Sunday, 8 August 2010

Week 4: Births

The Circle of Silence
My good friend is giving birth. Right now. Right now, she is giving birth. I think I have broken out in a cold sweat. It’s funny how until you do it, you don’t have a clue what to expect.

After I had CK one of my friends who is yet to get pregnant asked me how the birth went. When I gave her my stock response (A tight lipped “fine”) she drily informed me that she wasn’t impressed that I had now entered the ‘circle of silence’. It’s so true… It’s like being part of the Illuminati. Once you have given birth you are part of this secret circle of knowing, conspiratorial women who nod silently and sagely at each other but who remain silent.

There are however some women who are decidedly outside of this circle – those who lie in wait for passing, innocent pregnant women, upon whom they leap and divulge all the secrets and lies of giving birth; “My pelvis snapped in half”, “The baby got stuck and it all went wrong from there”, “I was in labour for 6 days”. What that means is that when you are writing your birth plan (if you get around to it!) you have no idea what to really expect. Both extremes are ridiculously inconsiderate – what women need is the truth, the truth dammit!

And who’s to say they can’t handle the truth?! Having said that, I didn’t warn my friend. I just hope she is still my friend when it is all over and she doesn’t hold it against me.
The Mummatron

Birth of a granny.

Everybody kept saying to me, you’ll love being a granny!

I had my doubts…. I was terrified of my own babies until they were old enough to say “nope.” I always manage to make an excuse when anyone asked me if I would like to hold their precious little bundle: “oh it looks so cosy there, I wouldn’t want to disturb it”, “I have just remembered an important meeting – in Marakesh”, “I’m sorry my arms don’t seem to be working!”.

When my daughter announced that she and her lovely man were going to get married, my first thought was, “oh no, they want to have children”. Don’t get me wrong, I thought it would be fun to have a little tyke in teeny weeny designer jeans running about the place, but the thought of my own daughter being pregnant and giving birth was too frightening to contemplate. Whenever the subject of offspring came up I would make quiet murmurings about world over-population and adoption, whilst wishing I could also mention piles and varicose veins.

Then there was concern that PCOS would stop pregnancy from becoming a reality and I saw the fear on my daughters’ dear face and my defences started to crumble. Mere weeks later came the announcement that we had a grandchild on the way and then we saw the ultrasound photos. How is it possible to be terrified of something – my daughters’ health – and yet feel total euphoria about that little ET lookalike in black and white on the screen!

When my daughter went into labour and we waved her off to the hospital I found myself retreating to a calm, ‘well there’s nothing I can do about it now’, place, I didn’t hit the whisky or take up smoking – not even a cigar when the birth was over and mum and babe both fine!

The next day we met wee C.K., and you know what? Right from the first time I held her I knew that all those know-it-alls were right, I love being a granny! It is the best thing ever.

It is the joy of seeing a small creature meet the world around her, and become aware of other people, learn to smile, learn what a power-tool crying is, learn that even if you have just been bathed and changed, if you smile after you have filled your nappy - and your sleep suit down to your toes, - everyone will think you are clever and cute! And all of this without the terrifying final responsibility of motherhood – which, of course, you have to go through to become …….. Super Gran!

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