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Big: That’s Birth For Ya

Abby Theuring, The Badass Breastfeeder in the hospital.

Back in high school my friend asked if I wanted to do acid. I asked him what it was like. He said “well, it’s… Big.” “Big? What the hell does that mean?” I asked. “I don’t know how to explain it, it’s just… Big,” he responded. I did acid with this friend and a few days later another friend asked what it was like. I said “well, uuuuh, it was…. Big.” I have read all the books by the writers who have experimented with acid. I have tried myself to explain it to people. Just as our reality is impossible to explain, all other forms of it are twice as hard. It lives in a place where words don’t exist. It’s that word at the tip of your tongue that you can’t quite get out. You can see it your head and feel in your blood, but you can never quite get the message across. Maybe this is why women want so badly to tell their birth story. Only through telling this story over and over can we process this truly mind-altering, life-changing, reality-shifting experience. Mind-altering in that we cannot relate the same to people afterwards. We cannot go back. This experiment with a new reality changes us. We cannot escape the images and sensations. We cannot make you understand. It’s too… Big.

Abby Theuring, MSW


  1. The first time i tripped acid in college my eddie vedder poster turned into a gorilla. Thank god dan did not turn into a gorilla when i was in labor. I can never really make people understand how he became a gorilla. You hit the nail on the head with your “description” of birth.

  2. i never have done acid because i was too scared to but i have given birth. this was very well said. I often have trouble explaining my feelings and what it was like. this his the nail on the head.

  3. My husband and I go back to the whole experience now and then. This is my our first child and so when I would ask other women how they would describe it, I couldn’t understand why they… couldn’t. Then, bam it was my turn. Now I’m apart of those women that simply cannot describe it either. It is definitely life changing and incomprehensible until you’ve experienced it.

  4. Big seems like even an understastment! Natural childbirth is one for the record books! Totally unrelatable to others. Alone, like you said.

  5. Well, I’ve done acid and I have given birth – birth is way more ‘big’. Monumentous BIG;-)

  6. Fully agree, although I’d never thought about it this way before, thanks for that!

  7. I agree with your description of birth being “big” and beyond description with words. I wish, however, that you had chosen another word besides “traumatizing.” I think I understand your intent with this word, but I also think that the connotation of “traumatizing” is a negative one. This is not to say that some births are not traumatic, but I wish that we could use different verbiage in describing birth, like “powerful,” or “life-changing” rather than a word with negative meaning.

    • Mary, I have to say I love that she used the word traumatizing.

      That is exactly the word I felt to use after giving birth and I wanted people to understand that I didn’t mean that it was bad or scary, but that it was an experience that altered me to an incredible degree.
      It was empowering and elevating and I wish everyone could have the experience I had. I wish everyone on earth could experience birth like I experienced it. I think everyone deserves something THAT amazing and beautiful to happen to them.
      But, traumatizing is exactly what it was.

  8. I can truly describe my birthing experience as Awesome! I’ve never done acid, but I try to describe the birth process as the hardest job I’d done. Until becoming a mom 🙂 It was the hardest work, and the biggest payoff. It was also now, looking back, the easy part 🙂 I’m pregnant with baby #2 and I’m totally looking forward to the birth and having my midwife and now, my Son there to help me through it and meet our new gift from God!

  9. When men have asked me I tell them it was like dying and coming back to life again.

  10. I will have to agree with Kaela. I was like dying and coming back to life for me as well. Is like being reborn while you are giving life to your own flesh and blood. To go through all that pain and to feel like your not going to make it. Then you over come it with a BIG inhale of air with relief and a bundle of joy in your arm. From that moment on you are different you have changed you have been reborn with that BIG inhale. Your a mother now. =) It is traumatizing too I felt that way with my second child I had to go under a emergency C-section. My sons heart was stopping while I was having contractions. Latter to find out my placenta was 24 percent rupture. All I can say both experiments was BIG in there own way.

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