Earlier today, I made it public on Facebook that I would be featuring the real birth stories of real women. By this, I don’t mean 16 and Pregnant stars or celebrities with their too posh to push sections, but real down to earth women. Births which are traumatic, births which are textbook, some with sad endings, most with happy endings.
The reason for all this, is because of books and magazines. They do not showcase the REAL experiences of women. Of course they don’t; they don’t want to scare the shit out of their readers! Birth is a very raw experience. You are brought to your knees (literally) and stripped of any facade. As a woman you are down to the bare bones of your emotions. The experiences written in the majority of baby books, magazines and leaflets are those of a mother going in smiling and looking pristine, and then holding a baby in a clean white blanket and looking healthy and serene.
The reality is far from it. Sweating, mooing (yes, mooing), moaning, screaming, exhausting, exhilarating, heart wrenching. All these words barely scrape the surface of labour, birth and the aftermath. So I decided it was about time women got to share their stories; blood, stitches, the lot!
Some very good women I know of have helpfully shared their story with photos, anecdotes and excruciating detail. These are not for the faint of heart, not for those who are looking solely for fluffy experience. These are for women who want a true picture of how labour can be, who want a raw insight to the realities of childbirth and who want to grit their teeth and go in eyes wide open and ready for whatever gets thrown at them.
Not all of the stories are of easy birth; there is one on the way of a shoulder dystocia birth from a very good friend of mine who is currently carrying a second little miracle, her son happy and healthy after a traumatic birth. Another friend has bravely posted the story of her little girl, who was born sleeping at 34 weeks gestation. These stories do not show serenity and candles and mood music. They show emotion and bravery and courage from women who have carried on and had another child despite the traumas of the past.
A lot of my friends have posted hard but amazing labours, with gorgeous little bundles to show off and quick exits from hospitals (rather like Sophie’s story!)
These are the women who should be looked up to and emulated. These are mothers. Real, uncut and ready for you to read. Go on. Have a look. You’ll be just as amazed as I am.