Posted by Duff

I don’t want to know. Not because I don’t care about you, or that your truth doesn’t matter. I’m really doing you a favor. Because if you tell me more details than I can handle, whomever has to deal with my processing -well- process, is going to be upset with you.

I’ve always had a vivid imagination. And while I sympathize with you, I’m way too quick to empathize. Let’s just say that if my husband was the pregnant one, I’d have couvade.

Whatever. Everyone gets sick. Has an uncomfortable medical procedure from time to time, kicks a fresh mouse corpse on his way to the bathroom to the amplified purring of a very satisfied housecat. (See, you didn’t want to know that. But my husband will be happy to describe the resistance.)

Once you’re a mom and you’ve seen diapers and spit up and what inertia can do to a pediatric suppository, your tolerance for these things increases, your panic over “I can’t handle this” vaporizes amid “I must handle this now and I just did and now it’s done and we’re all still here.”

But before you have a baby? (Or really, before you have your next baby, because every birth is different), you really don’t want to hear childbirth stories with any unpleasant terminology or the remote hint of discomfort unless you ask.

I specifically remember eating the blissful cake of ignorance at my baby shower, while two women standing on either side of me dueled horrific birth stories. Tales of gore and hours of agony, or attempts to soothe not working. Of things that seriously did not seem possible to me.  “Oh, that’s nothing. And then they brought a bulldozer in and I’ll tell you, you really feel that in your eyeballs.” Both, by the way, had smiles on their faces. They didn’t seem at all ruined by the torture. Both went on to have more children.

But I was suddenly a wreck. I put my fork down and my lip quivered. Another very kind soul rubbed my shoulder and said, “You can do this, you know. And you will. Women like to exaggerate when it comes to birth. Everyone’s had it worse than the next person.”

“How about you?” I asked.

She looked me right in the eye. “Well, it hurt, sure. But there are people to help you deal with that. I got there too late for an epidural, but the bonus was, it went really fast. But what you need to know is, I did it. I’d do it again. And you will do it. And you will see why women want to do it again.”

If I didn’t love her before, I loved her then. And I thought of her words at the time when they would help me, and they did. And she was right.

I got there in time for the meds, but I didn’t get them before it hurt. But I can honestly tell you, I’d relive it to relive the moment of meeting The Dervish. I am often nostalgic for that day, for that most fleeting and precious of experiences, and even for the steps that came before that meant the wonderful anticipation of a brand new person, the feeling of absolute relief and euphoria from having gotten where we set out to arrive.

I have approximately 25 weeks to think about doing this again, and I would appreciate if you would let me live in my sweet cocoon of remembrance – of a wonderful delivery – even if the record shows it being more difficult than I recall, I am happy to think of staring at my tingly feet while The Dervish had her first bath, and that’s the way I’m keeping it.

If you ask, I’ll tell you some truths in addition, but know they weren’t enough to sideline me.

Dressing an unwilling and expressive toddler, wrestling her into a carseat and walking her safely into daycare on a Monday morning when she’d prefer to remain in her pajamas and play with her dollhouse – that had me winded and scared, 843 days into motherhood. That day I would not like to repeat.

But I am looking forward to a brand new birthday.