Yet Another Thing

Okay, so I think the real problem here is that Yours Truly has been watching daytime television. This is a Bad Plan. Because you know what? I think I’m beginning to understand something. And that something is that most of the people in ‘popular culture’, if daytime television is to be believed, are, if you’ll pardon the expression, effed in the haitch-ee-ay-dee. Do you know how I know? Because you do not exist in the Real World.

From my cross-cultural studies based entirely on Yankee television, I see that folks drive everywhere. You go from point a to point b without setting foot on the ground. Or if you do, it’s on pavement. You might have some lawn in your yard, but not vegetables. Maybe fruit, if you live in Florida or California or Arizona. But mostly they’re just for show; not for food.

You buy everything; your clothes, your food, your entertainment, and your health. This last one is the one that bothers me the most. I’ve just watched seven women deliver babies, and of those seven women, *not a single one* was “allowed” to have a vaginal delivery. Not a *single one*. Granted, two of them were legitimate emergencies where the baby’s heart rate dropped alarmingly low a month before the child’s due date, and so the Caesarean section was medically necessary.

But the woman having her ‘first live birth’ being encouraged to have a C-section because she was in ‘a lot of pain’ is, if you’ll excuse my choice of language, EFFING RIDICULOUS.

I believe that c-sections are ‘medically necessary’ so very rarely that they should be, to coin a phrase, RARE. Of every 100 births, fewer than 1 should be a c-section. And to you ladies who decide to have a c-section because “then your vagina won’t get stretched out”, congratulations. Now you have external scarring and a painful, much longer recovery time. For those ladies choosing to have a c-section because they’re afraid of the pain in a vaginal delivery, I have to ask myself what the hell is wrong with you?

First of all, there are medications available to you if you so choose to take advantage of them. Granted, not all of them are safe, and not all of them work all the time. There are many many ways to manage your pain without medication as well, and some of these are far more effective, too. But honestly, do you think life is about living without pain? Pain is a part of childbirth. It. Just. Is. And do you think you’ll have a pain-free labour/delivery/recovery if you have a c-section? Really? So someone cuts through your skin, through several layers of muscle, through your uterus, and you expect to live through that pain-free? Right. Well, you know, it isn’t rocket science.

So. Here’s a shout-out from the Real World: having babies hurts. It hurts for the *rest of your life*, if you’re doing it right. But it’s a good kind of pain. It’s the kind of pain you have when you’re changing the world. Hopefully for the better. It’s the kind of pain you feel when you’re making a sacrifice; giving of yourself so that someone else can benefit. And in that pain, and through that pain, you grow and love, and you Become.

You’ll watch your tiny baby take its first breaths, and your heart will break, and you will be terrified, and you will hurt. You will ache for that child. And if you’re a mum, you’ll miss having her in your body; you’ll miss that closeness. And if you’re a dad, you’ll marvel at this miracle you’ve helped create, and you’ll feel your heart expand inside your chest and that will hurt.

You’ll watch your little one crying, and you will fill with pain because you don’t know what’s wrong and you don’t know how to stop it and you’ll panic and your panic will freak the baby out and it will be a huge freaky, scary cycle, and you’ll be all, “oh why the fuck did I sign on for THIS?” And then it will stop. Maybe an hour later, maybe five years later, but it *will* stop, and you’ll say, “oh. That’s why.” Because you’ll see something so profound, so full of beauty, that your chest will expand *again*. And someday you’ll be watching your son or daughter, and you’ll think, “this is the best thing I’ve ever done. And I’m screwing it up. But I can’t think of anything that I love more than this child. So I’ll keep trying.” And that will hurt. Because you have to acknowledge that you’re doing it wrong, because nobody has all the answers. Not even you. Not the people on the internet, not the books or doctors, not your parents, no one has all the answers. Because, what they don’t tell you is that a lot of this is shooting from the hip and doing whatever is necessary to raise up a well-adjusted, benevolent human.

