May 8, 2018

Mothers Day: Nobody told me that childbirth would hurt so much

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jane Stillwater @ 3:43 pm

Now that Mothers Day is almost upon us, I’ve been thinking a lot about the fine art of giving birth — and now have reached one seminal conclusion based on both experience and scientific research. “There is no way that it’s not gonna hurt.” Take myself for example.

Baby # 1: I was so totally naive before going into labor. Was at a late-night party in Greenwich Village (and unsuccessfully trying to chat with Bob Dylan) when my stomach suddenly started getting really bad menstrual cramps. Huh? I’m nine months pregnant. I’m not spozed to be having cramps! So I street-hiked off to the Women’s’ Infirmary, suffered through two hours of intense labor, fought off major attempts to give me anesthetics, screamed a lot and then gave birth to a girl.

Baby # 2: Moved back to California, got pregnant again, went into labor, finally recognized the symptoms, couldn’t find a ride to the hospital and ended up persuading my speed-freak neighbors to give me a lift. Why not. They were gonna be up all night anyway. Once at the hospital, I started screaming and hollering once again. The nurses told me to shut up. They were old-school. Two hours later, out popped another baby girl.

Baby # 3: While suffering from stage-nine pregnancy and looking as big as a house, I moved all my stuff into a new apartment in Berkeley, finished unpacking the last box, gave a deep sigh of relief — and went into labor. “Another girl?” I asked. When they told me it wasn’t, this unexpected announcement surprised me so much that I actually asked the nurse, “If it’s not a girl, then what could it be?”

“It’s a boy!” she replied. Who knew.

Baby #4: I was finally beginning to realize where babies come from — but too late. “You need a C-section,” stated the doctor. Over my dead body! “That can be arranged.” But I somehow managed to fight off the obstetrical team (literally) and three hours later yet another baby girl popped out — butt first.

And as my children grew up, I tried my very hardest to be a good mother. I really did. I honestly did. Must have done something right. I guess. Years later, all four of my adult children are alive and doing well. But how do other women manage to be so good at motherhood and take to it like a duck to water instead of almost drowning? Hats off to you. I salute you on Mothers Day. Good job!

And I have also discovered another way that childbirth can really hurt. As the British phrase it, I’d given birth to “One heir and three spares” — thinking that surely at least one of the four will come visit me when I finally get carted off to the rest home? But this is never to be. Just as I’m starting to get old, boring, needy and poor, they’ve all thought up some cheesy reason or other to bail. All that childbirth pain for nothing! Rats. Not even any Mothers Day cards for me. I warned you. I told you that childbirth hurt.

But still and all, I’m definitely not the worst mother in the world. I never gave birth to or raised any babies that grew up to be monsters. None of my kids have blown up the World Trade Center, covered up the plot to murder JFK or were personally responsible for the slaughter of over a million human beings in the Middle East! At least I’m not Barbara Bush.

PS: Will be spending Mothers Day in Long Beach of all places. Am going there to attend the Al Awda conference on Palestine

What is happening in Gaza right now is totally painful too. And insanely criminal as well. In the past four weeks, Israeli snipers using high-powered rifles have deliberately succeeded in knee-capping and/or maiming approximately 7,000 non-violent Palestinian protesters. That’s just gotta hurt. If anyone needs some five-star mothering right now, it’s those poor wretched Palestinian rebels. Mothers Day in Gaza is gonna be painful for sure. Oy vey!

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