Here at Ladyland we’re all about keeping it real – and while those of us who have experienced the sublime highs and horrendous lows of motherhood would never, ever want to scare our childless sisters away from breeding, it’s high time we talked about the less glamorous side of pregnancy and motherhood. Because, on Mother’s Day, we should remember it’s not all about looking like you’re ‘glowing’, ‘blooming’ or being a ‘supermum’: it can be the most challenging job a woman will ever do. Besides, one day all the bonkers stuff you endured will be a funny anecdote and not a traumatic moment in your history that sends you into foetal position just thinking about it. Right? Right???
Cankles. One day during your pregnancy you’ll look down and scream because one of your ankles has been absorbed into what is now a giant calf with some toes at the end. If you’re lucky, it’ll happen to both, for the sake of symmetry.
The NHS-approved method of helping to prevent tearing and therefore stitches to your nethers (yes, you read that right: tearing and stitches) is to practise the gentle art of perineal massage. This involves both internal and external massage of the area between your vagina and anus, and is best executed with trimmed nails, and yes, by your partner. Got that? Good. Let’s move on…
There is no modesty on the road to motherhood. Prepare for students walking through theatre while you’re in stirrups, midwives scrutinising your pantyliners or, if your labour is as exciting as mine, three doctors rummaging around in your cervix. Nobody will bat an eyelid, and nobody will care about the state of your ladygarden.
Fun fact: breast milk doesn’t just come out of a neat little hole in your nipple – it comes out of hundreds and thousands of holes you never knew existed, spraying your baby in the eye and sometimes fellow cafe-goers.
And while we’re on the subject, if your baby is feeding on your left boob, your right boob won’t realise it’s supposed to be taking a coffee break. This is where you find yourself wrangling a baby in one hand while using your other to try to catch the crazy spray of milk in a bottle (or you might just end up shoving a bottle down your bra).
Post-birth, you WILL wet your pants when you cough or sneeze. Do your kegels or risk turning into a Tena Lady advertisement.
If you have a baby girl, you will be faced with the potentially cringe-worthy conundrum of what to call her vagina. If you have a baby boy, be prepared for a whole lot of penis-grabbing and toddler erections.
Your darling offspring will never know just how fiercely, how overwhelmingly and how heartbreakingly you love them. Until they have kids of their own one day and feel compelled to apologise for everything they’ve done to you – suckers!
Happy Mother’s Day to all the amazing mamas!