Thursday, 19 March 2015

36 Weeks' Pregnant - A Brand New Attitude

The main reason I have been against having a baby the majority of my life (up until eight months ago) is because of the pain factor involved in giving birth. The primal screams let out by mothers in labour on the TV send chills down your spine - and those women only have a cushion up their jumpers. I had a feeling the real life pain of childbirth was going to be much worse. 

People talk a lot about your 'pain threshold' and ability to cope with pain and my worry has always been that throughout my life I have not experienced any real pain. The only time I have writhed about in sheer agony in my life has been after a bad break-up. Physically wise - I have only ever broken my toe three different times (the same toe). The third time I didn't even bother going to the hospital. It hurt, sure, but not enough to make you cry or call anyone a bastard. Although I was eight at the time. 

Other painful experiences have been during visits to the dentist (fillings, teeth extractions and brace fittings), blood tests, and excruciating pains once a month. There was also one time that I fainted, split my head open and had to have a few stitches in the back of my head. I had to put my face through a hole in the bed in the hospital room, as a terrifying male nurse with a thick South African accent stitched me up. I couldn't feel a single thing and was quite comfortable , as I lay there listening to my hysterical mother shrieking and sobbing at the man that he was hurting her 'precious baby'. 

Barring these incidents, I have never had a bad accident, never had an operation and never had a severe illness. In that way, I must concede that I have been very lucky indeed in my life. However, the fact remains that I am completely unaware of my own ability to cope with pain. I have also harboured a phobia of giving birth my entire adult life and have gone out of my way to avoid programs that feature it, people who talk about it or learning too much (anything) about it. 

A few months into pregnancy my partner and I noticed that the popular program 'One Born Every Minute' was on one evening. I suggested we watch a bit of it to see what it was like. He was against it, but I overruled him - and I turned the channel over. There I saw two women, in separate hospital beds, who appeared highly stressed and sweaty. I watched with eyes wide, terror slowly creeping over me, before they both simultaneously projectile vomited into cardboard bowls. 

"WHY ARE THEY THROWING UP?! WHY ARE THEY THROWING UP?! I DIDN'T KNOW YOU WOULD THROW UP?! NO ONE TOLD ME THAT YOU WOULD THROW UP!?" I shrieked at my partner, tears streaming out of my eyes. 

He calmly turned the program off and told me he did not know, and several sleepless nights later I made a decision that the less I know - the better.  I only learnt around a month ago what a 'contraction' was - and only because my mother told me. It made me feel so much better to be honest - it made it sound very functional.  

But now I am at 36 weeks with only 28 days to go and something is happening to me. Where once there was a terrified, weak woman who counted down the days to labour like someone on death row etches a tally on the prison wall, counting down the days to the lethal injection, there is now a woman who is counting down the days to her due date like a child who wants to rip open his advent calendar on the 1st of December, because Christmas can't come quickly enough! 

I used to focus entirely on the agony, pain and imagined reality of childbirth and physically shake or cry with fear - but this has somehow changed to a calmer, more mature, stronger stance. I feel completely at ease with what will happen in 28 days. I feel utterly relaxed about what will be - and I have an odd sense of confidence that I never thought I would have. The confidence is almost bordering on arrogance - and I don't know why or where this has come from. 

Perhaps it is
  • Being so completely fed up of being pregnant 
  • The way that eight months has felt like eight long years
  • My readiness and excitement to meet my little boy and be a mummy
  • My anger and frustration at the struggles of being so fat and so exhausted and so useless and in so much pain all the time
  • My anger at the constant tales of childbirth terror thrown at me 

That now, I have never felt so ready to do this! I have a whole new attitude! So, you can tell me how awful it is. You can tell me how difficult it is! You can go on and on and on about how much it will hurt and use all the gruesome, petrifying superlatives you like. I don't care. I can do it - I know I can! BRING IT ON BABY! 


Now preferably......

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