By the time the physical effects of The Eldest’s birth had healed, 19 different professionals had “examined” me. This ranged from the midwife witnessing the birthing-in-the-wild “flowering” of my arsehole during labour, to the relative tameness of a quick flash of the fanjita to the Community Midwife who checked my stitches.
I had my cervix swept, stretched and measured, my vaginal wall sliced then stitched back together, and the operating strength of my sphincter muscles assessed. Despite this apparent invasion of my most private parts however, the end result of all of this fiddling is that my undercarriage is surprisingly intact. Unfortunately, while my sphincter may function at around 96% (I feel 100% would be too bold a claim now that child number two has shot out of my sexy bits) my filter is now non-existent.
If you cringed when reading the above paragraphs then I genuinely am sorry. It is just that since having children, my previously squeamish, almost prudish refusal to even acknowledge the most base of our bodily functions, has been trumped by an almost compulsive need to share ev-er-y-thing.
And I’m not sure that my defence of “I’m just being honest” quite cuts it. Perhaps there are times when people don’t need to hear “the truth”, times when it is over-rated?
Just last week I chose a friend’s baby shower to share some of my most “insightful” observations on the first poo you have after giving birth. It was a first baby and the mother-to-be expressed that she was sure it would be ok, and that nothing would “fall out”. Naturally I was the blabbermouth whose contribution to that conversation started with “But it can!”, swiftly backtracked into “But I’m sure it won’t”, and then headed down a dark dark path into a thicket from which there was no return.
My efforts to recover from saying that which should never be said to any woman about to squeeze a person out of her poonani, led me to tell a story that starts innocently enough with concern.
Worried that I seemed somewhat wan in the days following the BSCB’s birth, the “husband” suggested that I take a shot of Floridax. For the uninitiated this is liquid iron and tasted exactly as you imagine. I was hesitant at first as, unlike the first time around, I had not been sent home with any Fybrogel (a laxative drink – oh the delights of the post-assisted-birth medicinal haul). I was aware that iron without laxative equals poos with a tendency towards ballbearings but the “husband” was insistent and I thought that one shot couldn’t do any harm.
At some point the next day I headed to the toilet and, well, ball bearings have nothing.
After around 20 minutes of sweating and not shitting myself, the “husband” entered the bathroom to find out what I was doing. Well, to be as blunt as a pair of safety-scissors, I explained to him that I was stuck on the toilet with a poo wedged in my bum. Yes. Really. And don’t for a moment forget that I am telling this story at a baby shower. At Afternoon Tea. To a woman about to give birth.
The “husband” unironically responded “Oh shit” and then offered to have a look. He OFFERED, okay? Reluctantly, I agreed. Not even when the whole of a hospital has heard you screaming that it’s ok, it wasn’t the baby’s head you felt, and that you have in fact pooed in your pants, not even then, do you really want your previously-known-as-partner-in-crime-now-more-partner-in-slime inspecting your arsehole to see how close you are to squeezing out a large one. But needs must.
“Oh fuck! THAT is NEVER coming out!”
At this point I completely lost my shit (not that one unfortunately) and screamed at him that this was not helpful. What could he do to help? I just need help! Do SOMETHING to help!
So he “chipped” the poo out of my bum.
With what, I don’t actually know, and we have never spoken of this incident since. There were baby wipes involved and with some “chipping” (his fingernail?) and some pressing, the eight ball finally slid out.
I warned you I have #nofilter .
Back to the baby shower, people duly laughed, although no one volunteered a story of their own.
I wish I could say that this was an isolated event, but it’s not. The total obliteration of my inhibitions around bodily functions has fed what was already a healthy toilet/ disgusting sense of humour.
Pre-children, I once bonded with a friend-of-a-friend over a story that she told of a boy she knew who had a peculiar habit. When at house parties, he would go and find the worn knickers of the girl(s) who lived there. He would rub the gusset of the knickers in the manner of a Victorian washer-woman and then snap the fabric taut to “puff” the poonani powder into his face… well, while the faces of the rest of the audience recoiled in horror, the story-teller and I were laughing so hard we could barely breathe (the vodka might have helped and yes, we are still in touch). It’s safe to say therefore, that I’ve always had a somewhat uncouth sense of humour and childbearing has not planed out any of it’s rough edges.
I’m the person who explains her reluctance to trampoline as a fear that things might “fall out”. I openly attribute my failure to return to a Boxercise class to dripping, rather than skipping, my way through the warm-up. In my efforts to demonstrate solidarity with new mums who are still sore and uncomfortable, I willingly share my own experience that “it was like sitting on a golf ball” in front of their husbands. I have no idea how many people have discussed my disclosures in awkward whispers or raucous laughter once I have left, or if any of them “no longer look at me in the same way”. And to be honest I’m not sure I care.
There are many things in my life that I am excrutiatingly embarrassed about but the physical state of my body after the mother-plucking miracle that is growing and pushing out a person is not one of them.
I think there is importance in honesty, and while I do not want to scare anyone, at least if they are aware that the birth might not be “the worst bit”, then perhaps they will be better prepared for it than I was.
And that, I think, can be no bad thing.
What do you think? Am I right? Am I wrong (in a variety of possible ways)? Or am I just irresponsible? What is your biggest #nofilter moment?