Should We Share Our Birthing Stories Online? Absolutely!

rawpixel-568371-unsplash (1)There has been a backlash recently against new mothers who share their birthing stories online. Some people don’t like this latest version of “oversharing” because they think it traumatizes pregnant women.

Although, not as much as the birth… I hasten to quip.

I have to admit that I always felt a bit cheated after the births of my children about the silent agreement among women not to discuss the absolute horror the nitty gritty of childbirth, except with your close friends – those that have seen you wee in public, puke on alcohol, or provide you with blow-by-blow accounts of sex with their husband.

Joking!

But fortunately, we’re a lot more open these days about what was once considered to be women’s business. In fact, it might surprise you to know that it was men that instigated the change to be with their partners in the delivery room. Evidently, it was difficult to focus on the paper in the waiting room with the bloodcurdling screams of their wives in their ear. Although my father was lucky enough to be in the pub – a story that, (not being one to shy away from sexism or political correctness), he continues to recount with pride.

Perhaps, predictably, I dragged the old man into the torture chamber with me, although he did come kicking and screaming when I went into labor two weeks early, the morning after a very boozy farewell to life without real responsibility the night before. It is no exaggeration to say that he slept through most of my ordeal until NC was thrust into his arms so that the medical team could save me from bleeding out – and I believe from certain death, had I been in Outlander.

NC’s birth was a shock, but not as massive a shock as my naive interpretation of what a sleepless night meant. Both of my children were in a rush to get out, which meant short, sharp periods of the kind of intense agony that Cassie goes through each week on The Bachelor, rather than a prolonged ordeal. Aside from what felt like wall staples in place of stitches in my vagina – that I secretly hoped wouldn’t be removed for several years – my experiences could have been worse. (Okay, not much worse). In fact, I found the sight of blood on the bathroom floor of the hospital to be far more unsettling.

But should we share the grisly, bloody detail of this natural, yet savage ordeal of bringing children into the world?

Absolutely. If you don’t want to know what really happens, don’t read about it or watch the videos. Obviously, I read everything that I could get my hands on at the time – because…anxiety – and in hindsight, I’m glad I did. I was more prepared and more aware of my options when it became evident that my birth plan was as useless as a knitted condom. Added to which, I knew that no one would bat an eyelid when I called the old man those names that even we have censored in our marriage.

 

Royal Baby #3

I like to think that I am a good person, but fundamentally, I must be a bitch, (as well as a hypocrite if you look at my last post about women supporting women), because I can’t help feeling a tad jealous about the way Kate squeezed out another heir, seemingly without a perfectly-coiffed, soft-curled hair out of place. Which leads me to suspect that they’ve legalized marijuana in the Lindo Wing.

pregnancy-1000417_1920

I’m certain that in the past twenty-four hours, every loaded, heavily pregnant woman in London has added herself to the hospital’s cancellation list and is hastily changing their birth plan to ‘whatever she had.’

I mean, you look at the woman (who, in a less privileged life could have been a successful catwalk model), and you have to question where exactly in her body she stored that eight-pound baby, and where she found the energy to push him out. I bet she never got accused of having child-bearing hips – thanks, Granny.

I’m sure many of us women have watched Kate’s pregnancies with the same tinge of (well, let’s call it) admiration. And some of us might even have felt that there was a touch of karma involved in her hyperemesis gravidarum. Just me, then? Because the term ‘all bump’ was an exaggeration for a woman who has never really looked pregnant until the last hour of any of her pregnancies.

I struggled to keep both of mine under wraps until the twelve-week scan. And frankly, I still get asked if I’m pregnant. 

And how fricken amazing did the woman look when she left the hospital? Bearing in mind that most women teeter out gingerly with that lumpy pad between their legs, rock-hard boobs and the sort of soreness down below that makes contemplating ever sitting on the toilet again an impossibility. Yet somehow, Kate managed to look like the baby had been airlifted out of her, or at worst, removed via keyhole surgery. I looked like I was on the way to the morgue.

I couldn’t show my face in public for weeks after the births of my two babies. I lied about them not feeding – I think I used the word “starving” – to extend my hospital visit for as long as possible, until eventually, they wheeled me out onto the street, screaming, ‘But I’m not ready.’

And I wasn’t.

I know she had help. Presumably, a Royal medical SWAT team that would have climbed in there and pulled the heir out if push came to shove. And I understand that, in general, each birth gets that bit quicker and easier. But I can’t decide if the speed of her recovery and her styled appearance has done us a favor by highlighting the incredible strength of womankind in the face of one of the greatest tests that nature throws at us, (apart from men), or if she’s set up any woman that needs a few years weeks to recover, to look a bit lightweight.

 

 

The Birth Of Besta: Because NOTHING brings a family closer together than Ikea

Nothing brings a family closer together than Ikea

English: Logo of Ikea.
English: Logo of Ikea. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

I’ve written about the influence of the Ikea family culture and their methodology on our dysfunctional family before.

 

And in the grand scheme of life and other shit, I DO REALISE that a small cupboard with doors that don’t close properly is not one of life’s major catastrophes.

 

But actually it is.

