I've been reading all these posts about being scared of labor, and as I have been through it before with an honest to god 48 hr labor (and without drugs), I do have a bit of knowledge on this subject. I say "a bit" because I hate know-it-all Moms that have all the answers for pregnant women because they have gone through something before. Every Mommy and Baby are different, everyone has their horror story, their own pain tolerance and their own battle scars from labor and delivery.
First things first.... it is scary, traumatic, awful, and awfully dirty. There's no denying it. It's plain gross, and plain painful, whether or not you get an epidural. It's scary and it feels like pain will never end. Good news is that it will end eventually and then you forget how bad it hurt. I'm pretty sure this is an evolutional mechanism that is built into us so that we will have more children.
Second thing.... guess what? You look like shit afterward. No matter how hard you try to look nice, with a few obnoxious exceptions (one of my best friends Marta being one) you are not the same afterward, in fact your face puffs up like a balloon (I'm not sure what the medical reason is behind this, I just know it to be a fact). This will also be the time when you want pictures, so a good rule of thumb is to focus on Mommy looking down at baby. That way she can be in the picture without looking as awful as she feels. My family didn't give me this luxury and sent out godawful pictures of me minutes after labor to all of our extended family. Don't let anyone do this to the poor Mommy.
In the moment that these awful, horrible, gross things are happening, you are just getting through the moment. You lose all sense of shame when you are in that much pain. I will tell you this, as much as worried about pooping on the delivery table before I went into labor (I didn't, by the way, with a 48 hr labor you have enough advance notice to take care of that), I could've cared less when it came time to push. I was only focused on getting that baby out, and getting rid of that pain....
And then afterward? It is euphoric once it is over. You did it! You survived, and no one can take that away from you. You wear that as a badge of honor for the rest of your life, because epidural or not, C-section, pain medications, episiotomy, or not, you created a beautiful human being.
Of course, your life as your know it is now over, and a different kind of frightening experience begins, one that never goes away, called motherhood.
So congrats to all the soon-to-be Moms that I know (one new addition that I am particularly excited about comes to mind) or wonderful Moms that I do know. It sucks but it's wonderful and exciting at the same time. Yay Motherhood.
Oh yeah, and whoever came up with the saying "we are pregnant", that's crap.