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Beauty & The Bump: Block Out the Noise
Parenting Parenting
Beauty & The Bump: Block Out the Noise
October 30, 2017
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Parenting Parenting
Beauty & The Bump: Block Out the Noise
October 30, 2017
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At a recent dinner with some girlfriends, there was one amongst us who was pregnant. After catching up about various new jobs, new houses, post-summer holiday updates etc., she broached the question: “how were your births?”. And so turned the focus of conversation for the remainder of the night (well, that, and what kit to buy for the new arrival). Because the minute that question was asked to a group of women of child-bearing age, most of whom have one, two or even three kids, it was a veritable can of worms.

I found myself squirming for my poor friend, three weeks away from delivery, being hounded with our friends’ scare stories.

Adjectives included “horrendous”, “terrifying”, “awful” and “hideous”.
 But it wasn’t just her problem – it was mine too. Because, you see, I am that annoying person who loved my birth. I had a great labour. And for some bewildering reason, in a pack of women who all had terrible experiences, I didn’t feel I could vocalise it. Don’t get me wrong: it was the hardest thing I have ever done, but with every passing contraction that came and went, I felt empowered, ready for more. I wanted to say to her that the words that described my labour were: “amazing”, “incredible”, “phenomenal” and “life-changing”. But I felt I couldn’t for fear of being shamed by those who hasn’t had the same experience.

Of course, I absolutely understand and appreciate that childbirth can be difficult – even extreme. Indeed, some of the women at this table could vouch for that: 3 days of contractions only to end in emergency C-sections; placenta problems; forceps; stitches; the works. But is there not an argument that the sanctity of bringing life into the world doesn’t deserve such a bad rep? That is to say, regardless of the experience, the arrival of a healthy baby (which all our friends at the table were lucky enough to have), far outweighs the need for scaremongering? I know what you’re going to say, that it’s better to be informed and prepared for all eventualities, and, yes, I totally see that. But to my mind each birth is so individual, as are the babies that come henceforth, and so if there is going to be a ‘scary’ story, could it not be counterbalanced with some positivity? Sat in front of a new mama-to-be, I wanted to protect and shield her from this all the negative noise so that she could go into her birth with a clear hear and positive frame of mind.

I seized my moment when the conversation turned and I said to her: “it will be alright, you can do it”.
I gave her recommendations of the three things that saved me (again, they might not work for some, but they worked wonders for me): a TENS machine, hypnobirthing lessons and reading ‘A Guide to Childbirth’ by Ina May Gaskin. If our quick 5 minutes would have given her just a little lift of positivity, then I will have done my part.

But that’s enough now. Rant over. Can we all go back to being a sisterhood of women, spurring each other on and creating a positive language and discourse around birth please? Ok, thanks.

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