I was sitting having dinner with two friends recently, one is in bloom and the other is, well… being ploughed??? Okay, no more creepy analogies, one’s pregnant and the other is plotting another go on the morning sickness, monster-munch craving, mysterious ailments merry-go-round. Naturally, while we were enjoying a meal of rare steak sandwiches (of course we were) talk turned to the forthcoming birth that, thanks to the antipathy of modern science towards the plight of women, is going to be mandatory for my poor preggers pal.
We, the veterans of the miracle of life began to completely unconsciously detail with what can only be described as schadenfreude (and cab sav)-fuelled glee all the horrific things that were about to befall our friend in the event of that baby making its big entrance.
At one point I actually speared a bit of nearly raw, prime, Aldi filet and likened it to some of the attendant gore women have to tolerate in the aftermath of that particular bloodletting.
While stuffing the frankly delicious steak sambo (on brioche bun with a horseradish mayo) into my face I expounded on the injustice of the fact that women are expected to not gross people out by going on about the birth too much afterward:
“They literally drag something that looks like a mucus-covered Gollum out of your body and then you’re supposed to put on a pair of white jeans and a Breton top, go to Dundrum with your Bugaboo and act like nothing weird just happened.”
“You can’t even sit down, like,” chimed in the other friend. Preggers was looking increasingly horrified and seemed to be picking unenthusiastically at her meal as I detailed the sensation of hacking through the umbilical cord (“it’s like hacking through a pork steak!”) while my friend inquired of her: “Are you not finishing that?”
Becoming a mother gives you a pretty strong stomach it seems.
It was only later (after chanting about 80 times: “Sleep now because after that baby comes….”) that I realised I had just annihilated poor Preggers with that classic Irish thing of imparting the myriad ways that her life is about to go down the toilet once she has a kid. I’m not sure if other countries so delight in this bizarre practice but I definitely noticed it when I was pregnant with my first baby and now apparently the circle of life is complete: I literally heard myself say to Preggers: “Seriously have lots of nice relaxing baths now, because after that baby comes…”
After that baby comes what? You’ll never bathe again? Is that the dirty little secret of mothers, that we’re too frazzled and underslept for personal hygiene? Of course not, if I’ve got time to fix a gin and tonic (which I do) I’ve got time for a bath.
The whole “your life is over” refrain is kind of fun though, isn’t it? Still, don’t bring a Preggers b*tch down she’s dealing with enough crap in terms of heartburn and strangers feeling her belly on the reg. So here’s a checklist I’ve helpfully compiled:
7 Harsh Realities The Poor Pregnant B*tch In Your Life Doesn’t Need To Hear
No need to tell her about the birth. At all. Unless she asks for a bit of Real Talk on the subject. Otherwise, leave it out. It’s not an event that she can opt out of so best not give her any details that she won’t be able to un-hear.
Underplay the whole ‘you’re life’s gonna be so sh*t’ thing, it’s a downer and as we all know it’s not true (ish).
Don’t tell her about the role anusol may play in her life post birth.
Don’t tell her about how much she’s going to miss her pelvic floor muscle and how she will come to long for a good, old, anxiety-free laughing fit. *Sighs Wistfully While Frantically Kegeling*
Keep that whole colic thing under wraps, and ask the granny if she’ll light a few candles for Preggers here, she needs all the luck/divine intervention she can get.
Don’t tell her she looks ‘glowing’ or ‘neat’ or ‘huge’ or any other specific adjective aside from ‘gorgeous’. Just stick with gorgeous the whole time, it’s by far the safest option.
Don’t keep on at her about how happy she must be, being pregnant is a hormonal vortex of emotions and having the whole world bleating on at you about how damn happy you must be does not help. Sure one day you might be happy and the next day you might accidentally watch We Need To Talk About Kevin and be having a minor nervous breakdown.