I’ve been flying a lot lately – some pretty turbulent flights. It’s been swell for my anxiety. Really.

On a flight out to San Francisco last weekend, there was a particularly rough 15 minutes at the beginning of the flight that I thought the plane might start rolling.

I was quite positive I was going to die, actually.

I didn’t have much to base this assumption on other than, well, the way the lady next to me was behaving (burying her head into the arm rest, breathing into her knees, muttering prayers), and the feeling of my stomach coming out of my nose.ย I was convinced nonetheless.

Yet, the whole time I was bracing myself for the plummet back to earth, the flight crew kept carrying on with their announcements. NOT the ones that detailed anything at all that was going on. None that were reassuring like,

“We’re sorry for this horrific roller coaster at 15,000 feet that you’re trapped on. This is all VERY normal, and you aren’t actually going to die. This is just (insert the reason the plane is having a seizure).”

It’s one thing to feel crazy over freaking out about something that may or may not kill you. It’s quite another when the people who are in charge of your safety aren’t telling you what the holy fuck is going on, and behaving as if this is all normal.

It occurred to me in that moment…

Because I relate all life experiences to birth since becoming a mother.

And then I wondered if I could take a Bradley class to for flying… or just get some really good drugs.

Kidding. Sorta.

But seriously, so much of what scares me in life is the unknown. Birth, for me, was actually not that bad because I DID take a 12 week Bradley birth class before having Kendall, so I at least knew that what was happening to me was totally normal, even if it felt like I was going to die from my spine being ripped out of my back during a contraction. Had I not been armed with all that education?

Uh, yeah. Total freakout mode would have commenced.

And the worst would have been NOT knowing all that was normal and having nobody take the time to tell me, to really explain to me exactly why my body was doing what it was doing. If my husband were freaking out alongside me, well, I’d probably start puking and praying for my life.

So, the point… of this… there is one, ย is scary things can be a lot less scary if you know what’s going on, if people communicate with you and if the person next to you can hold their shit together.

I think there’s a life lesson somewhere in there. Or just a reason for me to stop flying so much.

13 thoughts on “Flying Is Like Giving Birth”

  1. Also, if there is wine at the end of it. (I am sure hospitals would frown on popping a cork on a bottle of wine after giving birth, but the point is the same, right?)

    Great to meet you this weekend, Jill!

  2. Yes! Totally agree. I recently posted about birth conversations and how we don’t have enough of them in our culture. And then women don’t know what’s going on and they make decisions they might not have made if they thought what was happening was normal. Just like people who act like nutters on a plane and freak out all the other passengers. ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. You are SO right. I was freaked the F out during my surprise c-section because they wouldn’t tell me what the hell was going on (and of course I didn’t research c-sections because it would never happen to me!) . If they had just TOLD me that they were “now going to splay [my] pancreas and innards out on my chest and [I] would feel some warmth” they might not have had to gas me out of my panic attack.

    Astute observation this evening. Nicely done.

  4. Every time I fly, my plane is surely going to crash. You know what keeps my planes in the air? XANAX. I only take it when I fly but that .50mg (for every take-off so I try to get a direct flight when I can) keeps me from crashing into the earth.

  5. That is by far THE funniest blog post I’ve ever read! I laughed so hard, I had tears streaming down my cheeks! I hate flying and the last flight I took was several years ago. It was also the scariest flight I’ve ever been on. Every few minutes I could hear the engines stop and then a few seconds later I could feel the plane fall. Seriously! I thought for sure we were going to die. I was so afraid I literally couldn’t move. I just sat there gripping the seat with my head back and eyes closed. When we were about to land, the captain came on the loud speaker and apologized for the turbulence (which was the least of my worries) and told us he had to change altitude several times. That’s what I was feeling!
    And about childbirth. I’ve had 3 excellent experiences and will have a 4th in march that I’m very nervous about. I recommend for anyone who is pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant to watch ‘the business of being born’. It’s a documentary that ricki lake did and its very eye opening!

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