 10 oz....and I made that!
—Submitted by Chloe Peterson via Facebook
26. "I felt like a warrior and still do."
I was 18 and thought I would panic and scream and even cry during labor. I woke up at 5 a.m. with labor pains; not only did I take a shower, go to the bathroom, and get ready before I woke my son's father up, but I never complained. Not even in the car (I silently just breathed and squeezed his hand the whole way), and never once did I scream or cry during labor. I felt like a warrior and still do.
—Submitted by Marilyn Yelitza Rios via Facebook
27. "This is actually pretty easy."
When only after 20 minutes of vigorous pushing, I lamented I couldn't go on. My husband encouraged me by saying, "She's right there, you can do it!" And with that I woman-warrior-roared and pushed one last time.
With my second daughter, I paused mid-push to look at my husband to say, "This is actually pretty easy."
—Submitted by Charli Stein via Facebook
28. "I was like, damn, I'm a bad bitch."
With my third C-section, my incision just hurt more than usual the next day. I kept telling my nurses and I guess they thought I was trying to score extra pain meds. That evening my doc came in and immediately called the maternity ER staff to open a bed for me. Nearly all my staples had fallen out and I was just chilling open. I chose not to go into the OR for anesthetic and just got stitched up. I was like, damn, I'm a bad bitch walking around with a gaping wound and taking multiple shots to the bikini line.
—Submitted by Corinne Kania via Facebook
29. "I was unable to move, but I was determined."
Right after my C-section with my daughter, I was numbed up to the point I couldn't move my arms. I tried hard as I could to put my baby to my chest to start breast-feeding and failed. I then demanded the nurse help me get this baby on the boob, she did, and I breast-fed successfully for two years. I was dedicated immediately post-op, unable to move, but was determined. That was empowering!
—Submitted by Kelsey Hughes via Facebook
30. "I instantly knew I would do this all over again as soon as I could."
After two years of infertility treatments, two rounds of IVF, nine months high-risk OB-GYN appointments, 36 hours of induced labor, one hour of pushing, two tries with forceps and a fourth-degree tear, I saw my baby boy and my husband jokingly asked when we were having another. I instantly knew I would do this all over again as soon as I could.
—Submitted by Jaimene Gore via Facebook
31. "Trusting my body to tell me when it was time was empowering in itself."
My first pregnancy I chose to be induced. That experience was not a pleasant one, so for my second pregnancy I decided that I wanted a different experience. I chose to take a hypnobirthing class, and that was probably the best decision that I could have made. With all the tools and techniques that I learned in the class I was able to have the natural birth that I wanted. I labored for nine hours at home, and my daughter was born 20 minutes after we arrived. Trusting my body to tell me when it was time was empowering in itself because so many women don't think they have the confidence to give birth the way it has been done for generations, without medical intervention (unless necessary).
—Submitted by Sarah Vines via Facebook
33. "Preeclampsia is scary."
At 34 weeks I was told my baby might not make it. I was forced to be strong and calm and go into my C-section without a negative thought on my mind. Preeclampsia is scary. It made me stronger.
—Submitted by Jessica Lynne via Facebook
34. "If that's not empowering, I don't know what is."
After my son was born he was placed high on my chest. He immediately started rooting, and he scooted down my chest ON HIS OWN, found my breast, and began suckling. It's truly amazing that our bodies can grow and house another living being for nine months, and then we can provide nourishment with our bodies afterward for as long as our children need it. If that's not empowering, I don't know what is.
—Submitted by Stephanie Anne Moran via Facebook
35. "My brother told me I was 'like a freaking linebacker.'"
My brother told me I was "like a freaking linebacker" in the middle of pushing. Had her out in 10 mins. So yeah...I pretty much bossed at the whole pushing babies out the vagina thing.
—Submitted by Lindsy Cornelius via Facebook
36. "I pretty much felt invincible."
When my fourth was born, the period from transition to delivery was so rapid that the nursing staff/doctor weren't present in the room by the time my daughter was crowning. I basically delivered her myself, reached down, scooped her to my chest, and she was nestled there when the doctor came in. After that, I pretty much felt invincible.
—Submitted by Christina Marie Martinez via Facebook
37. "My birth plan was to have an epidural and then have a baby."
Everyone kept asking me what my birth plan was. I kept telling them that my birth plan was to have an epidural and then have a baby. It worked.
—Submitted by Erin Gill via Facebook
38. "I grabbed the bed and started breathing with determination."
The moment I told the anesthesiologist to get the epidural out and leave the room, I turned around, grabbed the bed, and started breathing with determination. It was at that moment I realized just how strong I was.
—Submitted by Kelci Cline via Facebook
39. "She's my stubborn little spitfire."
After 26 hours of labor, and a few hours of pushing, my daughter was stuck under my pubic bone. My midwife stated that she recommended using a vacuum to pull my daughter out. I said "Hell no!" Three pushes later she was out! Two hours before my own birthday too, she's my stubborn little spitfire.
—Submitted by Miranda Cook via Facebook
40. "It was a very primal experience."
I gave birth without any painkillers or drugs (not by choice, things happened too fast). It was a very primal experience, and I survived it. I will never forget how that felt.
—Submitted by Elisabeth Lindman via Facebook
41. "I was actually excited to go into labor with my second."
Making the choice to continue without pain medication. When they said "Last chance" before they broke my water, I thought "This isn't as bad as I thought it'd be" and said "Just do it." The second they popped that thing I immediately became terrified at what pain might await me and started sobbing, blubbering, "I MADE A MISTAKE. I SHOULD HAVE TOOK IT!" A half hour later my daughter shot out. I had the biggest high of my life after I birthed her. I was actually excited to go into labor with my second.
—Submitted by Cheyenne Allen-Hinds via Facebook