My adventures into Motherhood
I finished reading this book that was recommended to me – it’s called Life after birth – and it’s written by a journalist who interviewed hundreds of mothers post birth to ask them frankly what they were actually experiencing as new mothers. The book was originally written in the 80s so there wasn’t much around at that time (ie: no internet) for Mums to find information on what new motherhood was actually going to be like, you had to rely on what other Mums would tell you, and this book largely covers the things that Mums don’t want to talk about……
The chapters are organised into topics that people don’t really talk about and the author, Kate Figes, has wisely opened with the gory one, entitled Health after birth, so that by the time you get to the end of the book and read about Family life, you’re ending with the warm fuzzies and have forgotten the horrors discussed earlier.
My favourite quote is from the Health after birth chapter which talks about the irreparable damage inflicted on a woman’s body through the trauma of labour and childbirth. You are forever after changed and have to accept that this is now your body and that you can’t ever go back. The ‘myth’ of the bucket vagina is corroborated by this mother when she describes how she “feels different now, so open. I get into the bath and half the water disappears.” This quote made me laugh out loud, and reinforced my decision to have a C-section!
The middle of the book was preoccupied with making new Mums feel better about themselves. How, in this modern day we put so much pressure on ourselves to be SuperMums, to be able to earn our own money, do all the housework, be a ‘good’ mother, and basically have it all together. Is this state even attainable? Kate has also researched how notions of Mothering have changed over the decades and what the influencing philosphies have been at different times. I have the updated edition which was revised in 2008, but I feel that Kate could have also added the unrealistic celebrity-age that we live in now, where Jessica Alba, Katie Holmes and Miranda Kerr all attained the nirvana of completely natural childbirth, (yes, sarcasm) and would have us believe it was a beautiful spiritual experience with no drugs, just focused breathing and hardly any screaming. Then they have the gall to bounce straight back to pre-baby bodies and model for Victoria’s Secret six weeks after giving birth. (Heidi Klum – I’m talking to you)
It’s a great read, I recommend it to anyone who is pregnant, thinking about getting pregnant, or has just had a baby. You will nod and smile and feel forewarned once you’ve read it!