First and Second Time Mums

You can always tell a first time pregnancy when they're ordering from a menu ("Is this panna cotta pasteurized?") or anxiously scouring a suspect label ("I think this one is just a mg too high for me just now"). One other telltale is their concerns over labour. I have heard innumerable times that women don't fear the pain of labour, or even the labour itself, but the possibility of defecating in front of their husbands, doula, the doctors, nurses and whomever else they invite to the room (a long list of spectators is also suspect and usually evidences a first time mums, with second time mums, having experienced hours of pain, sweat and blood around them, thinking it more pertinent to have the limelight at that time shine on somebody else). Hahahahahaha yes I have to laugh (and in a fairly maniacal manner so that you may be wondering whether you should call child services and save my son from me). I know this, because that was my first time experience (bar the spectators - I had one of my best friends come as a doula and then sent her off very quickly when I realized my uterus had decided to take me down with it). Let me tell this to you very plainly, if indelicately (but then labour is not a delicate matter) - you won't give a shit if you shit during labour. In fact, I wager that you would make a Faustian pact, that may include some public defecation just to have the baby out (albeit, some women have experienced a wonderful birth experience as evinced by the literature on the topic - I have not set eyes on one myself yet - but I suppose they are too absorbed in their orgasmic experience to care nor notice any defecation either).

Yesterday, I was asked a question by a first time mom during my aquatic exercise class (I love this class!) how much it would hurt. Granted I missed the first part of the sentence as we splashed about through our exercises, but confident in assuming she could only mean labour or breastfeeding I assured her that yes, it hurt, but it's for the best reason. She asked how long the whole process took, her voice increasingly agitated and I now assumed that she must be talking about labour (as the only second time mum in the class, I have become a somewhat de facto expert, which may not be the best situation and as a good attorney I must interpose a good medical disclaimer in future intercourse on the subject). I explained that the first time takes the longest, according to my friends who have had another child but that it differs from person to person. Mine took about 13 hours I explained. Her face became increasingly contorted but I had to assume that a no small portion was due to the intensity of the exercise. How much? How much did it hurt? she asked. I should have been more diplomatic, but I decided to answer truthfully. It was worse than any other pain I ever had at which point her eyes appeared to bulge out and she croaked out "worse than labour?" Wherein I quickly found out that this first time mom had been worried about her bellybutton popping out and whether the popping would take a long time and how much it would hurt. I quickly assured her that she wouldn't feel a thing, stopping myself just in time before I stated that she had other pain to worry about and then feeling somewhat pleased with myself that at least I had stopped myself being an even greater fool. This somewhat allayed her fears until she asked me, "wait, how much did you say labour hurt?"

It's not called labour for nothing....

Later on when a group of 39 weekers were talking about their babies dropping and a girl told me her daughter had been dropping steadily each day, I exclaimed with a huge smile that her baby was coming any minute, only to find out that she was only 20 weeks (albeit I knew something was very wrong from the intense horror that erupted on her face as the instructor happily cheered "ten more, OK, 10, 9, 8, 7"- and I wanted to escape).

I have got to stop talking to people when my ears are full of water or I may just bring some poor soul into such shock that our exercise class will turn into a group birthing session - oh well, at least we'd be in a pool.


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