As anyone who’s ever given birth knows, the question you’ll get asked most from the moment you eject the first child from your insides until the day you’re lowered into your coffin is: “So, will you go again?” As in, cook up another human and birth it.
This happens regardless of how many you already have, how hard it was to have them, whether or not you’ve expressed a desire for any more, and despite the fact you have only slept for four hours in two years.
Since I’m currently expecting our second child, and two is plenty for us, my standard answer to this perennial question these days is, “Nope, next stop Vasectomy Town”. I then generally have to assure the asker that this is not a joke, whereupon they get a little misty-eyed and say something along the lines of “Isn’t he great!” As in, isn’t he great, the owner of those brave bollocks, the mighty Spreader of Seed.
A convo with a mum at playgroup the other day ended in the same way, an admiring, “What a great guy! My husband won’t even consider it”. I was eight months pregnant, exhausted, in pain, and feeling old, ugly and spent. And all of a sudden I also felt really fed up.
Sarah and her partner. (Supplied)
Before I go on, let me just establish that the bollocks owner, in my case, is a great guy. In fact, he’s the best person in the world, and I wouldn’t have thought it was possible to love anyone any more except that somehow every day I do. However.
In this case, he is not the hero. I am the goddamn hero. I AM THE GREAT GUY.
The tough things I have done and will do in order for us to be a happy family include: took daily hormones for roughly fourteen years (the Pill); had an operation to correct a slightly wonky uterus; had a miscarriage; contracted pregnancy related cancer and went through three months of chemotherapy; became pregnant twice more, which has involved, in total, several months of severe nausea, the destruction of my figure, and pelvic instability necessitating the use of crutches; gave birth once which involved third degree tears and the obvious and permanent rearrangement (I won’t say destruction, because it still seems to work) of my vagina; will give birth a second time (who knows what jolly souvenirs I will come away with from that experience); and will have breastfed for two years of my life.
I could fill a large-ish room with the number of strangers who have peered up, probed, and discussed my lady bits. I have visible scars all over my body, and breasts that are heading south at a rate of knots. And that’s just the physical stuff, that’s not even counting finances and careers and not being able to drink as much wine as I’d like for years on end.