pregnancy

"I’ve been ripped a new one." Imagine if we announced births exactly how they really were.

Before I was a mother, birth announcements would pop up all over my Facebook feed, or via text messages (if you’re as old as me.)

All of them would say the standard, "Baby Billy Bob is here, weighing six pounds, born at 2am. Mother and baby doing well". It was written by a mysterious third party, because the announcement itself gives a vision of a mother sitting blissfully with her newborn, in a nice comfy hospital room, surrounded by rose petals and a halo floating on top of her head, while she glows. 

Which we know now, mamas, nothing could be further from the truth. 

Most of the time, we are howling in labour for 16 hours plus, the 4.5 f*cking kilo baby is struggling to get out of you, you might not end up being able to dilate, your baby’s head is sitting in your tiny uterus hole, only for you to be then told you have to have a cesarean — so not only is your vagina being stretched out and head-butted, but you were then peeled like a can opener.

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Then, there are months of recovery to come with a tiny, helpless, angry baby who doesn’t like to sleep, while you try to navigate healing and sleep deprivation. 

I know, I know, you’re cringing... but there is the truth and the truth, and it made me wonder why we pretend that the act of birth is nothing BUT beautiful, and we are ALL doing so WELL. 

I mean, don’t get me wrong, birth is beautiful. Gosh, I’d do it again and again. Meeting the love of your life? That you created? There's NOTHING better... but I’d take away the fourth degree tear and the episiotomy. I’d take away sh*tting the bed, and pleading for an epidural. Watching your partner freak out, and seeing an aggressive midwife waving forceps in front of your head in a menacing way, to get you to push harder. 

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I’d take away dying on the table, with your third child being born via an unplanned cesarean. I’d take it away mostly because I was unprepared for it, because I was shocked, and because I genuinely thought that birth was going to have me sitting in a comfy bed, surrounded by rose petals, with a halo on my head. 

I didn’t expect to be sobbing on my bed, broken, bloody and bruised trying to process the experience I just had. So why do we start the pretence from birth?

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We set up a stage immediately from birth. It’s a performance — the curtain opens, and we perform. "The birth was great, mum and baby are doing SO well." We do the splits and dance like monkeys for our audience, and the pressure to perform continues — we have to act like we are okay, that we didn’t suffer from birth trauma, that we aren’t recovering. That those first few months are breezy, that we aren’t rocking ourselves in the corner crying. 

Why can’t we say it like it is? Like it exactly is, FOR US. 

Why can’t we say it’s hard. It was messy, but we are here, and we made it! Imagine if we announced births exactly how they really were, instead of the standard, "Baby is eight pounds, mother and baby are doing well. We are so in love."

What if we said, "Baby was way fatter than we expected, so I’ve been ripped a new one. Mother feels like she’s been punched by Mike Tyson and baby is crying because she can’t latch due to a tongue tie. In love but also snorting birth control so this can never happen again." I, for one, would be happy, because it not only leaves us laughing, but it also lets the future mamas know what they’re in for. 

A mama saved is a better world for everyone involved, don’t you think?

Feature Image: Supplied.

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