“I knew it was going to be hard, but I didn’t know it was going to be that fucking hard.” Thoughts on giving birth.

I mean really this could all be summed up by the headline sentence. Labour. Giving birth. Pushing one out. I did know it was going to be hard. I knew it wasn’t going to be a little niggle. I just didn’t know how fucking hard it would be. And surely no one does, or you would never sign up for it? I mean sure, the present you get at the end of it is incredible (The child I mean. Though apparently men are meant to give women a ‘pushing present’. One friend of mine got a Tiffany ring. Another got an expensive leather jacket. I got jack shit. Actually I got told that the baby was my present, “but he was a present for both of us” I whined. Also I got a ‘tank driving experience’ as a Christmas present a week after giving birth. Apparently I had made a random comment while watching a TV programme with tanks on it – no I don’t remember which show – that it looked like fun. Cue boyfriend googling ‘tank driving uk’ et voila. While I sat on the sofa with the worst ring sting you can imagine I was presented with the gift of tank driving. He is a funny one. I bloody loved it though). 

Again I digress. What was I on about? (Question I ask myself at least ten times a day). Oh yes, giving birth. Two weeks after having my son I sat at a clinic waiting to have him weighed. A young mum-to-be sat opposite me, with who I’m assuming was her own mother. She was ready to pop and in for a sweep (so glad mine arrived a week early and I didn’t need to endure this grimness – a cervical sweep, if you don’t already know, is some midwife shoving a finger up your fanny and trying to dislodge the amniotic sac from the lining of the womb, to try and gee baby up into arriving. Grotty). After generally cooing over my teeny tiny newborn she asked “So, did it hurt then?” My face must have said it all, as I just stared cold hard daggers into her eyes. “Yep” I replied. “But did it hurt as much as they say it would?” She probed. Seriously. Without missing a beat I said “It was worse. Much worse.” No smile, no “you’ll be fine”. Nothing. I could tell that her mum was sitting there inwardly pleading with me not to scare the poor girl, but I just could not bring myself to lie. Bollocks to it. The world needs to know just how fucking painful childbirth is. Everyone should know what I HAVE ENDURED, I thought. And everyone did. Anyone that cared to listen got the full, tell-all, gory details of my birth story. 

I wasn’t trying to scare anyone and I wasn’t trying to one-up anyone else’s birth story. I just needed to share. Because what I hadn’t prepared for was reliving the most traumatic and yet amazing thing I had ever experienced night after night when I closed my eyes for the first three months of my son’s life. I didn’t realise that for the first few weeks I would be able to think of nothing but that 66 hour (I know) labour every time I had a moment to myself. These moments were few and far between you understand. The constant breastfeeding, nappy changing and generally worrying that the baby was going to break took up 95% of the day. The other 5% I spent reliving the birth. And I wasn’t alone in this. Speaking to friends who had similarly traumatic births I found out that they had done the same thing by and large. Even those who had medically straightforward births were still somewhat traumatised by the whole debacle. Some spoke to midwives about it. I chose not to at the time, though I think it probably would have been valuable to talk it through with a trained professional. Still hoping the trauma won’t come back to bite me on the arse second time around if I’m lucky enough to conceive again in the future!

Anyway point being the story got told. A lot. In detail. Again and again. As did the fact that I didn’t heal properly afterwards and required surgery (probably another post on this at some point). Again grim. But I don’t care. I like to share. And I like hearing other women’s birth stories. Some think it’s a bit competitive, well my birth was x hours long, well I had forceps/emergency C/ventuose/the full cast of Holly City/inspector fucking gadget to deliver my baby. Not me. I don’t think women are competing; they are simply sharing an experience that only a mother can understand. And I say this with the greatest respect to pregnant women and women hoping to have children in the future. You think you know. You’re prepared. You’ve done NCT/hypnobirthing/watched one born every minute/written a birth plan/got every fecking homeopathic pain relief going. You’re not an idiot. People do this every day. They wouldn’t have another one if it was that bad. You know what you’ve let yourself in for. Except you don’t mate. You haven’t got a fucking clue. Sorry. And good luck.

In hindsight, I probably shouldn’t have been that harsh to the young girl at the clinic. I should have smiled and said you’ll be fine. Because she was. I saw her in town a few weeks later with her baby and she smiled and said hello. And just gave me a look that said “I get it now. I know exactly what you fucking mean”. And that’s how it is really. Once you know, you know and you’re in the club. You feel super human. You think “shittinghell I can’t believe I just did that”. And then six months later you see someone else’s teeny tiny and think “Awww I can’t even remember when mine was that small!” And you want to do it all over again. Women are fucking nuts. 

P.S. If you haven’t had a baby yet, take the fucking drugs. Spoiler alert: Noone gives you a medal for not taking them. Next time I will be having everything going. I spanked the gas and air so hard when I was getting stitched up that I started wittering on about Saturday Kitchen and ‘umph umph umphing’ along like a fucking teenager at a drum and bass rave. The baby was out by then though, so I was just enjoying myself.  Next time I want something stronger… so maybe it is true what they say about drugs after all.

Bridie By The Sea
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“So… when’s the wedding?” Err… mind your own fucking business.

Before I go full throttle on this post please be under no illusions that I am in any way anti-marriage. My parents have been married (happily) for 35+ years and that is a wonderful thing. I am not belittling marriage or the massive commitment that it clearly is. That said, it is not the be all and end all that some archaic nob jockeys believe it to be.

“So… when’s the wedding?” is the one friggin question that kept plaguing me like a bad smell while I was pregnant. It would seemingly disappear only to then hit you in the schnoz again when you were least expecting it. In fact the stale as hell fart has continued lingering well into the first year of my son’s life. Perhaps not that surprising to hear remarks like this from older family members you would think. True. But many unmarried and happily cohabiting friends have also asked the question. And it’s not the idea of being asked about marriage that troubles me. It’s the fact that I am being asked BECAUSE I have a baby. Like it is some sort of parental initiation. You can’t possibly raise a child without a ring on it. 

