Calm down ladies, I’m not talking about me, that ship has sailed. But as a woman in her fifties I have friends who are of a similar age with daughters who are about to make my lovely friends ‘grannies’ and I can’t wait.
Recently I was asked by a friend’s daughter if I remembered being pregnant and giving birth. Seriously, my sons were born in the 90’s, my eyesight may be failing and I may be sagging in all the wrong places, actually there’s no good place to sag, but my memory was just fine.
‘Of course I remember’
‘Well’ she asked all doe eyed
‘Tell me what’s it’s going to be like’ she was almost pleading
‘Ask your mother’ sez I
I wasn’t getting into this, I had sons and was happy enough I wouldn’t have to deal with the anyones pregnancy. If I was ever a grandmother I could just show up after the child arrived and shower it with pressies, that’s what I was good at not giving pregnancy advice.
‘Did that, all she said was that it was the most wonderful stage of my life, giving life’
‘Oh and you want me to tell you differently’
‘Tell me the truth’
Ahh this was a question I shouldnt have been asked, because I was told the same thing over twenty years ago. My mother painted a rosy picture so much so I had visions of myself being this perfect mother, lying in the long grass eating figrolls while breast-feeding my beautiful baby. Alright that was my dream. That of course is not how it went.
‘About what ?’ I could sense how anxious she was
‘That’s only part of it, right at the end for a couple of hours if even that’ I was reassuring.
I didn’t want to panic her, should I tell her the truth, would I have wanted to know the truth when I was first pregnant.
Nobody told me about the massive hormone imbalances, the mood swings, I could go from laughing to crying in a second and sometimes I didn’t even know why I was upset.
Like an ejit I read a book called ‘The Bridges of Madison County’ I cried for days, telling anyone who listened that ‘awl wans can fall in love too’ my entire family though I’d lost my mind. I blamed the hormones.
Now in my fifties I can again blame the hormones for my mood swings and get away with it. Well there has to be an upside.
Should I tell her about the massive clothes that’s needed, even then you need massive and I mean massive knickers and bras, MASSIVE.. Let’s not forget the paper knickers and pads I was told to buy, but had no idea why, but it seems no baby was born to a mother who didn’t have paper knickers. Or the frocks that have so much fabric I looked like a mobile advert for Laura Ashley curtains.
Should I tell her about the hair growth, I had no idea that it grew so rapidly during pregnancy, I had to shave my legs twice a day during the summer, towards the end of my pregnancy I had to get my sister to shave my legs because I couldn’t bend over to do it.
Or if I abandoned my shaving routine and opted for tights that was just as bad, as my tights would roll down over my massive Bump. then they’d end up all wrinkled around my ankles just above my comfy but ugly shoes, which I also had to buy as my feet got so fat I couldn’t wear my normal shoes. Maybe I won’t mention that.
Ahh maybe I won’t tell her.
Maybe I should just warn her about the cravings, oh the pickles, jars of them I went through, or the smells that made me feel dizzy, maybe not.
It probably wouldn’t be a good idea to mention the flatulence that was so unexpected and so loud that it frightened the bejesus out of me and the people around me. Nope, I’ll let that take her by surprise too.
I might leave out the intimate examinations carried out the gynies, sometimes they were just short of having a Davey lamp and going in up to their elbows, while assuring me that this ‘won’t hurt’, and that it’s all perfectly natural, my arse it didn’t hurt, oh yeah it did, sorry.
‘Well, tell me’ she urged
‘Look it’ll all be fine, I promise’
‘I know it’ll be fine, but what happens before fine’
‘Take the drugs, all the feckin drugs they offer and ask for more, shur lookit I did it twice, it’s a bit painful at the end that’s all some pushing and it’s all over’
‘I’m not buying it’ she glared at me as though I’d lie to her. Is omission a lie after all.
‘OK OK .. the worst part was after he was born, he was perfect I kept counting his fingers and looking at him and trying to figure out why the hell did this child have red hair’
‘His red hair was the worst part ?’
I had to tell her the truth, it wouldn’t be fair on her, so I told her the worst part for me was afterwards.
‘I was so naive that I didn’t know babies had to be fed every four hours, that how naive I was’
‘No, the worst part is having to stand up out of the bed to go to the loo. That was the worst for me’
‘Yeah ok that’s enough’ she protested
‘No No No not that, the worst part is standing up and your vacant belly falling down around your knees like an apron so you can no longer see your paper knickers, and your boobs are so big and heavy that you might just fall over, and you’ve just dispatched your husband to collect your size eight jeans and tee-shirt to go home, that’s the worst’
Maybe I went to far, she visibly paled in front of me.
The Joy of Pregnancy