This post contains lots of swear words.
I don’t talk about my ‘birth stories’ all that often on this here internet because there seems to be a lot of women out there sharing their ‘birth stories’ and I stand firmly by the Duchess’s statement that “There’s no getting away from the fact that that shit hurts!’ So really, me adding my stories of pain and indignity are just contributing to an already mountainous pile of stories about how birthing is really fucking painful. If you’re really interested, I’ve given a little insight at the end of this post.
But it’s really nice to talk about them when someone asks and is interested. This happened over the weekend and as words like ‘syntocinon’, ‘epidural’ and ‘fuck up’ kept pouring out of my mouth, it was all I could do to stop myself from bringing up that Facebook photo where I’m beaming, holding a little pink baby while in the background a weary doctor is stitching up what’s left of my vagina, bloody gloves and all.
And the next morning as Fiela and I dissected the previous night’s antics, he turned to me and said “Why on Earth did you tell her that?” It’s at this point that I forgot my husband is a) male and therefore b) stupid sometimes (he’s usually pretty with it- I’m going to keep him anyway). Here’s what I came up with in mansplaining why women talk about that time they gave birth loooooong after it happened:
- It Fucking Hurts
Hey husband remember that time you stubbed your toe and then you limped around for a few hours until you forgot about it but then you kept talking about how you stubbed your toe and how it hurt a bit to every person you saw for a few days after? Childbirth is like that times a gazillion on every level. And then IT KEEPS HURTING once that kid is out. Next day poo? Even a woman who’s just had a text book birth knows THAT is fraught with difficulty and a fair bit of panting the next day. Shut up about your sore fucking toe.
Where is my t-shirt? I completed one of the most physically torturous things you can do and there was no fake gold medal or t-shirt at the end. Instead, ALL my t-shirts are now stained: it used to be breast milk, then formula, then pureed food and now it’s texta and snot and glitter. All I want is a clean t-shirt. My husband only ran half a marathon and he got a t-shirt, a medal AND a protein ball. I mean, yes, I got a child; but they don’t really like it when you throw it in a drawer and only get it out when you’re doing a spring clean.
- Lotto Winner
I totally won the lotto because I have two healthy, happy children. But Kochie hasn’t sent Edwina out to interview me yet and I’d like to know why the fuck not? This is a momentous occasion! Usually lotto winners are at least given some fancy champagne and a big cardboard cheque: all I’ve received are the occasional compliments about how cute my kids are and I’ll give you that tip for free- the man at BWS doesn’t accept compliments as a form of payment.
I didn’t have any serious long lasting mental or physical hangovers from my birthing experiences; I’ve even managed to start using tongs in the kitchen without hyperventilating with fright. I have been incredibly lucky. Not all women are though and regardless, sharing a story about one of the hardest things your body will ever do with someone who’s interested- that’s important, therapeutic, restorative.
Mothers do something amazing when they have a baby. Whether they push them out or have them yanked out with fancy salad servers or pulled out in a scary operating theatre: every mother has stared fear, pain and the loss of dignity in the face and said “Fuck off and give me my baby.” Every time we listen to those stories or tell our own, we remember those distinct moments of undeniable importance and add a little more measure to our worth.That’s why we tell those stories.
PS: Sussie: Emergency forceps amongst other things and three running stitches to patch up that train wreck I now contain in my undies.
PSS: The Boetman: No drugs (fucking ouch x 1billion) or tears but a retained placenta and a trip to the operating theatre.