November 19, 2015 by Katia
6 years later, I still remember how when we got to page 23 of our prenatal class’s guidebook our instructor paused and said: you can go ahead and tear that page out. You won’t be needing it. The title of the page in question read: Sex After Childbirth. This was one of very few painful truths concerning childbirth and parenting that prenatal decided to disclose.
It’s a well known fact among post prenatalists that What to Expect When You’re Expecting and its online equivalent, the Baby Center emails, withhold important parenting information. “Your toddler is 34 months old. In the following weeks they’ll start referring to everyone as ‘buttface’” said no email from Baby Center ever. And did any of the multiple breastfeeding resources you’ve consulted ever discuss the is-that-a-cabbage-leaf-in-your-bra-or-are-you-just-happy-to-see-me phase?
Coincidence? I think not.
Hello. My name is Katia and I’ll be your conspiracy theorist today.
THEY don’t want us to know. Why? Not entirely sure, but it’s my conspiracy theory and I’ll speculate if I want to. Maybe they think that if we knew everything we’d bolt. All I know is that the cover up is massive and it starts at prenatal.
Everything is awesome at prenatal La La and it’s all about choices and their implied derivative – control. First up is location. Will you go for a water birth mindfully guided by a super doula in our Paradise Suite or would you prefer the more traditional Meh, Let’s Do Hospital Bed approach?
Now let’s talk positions in the most creepily non creepy and awkwardly non awkward way possible. Once you’ve selected your venue, there’s a variety of positions to make you feel more comfortable while you push, push, PUUUURRRRR-PFFT-SHHHH. May I suggest downward dog? Another popular and versatile choice is the yoga ball: good for bouncing, throwing at your husband or simply floating on in your tub (enjoy the water birth, snob).
More options await at the “hospital bag” meets “dad to be is a thing too” intersection. What do we pack in preparation for this life changing event? According to the prenatal guidebook mom will need about thirty seven items including warm socks, a fluffy pair of slippers and her favorite jammies while dad needs coins. For the vending machines. You can also, according to same list, pack a deck of cards and photographs of people you love (or pets, in case you don’t love any people). The photos will further enhance your sense of coziness while the cards will help kill a few hours, because you will definitely be looking for stuff to do.
In attempt to make this the one event in my life that I prepared for, I bought Facebook news feed worthy PJs. Guess what? They didn’t make it to the OR table where the doctors were preparing to perform an emergency procedure on me due to a complication. A strangely assertive doctor ordered that I take them off while birthing I’m and complicating and all that wonderful pink fabric was replaced by a doily sized towel that covered some of me, but only the parts that didn’t matter.
You’re bitter, Katia. You had a complication and you’re blaming prenatal. Shame on you.
Well, no. At the hospital I ran into many of my prenatal classmates. If prenatal was Hollywood then the Where Are They Today episode dedicated to us would show a gorgeous bunch of healthy babies brought to you by one seventy two hour long delivery, a couple of emergency C sections, a ruptured placenta (moi) and one suction.
But why be such a player hater? Let prenatal do its thing and let the parents to be enjoy this last whiff of false sense of control before they relinquish it forever.
The doily covered none of what I wanted it to. Prenatal did the opposite. The shit that I really needed to know is that, yes, there’s freedom of choice but sometimes the process takes its own course. Sometimes you decide against Epidural then change your mind. Sometimes you ask for it, but it’s too late. Sometimes you’ll end upin the room the instructor showed you during the hospital visit and said not to worry because no one ever ends up in that tiny cell. You would’ve never noticed the cell-ness of the room unless your attention was drawn to it with a “don’t worry”.
Dear Prenatal, you were wonderful to us, in a helicopter mom kind of way. You protected us from shit but once it hit the fan we got thrown off. Childbirth and parenting have a lot in common. For one thing – they’re both unpredictable. Childbirth in all of its goodbadugliness is a great introduction to parenting and there’s nothing wrong with knowing that in advance.