I can pretty much hear many of your biological clocks ticking from here, and while I think parenthood is a valid choice to make if that’s your path and you’re not doing it to get on Teen Mom, I feel like you need to be warned about what exactly you’re getting your ass into.
There are so many completely perfect things about having a baby. It’s empowering. It hard and then you do it and then for the rest of your life, you rarely doubt your ability to do anything. If that’s not the best possible takeaway from an experience, I don’t know what is. I seriously take issue, however, with the bullshit idea that pregnancy and birth are these lovely, mystical, dreamy things. Having a baby is not 9 months of sitting on a tuffet, eating ice cream, and becoming a glowing embodiment of Life, followed by a few hours of sweaty grunting before easing immediately into a blissed out love-zone with your new baby. That is not how it goes.
The reality is so unglamorous, it hurts. It’s gross. You are gross. Your baby comes out gross. Your whole body pauses everything it was previously doing, thinks of the grossest possible shit it could do, and unleashes it all over your unsuspecting life. Eventually everything settles and goes back to normal (an entirely new kind of normal, but still, normalesque life does return at some point), but for a solid year or so, you’re likely to have your entire sense of reality – about your body, your preconceived ideas about pregnancy, birth, and parenthood, and basically everything else in life – turned all the way on its ass.
And while that’s happening, a series of less life-altering, but way more vomit-inducing things will come your way. Here are a few you can look forward to:
- In the days and weeks after you give birth, you might do what your doctor or midwife will call “pass some small blood clots” which is just your uterus shaking out the leftover bullshit that’s still in there from when it was housing a human. What they don’t tell you is that “small” can mean the size of a fucking egg, and you will think you are dying or giving birth to some undetected, underdeveloped twin who didn’t get the eviction notice. It’s horrifying. A blood egg.
- Mucus plug. It would be gross even if I just wrote those words and didn’t explain it but I’m going to because we’re already doing this so fuck it. So you probably know about the “water” which likes to “break” quite dramatically in movies with a splashing sound as it cascades to the ground (even if the woman is wearing pants? Whatever.) That’s the fluid in your uterus that the baby is floating around in. The mucus plug is exactly what it sounds like, basically a giant vagina booger, that is clogging up your cervix to keep the “water” from spilling out and leaving your uncooked baby high and dry. So when you go into labor, not only does your water break at some point, but you lose your mucus plug. This can happen for hours or even days before you actually pop the kid out, meaning you can feasible be living your life for days with snot coming out of your vagina.
- Poop. Everyone talks about how you’re likely to make number two in front of god and everyone while pushing out your babyfriend, but let me be very clear: you will give less than zero fucks about that. The nice (and strange and scary) thing about being in labor is that your brain shifts; parts of your brain that are normally engaged go to sleep, and other, more primal parts of your brain light up like never before. You aren’t thinking like your typical self, which is good because your typical self would likely be panicking about what was happening to your vagina, be really intimidated by the logistics of getting a small person out of your body through a relatively tiny hole, and mortified at the notion of shitting in front of other people. Your birth brain is channeling all the big, cosmic, ancient, built-in survival instincts that we don’t access in our everyday lives; in that moment, everything about your existence is focused on one single, powerful task. If the weak ass mortals in the room want to bug out because they see you poop, let them wallow in their embarrassingly basic discomfort about it. You’re a little busy being a conduit for all that is powerful and holy in the universe, NBD.
- I digress; poop: shitting during birth is not the problem. The harsh task is pooping after you’re done getting un-pregnant. I’m having a hard time even writing about this. It’s…this is my Vietnam, you guys. It was scary and brutal and traumatic and it’s really hard for me to talk about and there’s no possible way you can relate unless you were there. Let me try to describe: after pushing out a baby, your ladyspace is swollen and sore. It bounces back and you’ll feel mostly cool again in a few days, but right after, it hurts like a motherfucker. And it’s possible you have stitches down there, which is not a thing anyone should have to deal with. So at some point, you’re going to need to poop, which is strange enough because all of your internal organs are hastily migrating back to their proper places after being shoved together in a corner for 9+ months. And when poop o’clock is upon you, it’s going to feel like your going to rip yourself open all over again. And honestly, you might. You might bust a stitch. You might bleed. You might have to get restitched. Maybe not, but regardless, it’s not going to feel awesome, and it’s going to be possibly the most tenuous moment of your life. Pro tip: take a lady pad and hold it against you vaj while you poop. It’ll make you feel less like you’re going to explode your sex parts in half. (I warned you guys this was going to be painfully real. Use condoms.)
- Hemorrhoids. You’ve probably heard an old person talk about these, or seen commercials for products that treat them but only vaguely allude to what they are, which alone should tell you they’re not even remotely cute. Luckily, I didn’t personally have to deal with this particular hell, but a great many pregnant ladies do, so let’s discuss: they’re veins in, on, or near your asshole that get inflamed, swollen, and apparently hurt in a way that cannot be imagined. Something about the way your blood flow and pressure changes during pregnancy, plus all the added pressure on your pelvic nabe can cause these to occur frequently in knocked up persons.
- Your placenta. Throughout your pregnancy, you know there’s some weird new organ hanging out next to your baby, feeding it through a tube, and that’s fine in theory. It’s cool, it keeps your baby alive, so like, yay placenta. What you might not have considered is that not only are you giving birth to a child when the big day arrives, but you’re also going to have to get the placenta out. The person delivering your baby, as soon as that guy is out of there, will suddenly be quite preoccupied with not only making sure the placenta comes out, but that all of it comes out. Because it can pull apart (of course. What a dick), and if bits of it stick around in your uterus, you can get really sick and it can turn into a real shit show. So to make sure the whole placenta GTFO, they push on your stomach hard. You just finished doing what you assumed was the hard part and suddenly you have someone basically punching you in the stomach and trying to pull out something else, which I should add, is almost the size of a baby itself.
- The good news: Once the placenta is out, you can eat it and it’ll give you super powers. I’m not joking. This is not just some weird hippie shit that weirdos do. January Jones did it and she’s arguably the least weird person on earth. I did it. You should do it. I’m all for respecting people’s right to make their own choices and do what they want with their bodies, babies, and births, but this is one thing I stand behind so fucking fully. Eat that shit. Really hardcore people will have it blended raw into a smoothie and just down it, but I’m admittedly a bit of a pussy, and I wanted to draw out the many benefits as long as possible, so I had my placenta dried, ground up in to pills, and popped those things for months. It helps replenish your body of lost nutrients, balances your hormones (which will be spinning out of fucking control in the days/weeks/months after giving birth), helps mitigate post-partum depression, and can help you boobs produce valuable titty leche. OMG shut up and just eat your placenta already.