Dig Baton Rouge

East of the River: TMBI

By Katie East

 
“As cultured as I think I am, I still long to imagine newborns like how they looked in 80s movies: clean, adorable, and two months old.”

Facebook started as a social media site exclusively for students. Now, everyone and their grandmother is on it. Literally. What’s even worse than Nana’s statuses are the pregnant friend Facebookers. I love a cute baby pic as much as the next human, but the possibility of gross birth images or diaper status over sharing is a constant threat nowadays.

Ah, the mommy bloggers. I agree with their practices in theory, and yet feel so differently about them in virtual reality. As cultured as I think I am, I still long to imagine newborns like how they looked in 80s movies: clean, adorable, and two months old.

As a child, I never babysat. Now, as an almost 30-year-old woman, babies are still confusing creatures to me. I was never one of those women that yearned to be a mother. Sure, I assumed I would have kids. I didn’t build my self-image based on if I would ever spawn or not.

Finally, I’m becoming an adult and learning about these baby things. My sister just recently had another baby, and I’ve heard and seen things I never thought I would. Just moments after the birth, I saw placenta whisked away to be turned into homemade vitamins. My brother-in-law simply put in a call, and the placenta mobile was on the way.

Rationally, I understand why consuming your own placenta makes sense. I’m sure it’s something we did in primitive times and have dropped as we “evolved.” I bet most modern-day moms are just throwing away vital nutrients. They could provide their babies with fantastic immune systems but society shuns it because it’s considered gross.

Emotionally though, I think it IS GROSS. Nausea isn’t something that you can rationalize; it just happens. For me, it often happens when hearing about placenta pills and seeing babies still attached to the cord.

I agree most of this fear of weird pregnancy rituals stems from how little we know or hear about birthing in general. As educated as we become as a country, childbirth is still one of those things that make even the most scholarly person cover their ears and shout “La, la, la.”

I don’t think the men folk should stay out in the waiting room smoking cigars and denying the anguish their loved one is enduring in the next room. Still, I think there should be a bit of mystery to labor.

I imagine childbirth is one of those things you don’t truly understand until it’s happening to you. Learning about it before going through it seems foreign to me. That’s like studying for a final when you have no idea what class it’s for.

Sure, I would like to be one of those women that know the ins and outs of what happens to my body; I assume it’s empowering. So far though, I assume my hormones are stemmed from a voodoo queen’s curses, and no one can convince me otherwise.

I’ve endured enough ailments in my life that I could accidentally recite a good percentage of the Gray’s Anatomy textbook by describing my medical history. Ask me about my period, though, and I sound like a newly single dad with a 13-year-old daughter.

Lady stuff is confusing.

In elementary school we had one day where we separated from the boys to have a presentation about our bodies. ONE DAY. Thirty years later, I’m still feeling the effect of that lack of education. All I remember is that tampons can kill you and soap can be used as shampoo, in a pinch.

As warranted as I think a woman’s knowledge about birth is, I find it somewhat creepy when the dad is super into birthing. I appreciate that women can actually share these details with their partners. Still, I think it’s weird when the dads get psyched about getting camera equipment involved.

Even worse, I sympathize with the poor children who are forced to later watch their sibling’s births on a color TV or iPad. Call me old fashioned, but I think the only thing that can come from that is court-ordered therapy sessions.

In this country, women have many options on how they deliver a baby; it’s a very personal choice and every woman is different. There is no “traditional birth” anymore. If you choose to go a more untraditional route though, please keep it off of Facebook. Some of us want to remain naïve to the horrors until we experience it ourselves.

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