Parents to be are often beside themselves with the anticipation of what their little munchkin will be like. We lay awake at night staring at the ceiling wondering if our child will grow up to be outgoing and funny like Aunty Sarah, or kind and empathetic like Aunty Maurs. Is there any way of knowing? Besides waiting, I mean.
Much has been written about whether or not birth order can determine a child’s personality. You know – the eldest child is responsible; the middle child is always the black sheep of the family?
I’m going to take this one step further and question whether the type of birth you have can determine your baby’s personality. Or rather – whether your baby’s personality determines the type of birth you have! Sound crazy? Hear me out.
The first labour
My first born came into the world through a rather standard sort of labour.
After staying up in a hormonal frenzy of nesting (cleaning and rearranging his nursery like a mad woman), I had finally gone to bed at around 11pm.
At around 2am, I felt a strange “popping” sensation as I rolled onto my side. Yep, you guessed it; that was my waters breaking. Excitedly, I had jumped up to call the midwife, who suggested that we make our way to the hospital. Four days passed my due date and enormous, I was more than ready to have this baby.
By the time we arrived, the contractions had started. My labour progressed gradually, building up over a period of three hours until finally I was ready to push. And push. And push.
Frustratingly, this was precisely the moment things began to slow down. My contractions started to wane, and push as I might, this baby was just not budging. He definitely didn’t want to go anywhere fast.
Finally, after about another four hours – yes, that’s right, I said FOUR HOURS OF PUSHING, a dose of something to speed those contractions up again and with the help of a ventouse, he was out. Finally!
So how does that relate to my son’s personality?
My son, now seven, is as stubborn as a mule. He does everything in his own time and at his own pace. Often, he’ll rush headlong into something with unbridled enthusiasm, only to change his mind moments later.
He has tried all manner of sports and activities for a period of weeks, sometimes months, before growing bored and changing his mind.
One week, spaghetti is his favourite meal, the next week, he won’t even look at it. He often picks up new things quickly and then plateaus for a while before finally mastering something. He is the last one down the stairs every morning and if he so happens to be the first, you can bet that he’s still the last one in the car. He is shy, self – conscious and stubborn.
The second time around
Everything about my second labour was different to the first. And interestingly enough, my children could not be more different.
I had been playing a rather exciting game of Monopoly with my niece when I felt what could only be described as a “cork screw”, as my baby dropped head first into the birth canal. I had excitedly taken myself off to bed, in the hope of getting a few hours’ sleep before the contractions started. When they did start, there was no stopping them. I describe my daughter’s labour as a tornado ripping through my body, taking no prisoners. From the first twinge it had only taken about ten minutes before my contractions escalated to unbearably strong and painful spasms.
Needless to say, we did not make it to the hospital that night. Oh no, this baby had other plans. Half way to the hospital in the middle of the night and somewhere on the side of the road, our baby girl flew into the world.
She kicked and screamed at the top of her lungs for the entire ambulance ride to hospital. With her little Mohawk standing on end, she resembled something of a warrior.
And Her Personality….
Three years later, our daughter throws herself head first into everything. She completes every task in a flurry of excitement, commands a presence and orders everyone about like she rules the world. She is always in a hurry. She never walks, she runs; and she is a warrior if ever there was one.
Third time lucky
Having delivered a baby on the side of the road once before, we decided to eliminate all the risks and have my third labour induced.
This time, things took a while to get going. After several hours, I had only dilated a few centimetres, yet the contractions were definitely at full voltage. As my midwife prepared to leave for the day, I heard her whisper to her replacement that things “may take a while”.
It was literally at that moment that I felt my baby’s head crowning, much to everyone’s surprise. My obstetrician came running through the doors just in time to catch our little bundle of joy. In the background, Pharrell Williams belted out ‘Happy’ as if on cue.
Full Of Surprises
While it’s still early days yet, five months on and it is clear that our littlest baby is full of surprises. His laughs come out of nowhere and he will suddenly squeal with joy. He rolled over one day, completely out of the blue and went from waking every two hours to sleeping through (for ten hours!) literally overnight.
Only time will tell whether my happy little man continues to surprise us.
The conclusion? Well there’s no scientific proof and to be honest, I’m not sure whether there is any way of truly knowing if there’s a link here. If whether your baby’s personality can determine the type of labour you’ll have – or vice versa. But it sure is an interesting topic of conversation for your next mother’s group brunch!
So what about you? Do you think that your labour was a good indicator of your child’s personality? Are we on to something here?