There is joy in picking up random publications abandoned by other commuters on the Underground. This week I picked up the Guardian’s G2 supplement (Wednesday 18th March, 2009) with a sort of disinterested apathy that was quickly replaced by serious pondering.
Have you ever heard a group of newly-birthed mothers talk? It often works like this:
‘I was in labour for 52 hours! 52 hours! She was completely stuck in there, poor thing! The surgeon kept hovering over me with a scalpel but I threatened to disembowel him if he dared come within 20ft of my bed. Thank God for the Epidural, though. Did you tear?’
‘Yah, I tore a whole 6 inches but I was soooo not going to have an Epidural, darling. I wanted my birth to be sacred, little Hermione was born sans anaesthesia. We had Annabel Karmel come in person to my water birth to stir-fry the placenta with Tofu! So nutritious! Really the BEST for breastfeeding, darling. How about you, Dotty, how was your labour?
‘It was really, really hard… Unlike anything else… I pushed so hard that I shat myself.’
It is said that childbirth requires as much energy as running a marathon, so it’s no wonder we treat it like a race. Women can get more competitive about it than they would about the girth of their thighs. But Viv Groskop reports a whole new trend in one-upwomanship about to sweep the planet: THE ORGASMIC BIRTH.
YES! Women, you no longer need to be afraid of genital mutilation or protracted pain! We now have people who want women ‘to break through their fear and have a beautiful experience of birthing’. Well, birth IS a beautiful experience, although for some this beauty is not dissimilar to that of Munch’s ‘The Scream’. Most of us will come back home with a child we do not wish to flush down the toilet straight away.
According to Marsden Wagner MD (should that read ‘Male Douchebag?), ‘It’s got to be how it is when you make love with someone. It’s got to be safe, secure and uninterrupted.’ I am guessing his sex life is an insufferable bore.
Humour aside for a moment, I can almost see how this phenomena could be more than a myth created by smug Earth mother types. Contractions rise, peak and wane just like orgasms, and trust me, leave your eyes just as watery and your head just as fuzzy. And it is true that ‘the noises women make are similar to those of love-making – which can embarrass their partners.’ Maybe some EXTREMELY FORTUNATE women have a little switch in their brains that makes all these feral sensations shift from excrutiating pain into excrutiating pleasure. Remember Barbarella, when she is in the ‘Excessive Machine’(thanks, Posie for reminding me of that one. Good thing old Barbie showed Durand Durand who is boss)? Hmmmmm. Hmmmm. Hmmmm. And who doesn’t like a gentle little bite on the nape of the neck? Or a little crack of the whip? Or like, when something hurts but it’s a nice kind of pain, a really nice kind of pain? Or when… Ah, I digress.
I just know that when the Epidural kicked in, the feeling of pain sweeping away from my body was like being on cloud 9 with a battery operated Johnny Depp and beautiful sunsets and wonderful music and exploding ecstasy for ever and ever and ever.
Until the bloody thing wore off, of course.