I have two children and my births were worlds apart. First I was terrified, 2 weeks over, got induced/waters broken for me despite naturally going into labour that morning , had an epidural because I 'looked like I wouldn't cope.' I didn't have the confidence to challenge anything or even ask why things were happening. I ended up with 2 2nd degree tears, which in hindsight was due to the epidural and all pushing.
My second birth was entirely different, worlds apart! I went with one to one midwives, practiced hypnobirthing throughout my pregnancy and planned a water birth at home. Everything went to plan, I had paracetamol and some gas and air at the end, it was the most amazing, autonomous experience. I was never examined, I didn't push. I felt totally in control compared to my first birth where I just did as I was told. The next day I physically felt great, never would have know I'd given birth! Worlds apart. I know my first Labour is no where near as traumatic as some others. I think it's vital women know they can challenge why things are happening, but as a first time mum it's such a terrifying experience, especially when you hear the horror stories. We need to normalise birth.