A couple of things have twanged my already pretty taut nerves since becoming pregnant and giving birth to my son, Osian.
Number one has to be ‘The Shush Club’ of slushy mothers who refuse, no who LOVE to refuse to tell you any details about labour and childbirth.
‘Ooh no we won’t go there’ (nod, nod, wink, wink at a fellow baby pusher-outer and a little patronising pat of your big, bulging belly).
‘No really, I’d like to know. I don’t mind.’
I’d say (knowing it was futile) No chance. Instead, more extremely irritating, knowing looks and no information imparted at all.
Now childbirth is a deliciously difficult thing to describe from the inside out. I fully appreciate that and I’m currently contemplating how you can possibly write something that shares in some way what an intense, trippy, mental, hysterical, terrifying, exhilarating, wonderful experience it is.
But come on ladies! At least give it a go. Tell us how much it did / didn’t hurt, what went right / wrong, if you ordered everyone out of the room because, ‘I’m not fucking having this baby, I’m just going to die instead….’
(my best pal and work-wife, Jo)
Knowledge is power after all, and you certainly need a bit of that for childbirth.
For example slow labour.
S-l-o-w….l-a-b-o-u-r… heard of it? Me neither really. I’d read a couple of things on the internet but had NO IDEA it could be so intense (i.e. strong contractions every 5 – 15 minutes for five days, no sleep, apart from in 10 minute slots between excruciating contractions and excitedly telling my husband when asked if I’d eaten anything that I’d had a fruit pastille).
Had I known about the true horrors of slow labour I certainly would have had a tens machine ready and waiting instead of having to have an emergency drive-by drop off from my life-saving sister-in-law.
But it’s once you have given birth to your little bundle of loveliness that joy really and truly enters your life.
Number two is the joy of changing your name! Oh, you didn’t know it was changing? You quite like your name? Well tough…..
You are no longer Janys, Rose or Elizabeth….or Josephine, Kirsty or Laura..You are now ‘Mummy’ and will remain so forever. You are a generic being without your own individual personality.
Some health visitors (not all, so don’t feel the need to point out how wonderful most are, I KNOW…and I worship the ground that midwives walk on and kiss their feet)
But some health visitors seem to fully believe that you pushed your brain out through the birth canal shortly after the placenta.
Perhaps there is a fourth stage of labour of which I’m unaware?
On one visit to the clinic recently I had to check behind me in case a small child had entered the room without me noticing, but no it was me she was talking to.
This woman had the skill that only the very shittest of bosses have, that of telling you what to do just 10 seconds before you were about to do it.
Let me set the scene –
The appointment fell at an awkward time, I should have fed Osian before I went but was trying to squeeze the appointment in before his feed…. So he was cranky, pissed off and stripping his clothes off to weigh him was not going down brilliantly. Luckily throughout this ordeal I was spoken to like I’d had a brain injury or as though if conversed with like an adult I would be unable to cope and crumble to dust.
‘Why don’t you give him a cuddle mummy? Ooh mummy why don’t you take your coat off? You look a bit hot. Mummy, why don’t you go and feed him mummy? Mummy, have you got everything you need for a feed mummy?
Aaaaaaaaaaaaargh! Yes I do because I’m not a completely useless tit of a mum! (Some of the time anyway).
I have, however discovered the ultimate in the ‘passive aggressive fuck off’…..speak your mind, but through your baby!
(To Osian, in a ‘mummy’ voice)
‘Of course mummy’s got everything she needs for a feed, because mummy’s not an idiot is she?’
Fuck off you patronising twat…
It’s highly satisfying, works a treat and I aim to use it more. Be warned, if I insult you through my baby you’ve really pissed me off.
Anyway, back to chatting with my son. I get more sense out of him than most, and speech development is fascinating!
Now where were we, ah yes; m-m-m-m-mu-mu-mum-um-mum-mum-mummy!