One of the things that prompted me to start a blog was seeing the newly-launched blog of a friend. You could say I was inspired; I looked at it and thought hey, I could do that! Less charitably, you could say I was piqued; I looked and it and thought, hang on a minute! Why’s she doing that instead of me? To put it bluntly, it just didn’t seem right.
The thing is, my friend’s a journalist and her blog is all shiny and professional, 100% free from swearing and full of detailed recommendations (in short, not at all like this one). BUT (and this is a big but, hence the capitals) hers is a personal blog devoted to giving advice to mums, yet HER FIRST BABY ISN’T EVEN DUE FOR SEVERAL MONTHS!
Ahem. Now, look, I’m all for not patronizing expectant mums. By the same token, however, I don’t want someone who’s never struggled with a baby sling on a daily basis telling me which one’s the best for day trips to Outer Mongolia (not that this blog’s going to tell you which sling is best, either. But you get my drift). Clearly, there are certain things you can learn at journalism school, and certain things you have to learn from life. And the art of cramming a screaming infant into a floppy strip of canvas and managing to look like an earth mother rather than a total twat… well, it’s a life skill, girls. And one that I, despite already having children, have not yet acquired. Hence I’ll leave it to someone else to write the sling blog, ideally someone who’s actually used a sling with a real live baby AND is good at it. In the meantime, I’ll stick to what I know and what I’m genuinely good at. And in the spirit of this, I thought I’d share with you the one area of motherhood where I know that I excel, and about which I am therefore qualified to advise the masses:
I AM BLOODY ACE AT GIVING BIRTH.
This is absolutely true. When it comes to expelling small people from my cunt, I totally rule.
My first child was born completely healthy within 90 minutes of me arriving at the hospital. I just had gas and air and nothing at all got ripped or torn. My second was even quicker, arriving 20 minutes after my waters broke, with no pain relief at all. See? How fucking ace is that? None of this being “too posh to push” or twatting about with epidurals. I just get on with it, me.
I bet you want to know my secret. Well, I’ll share it with you now:
IT’S ALL DOWN TO LUCK.
That’s right: LUCK. It could’ve been you, but it wasn’t, it was me. That’s just how it goes.
I am not particularly fit and healthy; I was shit at PE and never got a single BAGA award (not sure how this relates to labour, but I think it should). I didn’t go to NCT classes. I didn’t even visit the labour ward at the hospital where my first child was born (I’d only moved to the town ten days earlier so hadn’t even met my midwife). I didn’t do any of the things you’re supposed to do. And yet for me it worked out fine, and for billions of women it doesn’t.*
I am sick of witnessing all the false morality that surrounds tales of childbirth (but probably not as sick as those who have suffered far more than me). There’s always this suggestion that women who have “successful” pregnancies and “successful” births have somehow earned it, in ways which those who “fail” (and, say, nearly die in the process) haven’t. It’s bollocks. I thought it was bollocks when I lost my first pregnancy, and I still think it’s bollocks now, despite my subsequent “success” and rehabilitation as a “proper” mother.
So in short, I had two easy labours.**. But I am not about to advise you on how to achieve this. All I can say is, ideally, be lucky. But if you’re not, don’t let anyone tell you you’ve failed.
* I am not suggesting you shouldn’t go to NCT classes and or that you shouldn’t be better informed than I was, as I’m sure that must help. But when it comes to how you’ll be assessed on “labour performance”, people don’t have any right to judge you. Not when fuckwits like me get off so lightly.
** NB Only I am allowed to use the adjective “easy” in relation to me giving birth. My partner did so once and let’s just say he knows not to ever again.
POSTSCRIPT: Having written all this, it now crosses my mind that being a total slag in my youth may have been what prepared my body for such straightforward deliveries. They never recommend that in the books. But perhaps they should.