The child will be a “bastard” (father-in-law literally said this to me “in jest” while drunk when I was 8 months pregnant… W.T.F.) “You’re having a baby together now, you need to make a commitment” was another comment from the same conversation over curry. The baby is the fucking commitment, along with the joint mortgage. I’d say that’s commitment enough for anyone but oh no I need a fecking piece of paper to tell me how much I love and need my fella as well do I? No. I don’t. It’s easier to get out of a marriage than a mortgage. And it’s definitely easier to get out of a marriage than out of being a parent. Still awaiting an apology for that little outburst. I’m sure he might read this but he’s big enough and ugly enough to accept that he was being a twat that night. I love him most of the time, so it’s fine.

“You won’t have the same legal rights if you’re not married”… err the man won’t anyway, even if you are married, until his name is on the birth certificate (this is because the authorities don’t trust that you haven’t been slagging around on your hubs and got up the duff by the milkman). As far as finances go, we’ve made a will together… (and yes this makes me feel old as hell at a tender 31 years). Next. 

An ex-colleague, when I told her I was pregnant, responded “I didn’t even know you were married… are you?” HA HA HA. No I’m bloody not. But you’ve shown your hand now so I’m going to make this as awkward as fuck for you, so that you never make such a thoughtless and frankly ridiculous comment to anyone ever again! Another friend when I shared the joyous news asked “how did that happen?” I mean come on love, we’re all adults here, you know exactly how this works, you’ve known since Year 5 Primary school when they show that cartoon of a naked man chasing a naked lady with a feather (WTF… that was meant to depict foreplay btw, I did not get that until I taught sex ed myself). What she meant was “how come you got pregnant before you got married?” I did not dignify this with an answer but simply responded with “well we had sex”. Conversation stopper.

Also the number of people that thought it was OK to ask if the baby was planned was absolutely baffling. The majority of people we told, that was their first question. Some even asked this before congratulating us. I mean… really?! Like “oh shit if it’s unplanned I can’t congratulate them, better just check…” Would you ever ask a married couple that? No. Because you assume the sole reason for two people to wed is in order to begin procreating. In future: if you wouldn’t ask a married person, don’t fucking ask me. Assume all social niceties that stand for husbands and wives, also stand for cohabiters, singletons, people in open relationships, people in love with their cars/dolls/stamp collection and so on and so forth. A personal and damn rude question is just that. It is no more acceptable because I am unmarried. So keep your curiosity in check.

Most people that ask the question “so, when’s the wedding?” do so in a well-meaning, just making conversation, kind of way. It just narks me that the assumption is that there will be one. I mean, we probably will get married at some point, even if only for tax purposes, but we don’t need to be married to jointly and effectively parent our child/children. Plenty of unmarried and indeed single parents raise amazing children every day. As for other unmarried, thus far childless couples, I usually just ask when their wedding is and they soon get the hint and shut the fuck up. Not so nice when the tables are turned and a magnifying glass is put on your level of “commitment” eh.

All told I suppose I probably would quite like to marry my fella. He’s a pretty good catch. But we’ll do so as and when we are ready (and assuming he wants to marry me, hell I’m a bit of a bitch at times as you can probably tell, so my chances could be getting slimmer by the day). Still I doubt it would change much, especially as I have no intention of changing my name DUN DUN DUN. I know. Feminazi cow right? But it would be a bloody good party.

Bridie By The Sea

 

Why the fuck not?

I am currently sitting on my sofa, nap trapped by my six month old while it shits it down with rain outside. I’ve been playing my crossword app for an hour and my brain is numb beyond belief, so I thought maybe I should start a blog… why the fuck not? Every other mother has one so why not me? Bollocks to it. I’m going to do it.

Bollocks to it, is in fact something I have said a fair few times in the last six months, probably more than I care to count. I thought I swore a lot before, but my other half has in fact informed me that I’ve turned into Gordon Ramsay (including the forehead that looks like a testicle from the many deep wrinkles I have developed since becoming a mum). Still. Swearing has a psychological function I tell him. It’s all about self regulation I tell him. You go silent and bottle things up pretending nothing is wrong, until one day you come home from work to find an overflowing bin, full dishwasher and me playing on my phone while the baby sleeps in my arms for the millionth time, at which point you grab the nearest tool or heavy book and pummel me to oblivion with it. I on the other hand, swear. That’s how it is. Deal with it. If our son’s first word is bollocks or fuck I would be extremely surprised and in fact impressed that he should be so clever as to form these complex sounds before the more likely culprits of dada, baba and mama, which are all much easier for his teeny vocal capabilities to manage. “Genius!” I would exclaim, while marching him along to MENSA to get tested and simultaneously attempting to get him to repeat the profanity while I take a hilarious video for You’ve Been Framed on my phone.

I digress. I have read many a mum blog since beginning this intense, exhausting and quite frankly terrifying journey of parenthood. I’ve found them thoroughly entertaining during the night feeds that occurred every 1.5 hours until a few weeks ago (yes my son is a terrible sleeper, more on that some other time, I’m too knackered now). Many are hilarious, real and personal accounts of motherhood and without them I definitely would have felt not only more alone but like a shitty, terrible mother, thinking I’m the only one calling her beloved offspring a dick when they won’t just fucking drop off to sleep at 3am. So cheers to all the mum bloggers. Mind if I join you for the journey? “Why the fuck not?” is the response I hope I’d get if anyone other than me ever reads this ranting drivel. Disclaimer: most of what I write is highly likely to be utter bollocks that may or may not be offensive to others.