Before I became a mum, if a friend of mine started telling me her labour story, I’d look for the nearest door. Not because of the gore, but because it didn’t interest me in the slightest. They may as well have been telling me about their review of reading War and Peace in ancient Samarian.
‘Oh yes, is that right… fascinating.’ Cue yawn and looking at my watch.
Of course, the second I became pregnant, all of those labour stories soon became a terrifyingly real prospect… I was going to have to get this watermelon sized baby out of my body somehow and until they invented some kind of sci-fi transporter to just beam the kid out, there was going to be no easy option for exiting the womb!
Cue terrified pregnant me transfixed to every labour story I heard, nodding along like a deer in headlights. I’d watch One Born Every Minute, gasping and putting my hand up to my mouth as if I was watching the director’s cut of Hostel, secretly wanting to look away, but at the same time completely compelled to see and hear about all the gore.
The pints of blood.
The hours of pushing.
The agonising pain
The feeling as if you were dying.
The emergency C-sections!
The epidural that didn’t work.
All of it was a just a bit terrifying to pregnant me.
Now though, on the other side of the labour wall, I can see the benefits of swapping labour stories with other mums. It’s like old war veterans sharing their experiences of being on the front. And when you think about it, being pregnant for the first time and facing into labour is a bit like going over the top of the trenches. It’s a complete unknown. Even if you’re read all the books, gone to all the ante-natal classes in the world and heard all your female friends tell you their stories, nothing will prepare you for labour, because we’re all different and every labour is different.
In fact, I’ve yet to hear of one labour story that is exactly the same as another.
But what I do know, is that swapping labour stories is a really healthy thing.
It’s the ultimate mammy bonding session, because we’ve all gone through it and we’ve all got a different perspective. We lay it all out there and tell it like it is in its raw 18 cert glory… preferably with a glass of wine in hand! Now of course there are one or two of us who might like to embellish some of the facts and that may or may not be down to the wine...
I say share those labour stories with each other and wear them with pride…
Although, can we all agree to take it easy on the first time pregnant women? For them, make sure to replay the PG version of events.