I got an email today (and I get similar ones pretty often) that said “I love your blog and was reading through the archives. I noticed you don’t have any of your birth stories posted. I hope you’ll write them someday. I’d love to read them.”
To which I say “Good luck with that. You’re in for a long wait.”
There are women in this world who dread play dates, shun mommy groups, and are wary of homeschool support groups because they dread the hours of non-stop childbirth talk. I’m one of them. I’ve quit four different groups over the years because the conversations were all episiotomies and pushing all the time. And when I say all the time, I mean they never discussed anything else. I get that it was a huge moment (or moments) in your life, but haven’t you done other stuff? Anything else we can talk about?
The truth is that I hate birth stories. I don’t like to tell them. I don’t ever read them. Promise. If I go to your blog and the title is “My Birth Story”….I close the window and check back tomorrow. Heck, unless you’re a close friend, and I’m holding your newborn which means you just climbed that mountain within the last few days, I don’t want to hear it in person. When I say it’s not my thing, I mean it.
I don’t mind the references “Ugh. 18 hours in labor, 2 hours of pushing, and a cracked tailbone. If he ever even mentions putting me in a home….I’m laying on the guilt. I’ve earned living out my golden years in the guest room.” and I’ll say “Amen sister!” and be right there with you.
But when you start talking about laps around the hospital hallways until your water broke in a gush of amniotic fluid that soaked your socks…please don’t tell me. I don’t want to know. There are other women who love that sort of thing, apparently (and God bless them for it!)…because they keep sending me emails begging for my gory stories. Go and find those girls. You can talk, they can listen. You can share with each other and it will be beautiful.
And I can sip my cuppa tea and talk politics or current events or anything else. Please.
The truth is that I get uncomfortable thinking about anyone sticking an arm in your lady bits up to the elbow or, God forbid, the arm pit. I have a really hard time looking you in the eye and thinking about anything other than your hoo-hoo once I know you’ve been ripped stem to stern and sewed back up again. It’s all I can do not to ask you if you need a doughnut pillow to sit on, even if your baby is 5-years-old now and those stitches should be a distant memory. Obviously not because you’re still talking about it! With me!!!
I’ll confess that I don’t understand this over sharing with strangers about something so private and personal, and for goodness sakes, I have a blog! A blog where I over-share some pretty personal stuff on a regular basis. But not a birth story.
I don’t even really want to know my own birth stories. I listen to my Grandma talk about the wonders of twilight sleep when she was having babies – the pains started, they knocked you out, and when you woke up they handed you a newborn. I’m not sure that’s a bad thing…except I want to hold my babies when they’re still fresh and goop-y….which is why I don’t ask them to knock me out. I’m pretty sure they would if I requested it, because ,if you think about it, that’s gotta be easier on the medical staff – quietly unconscious moms. I’ll bet they’d like that… but I like to hear that first cry so I stay awake.
I know there are people shaking their heads and thinking that if I tried it unmedicated or in a tub or hypnotized…well, I’d feel differently. If only I tried it their magical way I’d see the beauty of childbirth. Well, ladies, I have…everything but the hypnotized. Drugs, no drugs, every way you can imagine it. I’ve had a lot of babies. Enough to know that it hurts no matter how you do it and that it’s not my favorite thing ever. It’s usually painful, often gross, and even sometimes boring. It can be fascinating in the abstract, like in text books, but I’m not so sure about in real life. Babies I like, but the childbirth not so much. The childbirth stories – never.
So can I just stop talking about it please? Can I stop hearing about it? You’re probably a really interesting person who has done stuff that I’d love to hear about. Stuff that doesn’t include pushing a human being out of your body. Can we talk about that? Please?
No more mucus plugs or viscous-y discharge. (I don’t even really know what viscous means, but it just sounds gross. It’s like the word “moist”. Say it. Doesn’t it just feel nasty in your mouth? Moist. Ick.) No more episiotomies or hemorroids. No more birthing chairs or squatting bars. I’m serious here. I don’t want to know. I really don’t. So please stop telling me. Please see the look of horrified discomfort on my face and switch to something less controversial like religion, politics, money, college football teams (Go Sooners!) anything….. I’m begging you here. Unless I know you well and love you like a sister, please don’t tell me what happened down below. Even if I do know you and love you like a sister, I probably don’t want to know even then….
There are some things which you can never un-know about a person, mental images you can never un-visualize, and child birth is one of them. There are certain things that you can never get out of your mind. Truly. I really don’t want to be thinking about your crotch while looking at your face, so do us both a favor and don’t tell me. I love you, but I really don’t want to know.