When I first mentioned that I wanted a drug, scalpel and needle free home birth to Mr. JudgyBitch, he was completely horrified. He had imagined himself pacing the hospital corridor, or maybe at the head of the stretcher, swathed in a surgical blue gown, encouraging me to breathe or at least not scream so loud. His entire concept of birth was medicalized and filled with the threat of disaster and death. Having grown up on a farm, I had a somewhat different understanding of birth, and how beautiful it could be, and I was determined to take my place amongst the roster of women who just shut the fuck up and got on with it.
Mr. JudgyBitch took a lot of convincing. The fact that we were literally six minutes away from the best hospital in the region finally swayed him, but he attended every midwife appointment with me, took copious notes and asked impossibly precise questions. When the time finally came, he was actually pleased to have a series of important activities that required his calm, assertive action. Fill the birth tub, warm the towels, prepare the bowl of ice chips, put up the temperature, have the phone on hand, plug in the kettle to keep the tub warm. His presence was not only lovely, but required. I think he loved feeling so useful.
It was not easy. The pain was extraordinary. Long contractions that punched the air out of my lungs, and Mr.JB was noticeably distraught at seeing me in such agony. But it was not unbearable. It was manageable, mostly because I entered the process of labor and birth knowing that I AM NOT THE FIRST FUCKING WOMAN WHO HAS EVER GIVEN BIRTH. I approached birth knowing myself to be in a millennium long line of women who have sucked it up and got it done. Sure, some women died giving birth, and make no mistake, I was and am profoundly grateful to be living in a time where it is exceptionally unlikely that I will die giving birth, but I also knew that most women can do this, and I am NOT THAT FUCKING SPECIAL.
I don’t think I will ever forget the sound of Mr.JB greeting his little daughter for the first time. He said “Oh hello. Hello my precious little darling,” and I die now, just remembering. Mr. JB cut the umbilical cord once it had stopped pulsing and we were all in tears, except for the baby. She seemed surprised, but not THAT surprised. She studied us carefully with her ocean blue eyes. Our excellent and wonderful friend, SuzyQ was with us, and she took PinkyPinkyPie and wrapped her in warm towels and danced Pinky’s first dance while Mr.JB helped me out of the tub, which was a little murky, but contained not a speck of blood.
From start to finish, Pinky took 12 hours to arrive and it was the most strenuous, exhausting 12 hours I had ever experienced, but ladies and gentlemen, I was on my feet, feeling more or less perfect TWENTY MINUTES LATER. Why? Because I was a fit young woman and my body was designed to do just what I had done. Give birth to a beautiful, healthy, robust, happy little girl.
Our next two children were also delivered at home by me, assisted by Mr. JB and a team of midwives and while they were different, they were also the same. I took a deep breath, wrapped my brain around the fact that birth hurts and just went ahead and did it. I firmly believe that babies are best served when birth is natural and does not involve any artificial hormones or narcotics injected into mommy’s spinal fluid. I knew it would hurt. It DID hurt, but I put my children’s well-being above that.
And that right there is the whole fucking point. Women who go into labor concerned primarily about THEIR OWN PAIN are in no mental position to make the sacrifices motherhood requires. As long as they are putting themselves at the center of their birth narrative, they are primed to SUCK ASS as mothers. It isn’t about you. Birth is the first lesson of motherhood: THIS AIN’T ABOUT YOU ANYMORE, BITCH. Yes, it will hurt. Yes, you will need to find the mental stamina to get through it. Yes, you will face a wall of pain so enormous you will want to give in, give up, throw up. But you get through it. You put the needs of your baby first and you get through it.
This does NOT mean you never have any medical interventions. Bullshit. Don’t even try to spin it as that. When your baby’s heart rate plummets, you take action. If you need a section, THEN YOU BLOODY WELL HAVE ONE. That’s all part of putting the baby first. His safety is what you will live for from this moment forth. Her life is your life. There are no compromises.
What I’m talking about are women who SCHEDULE their c-sections. Who scream for an epidural at the first hint of a contraction. Who put themselves at the center of the birth and expect everyone and everything to leap into action to prevent the slightest discomfort on their part. Too posh to push. Not like other women. Special, special snowflakes.
These are the women who see children as property. You wouldn’t let the vacuum cleaner shock you every time you turned it on (or ordered the housekeeper to). Why should your own child be any different? Why should your child be the source of any discomfort or inconvenience whatsoever? These are the women who are back in their cubicles or flying their desks as CEO of a global corporation within days of giving birth because the needs of their baby don’t matter one fucking little bit.
How lovely for Mayer’s new son. He likely knows where he ranks in his mother’s priorities already. Somewhere between Jack and Shit. Poor little guy. Hope he has a nanny that won’t stab him when Mommy demands the nanny pick up housework on the side.
Birth is the first test of a woman’s integrity. Do you understand the job and the responsibilities? You have just hired a new manager, and he will need to eat every two hours no matter what you feel like. If you aren’t prepared to make the sacrifices necessary (and really, they aren’t sacrifices at all, but a key route to happiness) then please, for the love of god, get a dog.
Although really, poor dog.
Lots of love,