This is not going to be a mum-slamming, guilt-tripping post! Please take everything I say with a grain of salt and a side of good humour 🙂
This topic has come up multiple times for me in the last 6 months or so. I’m not sure if it’s just me but I feel like absolutely EVERYONE is reproducing these days. To the point that I worry outsiders look at my friendship circle and conclude there’s some underground breeding program going on.
But I do love it, I would personally struggle if I was going through this crazy chapter on my own.
But bulk breastfeeding posse aside, we have noted and developed (mainly through error) the fine art that is telling your birth story.
- Choose your crowd – You should be ridiculously proud of yourself for surviving this epic battle, but please, for the sake of 15 year old register boys worldwide, not everyone needs to hear the tale.
- Beware the heavily pregnant – It happens so so often! As one mum describes every honest detail with vigour, the blood drains from the poor soul in the corner as she stares terrified down at her massive bump! I personally remember several times wondering how many ‘Hail Mary’s’ I needed to do to miraculously remove this baby from my belly….
- Don’t get sucked into ‘winning’ the best/worst birth story. Competitive mums hold your tongue!!!! You’ll get caught out one day when your story has grown from a 5 hour labour to a 35 hour marathon.
- Everyone’s story, pain, triumphs are relative to themselves. You cannot tell the mum who had a Ceasarean that she doesn’t have a ‘real’ birth story. It seems ridiculous but I hear it way too often. They are all different and they are ALL incredible.
- Queasy stomachs look away. It may surprise some people but the consistency of a Mucus Plug is not always a complimentary detail to your story….. even writing that term makes me cringe….
- Remember the ‘Compliment Sandwich’! Often used by my husband when I’ve left my clothes piled up on his side of the bed, the basic method is to ‘sandwich’ an ugly detail or reprimand with two compliments. 🙂 Surround your description of the 18 hours of pushing, 5 metres of tearing and 20 litres of blood loss with ‘I was so ready to get this baby out’ and ‘as soon as I looked into that teeny squished face, the pain literally faded away’….. little white lies can be the salvation of keeping the world reproducing
- Pick specific friends that get the whole nine yards. It is so important to identify particular people who are your confidants. You can tell them every detail, where you’re struggling, where you’re wonderfully proud of yourself and where the details are foggy from too much gas (though the crowd of student doctors huddled around me in the shower asking me ‘if it hurt’ is clear as day).
- If you’re dying to shout your story from the rooftops, become best friends with an online community. I’m one of ‘those people’ who read as many birth stories as I could. Join an online forum and include every detail, because if people don’t want to listen…. then they don’t 🙂 but please please please beware the ‘compulsive opinion-ator’. Never give a second glance or thought to a complete stranger that attacks your journey.
- If you don’t feel like sharing….. then don’t! For everyone it’s a personal thing and it is entirely your prerogative if you want to keep it to yourself. But don’t bottle up any fear or anxiety…. this is a natural and common after effect of child birth. Talk to your doctor, midwives, birth partners and close friends if you are worried about anything that happened.
- Don’t be offended if someone won’t listen. They will either have a great reason or a crap reason. Either way, shouldn’t bother you! Never look for someone else’s response to validate your experience. At the end of the day there will always be people like me, reading millions of stories online, just waiting for you to add your tale to the pile 🙂