And some day, you’ll watch your son/daughter walking into school, or riding a bike, or moving out to go to college, and you’ll be devastated. Because you’ll feel your heart couldn’t get any bigger. But it can. It just hurts. A lot. So if you think you can live a meaningful life with children pain-free, you are mistaken. Or, as Big T would say, Mistooken.


10 responses to “Yet Another Thing”

  1. Cheruby Avatar


    Thanks for posting this. It’s very moving. As my little one gets close to being born, the panic is beginning to creep. I begin to ask how on earth we’re going to do this. However, reading this post confirms that I no doubt about the why. The truth is I WANT to be hurt in the ways you describe. I want to taste that beautiful pain.

    Yes, I’ve never been a parent and I’m sure the reality will prove shockingly different, but I also want to have my expectations blown away. Call me a masochist, but I welcome the love without bounds and the chaos without end. Welcome to my heart, little one, and Hail Eris!

  2. neuba Avatar

    Nicely said Ceno.

    I can honestly say that being a parent (and only for 10.5 months) brings you the most extreme happiness – saddness, joy and pain I could ever imagine. You really do experience emotions to the extreme when you have children – and having lived many years (selfish years) without children, I can honestly say I NEVER experienced these extreme emotions. And I love them.

    I’ve cried from happiness, saddness, fear, frustration, joy.

    I’ve been ecstatically overjoyed by the littlest things.

    It’s amazing.

    As for the pain of childbirth, I experienced some, but not as much as other mothers out there – I’m sure. I would have liked to do it ‘au natural’, which was the plan, but my son had other ideas. I’m not sure if my c-section was 100% medically necessary, but my little guy was in a lot of stress and we needed to get him out healthy and happy.

    Thanks for the post ceno. I like being reminded what being a parent is all about.

    1. cenobyte Avatar

      Like I said, there *are* times (when baby is in distress being one of them) when C-sections are medically necessary.

      But – remember this: anyone who tells you it’s not possible to have a vaginal delivery after a c-section is wrong.

  3. Stark Raving Dad Avatar
    Stark Raving Dad

    Nothing to say, other than thanks. It is parents like you, and mom’s like you, that make me proud to be a member of the human race.

    You and my wife are more alike than you two will ever know. I can’t decide if that means I must enable you to meet, or if all efforts must be made to keep you apart – for the safety of the entire world. :)

    1. cenobyte Avatar

      I’m glad to see parent brain affects more than just women.
      I totally met your wife. At my apartment. I thought she rocked then, and I think she rocks now. Well. Except for the ‘no bacon and cheese’ thing, but whatevs.

      1. Stark Raving Dad Avatar
        Stark Raving Dad

        D’oh! That’s right, totally forgot that. Well then, the universe didn’t end, so that’s a good sign.

  4. Ernst Bitterman Avatar
    Ernst Bitterman

    You’ve forgotten to yell at the apparently growing crowd who decline to breastfeed because it’s “icky” or inconvenient.

    HOWEVER, the bulk of this is dead on. I keep thinking I’m going to keel over from the simple weight of fatherhood on a daily basis.

    1. cenobyte Avatar

      Mr. Bitterman, I have made that rant many, many times. As a wannabe Doula and a staunch supporter of (read: moderately psychotic) breastfeeding, I’ve yelled at those people (in public! On the radio!) and at people who choose to have Caesarean sections because they don’t want their cooters to stretch.

      1. Ernst Bitterman Avatar
        Ernst Bitterman

        I find, in this topsy-turvy world of blog-time, a previous yell on the topic I thought neglected. I’ll shut up with the commentin’ until I’ve found the headwaters (insert emoticon of mild but good-humoured embarrassement here).

        1. cenobyte Avatar

          Do not shut up!
          Rage on, against the dying of the light.
          And whatnot.
          Or whatever.

i make squee noises when you tell me stuff.

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