I have fantastic news. It is so wonderful and awesome that when I heard it I could hardly contain my joy. My best friend is pregnant! Woohoo!! I remember years ago, before we had met our husbands sitting in a young single adult institute class and drawing stick figures of our future life. We were going to get married, buy houses next to each other, and have the same number of kids around the same ages (and our kids would be opposite genders so they could marry each other and we’d actually be family). Yes, those were the best drawings ever. Now, I don’t own a house near them. We did marry two guys who are friends (Her husband is El Penguino, in case you were wondering) (no, I don’t speak any Spanish in case you didn’t know). Her pregnancy is better than any chocolate cashew milk ice cream in the universe.
As I have been celebrating her pregnancy, I also began to reflect on my own experience. I recognize that Banana Nut Bread (BNB) is not the same as me or in the same situation I was, but I do recognize that she probably will have similar issues that I had with my pregnancy. These aren’t the physical “What’s that weird thing on the ultrasound?” issues, these are more emotional things that come from society. I wanted to share this, not just with her, but with any woman who has thought about being pregnant (I think that’s every woman).
I love watching TV. I watch way too much of it too. I love crime dramas, sitcoms, regular dramas, finance reality shows, baking and cooking shows, fantasy shows, the list goes on and on. Despite my love affair with so much TV, there is one thing that I loathe in TV and movies: labor scenes. Ugh they make me so annoyed. The cynic in me comes out and she comes out like a ticked off bear.
You all have probably watched these scenes: the ones where to woman is perfectly fine one minute and then suddenly her water breaks, contractions come hard and fast, she can’t do much and is rushed to the hospital. Even if she gets an epidural, she is still screaming and displaying the worst pain in the history of pain. The baby comes out (and looks about 3+ months old by the way) and the doctors and nurses back away and let the family have their special moment, end scene (not to mention that the formerly narwhal sized woman is now a petit never prego lady).
Blegh! It’s enough to put anyone off from having kids. Ever! There is a serious problem with these overly dramatic Hollywood scenes. Besides being completely wrong about how the birthing process actually happens (I’m sure they’re going for high intense drama rather than realism), these scenes teach younger girls that birth is terrible, scary, and the worst moment of their lives.
I could go on forever about how Hollywood got it wrong and go into the super graphic post that no one in their right mind would ever read (Superman would be livid and tell me that it brought back PTSD flash backs of birthing class). But for the sake of all men everywhere, I won’t. For the sake of all women everywhere, there is something much more important you need to know.
In today’s society women can do anything men can do, but better (at least that’s what Doc McStuffins preaches). Women all across college campuses (and other areas) are fighting hard and dirty to be seen as men’s equal, and in some cases, men’s better. I will leave my personal opinions about this out of this for now. Instead I will remind women everywhere that there is one thing that we can do that men can never ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, (you get the point) (barring some ridiculous act of science) do. Women get the opportunity to house a zygote as it metamorphosed into a blastocyst and then into an embryo (then into a fetus, then out into the world to be deemed an infant). Women get to feel the beginnings of life, to protect, nurture and lay the foundation for the next generation. In fact science has discovered that the things women do while pregnant can turn on and off different aspects of the baby’s DNA. Crazy! Men can’t do that (sorry guys). It’s like the best super power ever, forget super flight and strength, we can populate the world (bwahahahaha)!
Ahem- sorry- anyway as I was saying: Women are amazing. Women are designed to do this. They have not only the parts, the hormones, ect, but they have the physical ability and necessary resiliency. Did you know that after a woman gives birth, there is a chemical in the brain that kicks in and makes her forget the pain and trauma of giving birth? This is why after having a baby, months (sometimes years) down the road women are ready to have another one, without having any PTSD birth flash backs.
Holy cow! That is so crazy and intense, it’s like women are set up to handle this kind of situation. I don’t think that a guy would have the same chemical kick in and would remain traumatized forever. That means that women are the gateway to life. Life happens because of the selflessness of women. Wow. Why then does Hollywood portray this amazing (and usually much longer and gradual) process so graphic and violently?
When I was pregnant with Princess Pea I was a full time college student at CSU (Go Rams!). We had just moved up to Fort Collins from the Denver Metro Area. The week before classes started (my first semester back to college after several years) I found out I was pregnant. This was an intense situation for us, but it all worked out great. One of the most awesome things about being a pregnant woman on a college campus is you learn a lot about societies view on pregnancy (I could get into the horror stories of this, but that’s not what I am writing about). One of the most surprising things was talking to my fellow students about pregnancy.
These girls would happily tell me how they could never do what I’m doing, and they didn’t’ mean going to school, working, and being pregnant. They meant being pregnant. I had girls talk to me all the time about their fears of labor and birth (not to mention the fact that they would not get to do what they want any more).
I totally got this. I too had some intense hesitation about birth and labor. Like the college student (and member of Google generation) that I was, I did a lot of research. That was gross. Moving past the research, I needed to find solace. My midwives were so confident in my ability and put some of my fears at ease, but it was too much science information. Here is the truth that got me through this: As a woman, I am not only designed to handle and manage labor, it is my birthright. As a daughter of Eve, the mother of all living, it is my birthright (whether I accept it or not) to be the gateway of life. That helped me understand that I had it. I could do it and I just needed to be confident in my body.
The other thing that really helped was something that others would find repulsive, but I recommend it to all pregnant women: watching the UK series One Born Every Minute on YouTube for hours (I watched until halfway through season three). The show is a documentary type show. A labor and maternity wing in a hospital had cameras set up all over the halls, the midwife’s stations, and some of the rooms. They documented the labor process of so many women in all different situations. Watching real births and real women made me feel confident in my own ability to have a baby.
One episode that really resonated with me had a nineteen year old girl in labor. The midwives offered her “gas” (something that is done in the UK) and the girl practically hyperventilated trying to use it and freaking out because of her preconceived notions of what was about to happen. Other episodes had these strong, confident women who took on the challenge and handled the pain very well.
We need to honor our birth right, face the future with confidence and trust in our strength as women. Women need to recognize that regardless of their beliefs of human existence, women are designed to not just handle the pain, but work through it. How are we supposed to raise girls and women with healthy views of themselves as women, as the gateway to life, if we subject them to terrifying false images that having a baby is the worst and most painful thing ever?
To BNB and all other women who have even had a dream about being pregnant, believe in yourself, take your birthright, you are designed to do this. Fear not.
What other things do you think create this rift of women really embracing their amazing quality of being the “gateway to life”?