 

Because having gestated in the uterus of Ikea, Tempe, (yet another marvellous creation from the almighty Scandinavian Ikea God), I gave birth and bred this particular little bitch of a Besta cupboard – introduced it into the world, so to speak. And hate me for it if you will, but I wanted it to be perfect, or at least to function for the task it was fucking designed for.

 

I’m not really anal – I just wanted the fucking doors to close.

 

The Birth Of Besta
The AGONY!

Admittedly, I was already tired when I cut my finger on the knife as I sheared my way through the endless layers of cardboard, after a stressful day of combining work with school holidays.

So it wasn’t the best time to contemplate giving birth to Besta.

Although I had taken some pain medication in the form of a glass of wine. But only enough to take off the edge; not enough to machete my way through hours of frustration. 

Added to which, the lighting was poor and the teens were watching The Incredibles for the umpteenth time, way too loudly – and if I hear another joke about the name Donna, I may slit my wrists.

 

I realize that you may be judging me and thinking ‘bad workmen….’ and all that.

 

And what I probably should mention is that we have this not-so-subtle underlying family competition that surrounds ‘erecting’ Ikea furniture.

 

This is Kurt and I racing to put together bedside tables last week. I won by a screw – now that sounds bad….

 

The Birth Of Besta
What competition?

 

(Yeah, I said the word ‘erect’ again, kids, because I know you hate it and I’m immature enough to get my own back where I can. Unload the fucking dishwasher next time!)

 

Have I also mentioned that I had thought that I’d be beyond Ikea at this stage in my life. I rather saw myself in the Coco Republic stage by now, but alas the old man sees things on a spectacularly different plane to me and has become an impassioned Ikea fan, no doubt driven by its functionality, design and…..price.

 

So at the end of our extended stay at Ikea this week, (since we moved into Dysfunctionality Box and realised just how short of furniture we were after my over-excitement on Gumtree), I’m feeling despondent. Because in an apartment the size of a dolls house, storage is key – and you can knock Ikea all you like, but NO-ONE does storage quite like Ikea.

 

Where in my education was the bit about hinges and aligning doors? Surely that would have been more useful than Algebra?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Giving Birth To Your First Literary Baby

Newborn child, seconds after birth. The umbili...
Newborn child, seconds after birth. The umbilical cord has not yet been cut. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

She’s been in the womb for a while now, this gestating book of mine. Its been a long pregnancy this one, which is why her current working name is The Fucker.

But I think that (FINALLY) her due date might actually be getting closer, and now I’m getting quite nervous about the labour.

Which is why I’d like to tell you about a conversation I had with the old man about it the other day.

You see I’ve written the first draft, edited it a few million times and changed as much as I possibly can without transforming the plot completely and having to start all over again.

So I now have to take that brave step of showing my baby to someone – which is nerve-racking if I’m honest. It’s like the first time you show your real baby to the world and even though you know it’s probably quite ugly, because all newborns are, you still don’t want anyone to actually tell you that.

It took me four months before I told anyone that I’d been writing a blog, so you could say that self-confidence is not my strong point. You have to be brave to reveal your true persona publicly – which writing obviously does – to put yourself under the spotlight and allow people to judge you. And I admit that I’m as sensitive as a fucking cockroach to light when it comes to criticism.

I’ve ummed and ahhhed about who to hand my baby to for the first time. The obvious choice is the old man but he can be a harsh critic, and not as objective as I’d like. And the truth is that I’m more stung by his criticism than anyone else’s. But then again he knows me the best and secretly I would like his approval.

But there are two problems with him reading my draft. The first is that the subject matter of my material is not what I usually write about. Sure, I occasionally attempt ‘serious’ in my blog but the old man yawns impolitely when I do. There is some humor in the book but the plot has predominantly serious themes and undertones running through it, about death and relationships, dysfunctionality and all that serious shit.

All those things that the old man has never had the maturity to understand and spent a lifetime walking away from when confronted.

I bought of copy of Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus recently and each time I catch him reading it furtively, I can see the signs of utter amazement on his face when he reads about Venus and women’s natural traits.

The second problem with him reading my manuscript is that he limits his choice of reading to fantasy.

So asking a philistine, who only reads fantasy books and quotes Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings to our kids when trying to discipline them, might appear foolish. Not forgetting that he has never expressed a raw emotion in twenty years of marriage and I’m beginning to suspect that John Gray actually based the inhabitants of Mars on him.

Yet there is this gnawing duty within me that won’t go away. In some bizarre, marital- harmonising way I feel that I owe it to him. He has allowed me the time to grow my baby and to try and turn my dream into a reality and if he is my soul mate he should be able to put his own ideas aside and remain objective.

‘I think I’m almost ready for you to read the first part of my book,’ I mentioned casually over the weekend.

‘What’s it about again?’

‘Relationships – there’s this tragic event that rips a family apart leading to blame, depression and the crumbling of the familial infrastructure.’

‘Is it funny?’

‘Not exactly. It has its moments…’

‘Are there any dragons in it?’

‘No, no dragons.’

‘NO DRAGONS? Well, do any of the characters have superpowers?’

‘No, I can’t think of any superpowers other than love, compassion and integrity.’

*Sigh*

‘Isn’t there anyone else you can ask to read it?’

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