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Not a Mother

I am not a mother.

Although I like babies & children a lot (in certain contexts and quantities), there is a lot about childrearing and, more specifically, childbearing, that I do not know.

The joy (and sometimes doom) of having friends who are married and/or mothers means that sometimes I get to learn things I just didn't need to know.

And then I blog about them.

So if you don't need to know things about childbearing, I suggest you stop reading here.

Continue at your own risk. Content may be disturbing to some readers.

In the summer of 2008, my friend Vanessa was prego with her first baby. At the time, we were spending six weeks on a missions project in Calgary, and had lots of time to hang out and talk. I was there the first time she felt the baby kick. Sometimes we talked about the impending birth and the things she was learning about motherhood. One of the books she was reading was called something like The Mother of All Pregnancy Books or Things Your Mother Didn't Tell You...

She shared with me this anecdote from the book, and two and a half years later, I remember it almost verbatim -

You know, they say that when you give birth, you may experience a slight burning sensation...well, they lied. It's more like an ****ing blowtorch.


Yesterday I attended a baby shower and the mom-to-be was telling us about pre-natal classes.

Fascinating stuff that you learn there.

For instance, there are four options when it comes to cutting the umbilical cord:
  1. Clamp & cut it immediately.
  2. Wait until it stops 'pulsing' then clamp & cut.
  3. Wait until the placenta leaves the body, then clamp & cut.
  4. Wait for the body to reject it naturally. This involves carrying the baby & umbilical cord around STILL ATTACHED TO THE PLACENTA for roughly a week.**
** another attendee at this shower works in genetics research that uses placentas, and described the smell of a week-old placenta in overwhelmingly negative ways.

There are also many things that you can do with the placenta.
  1. Throw it away. Actually, they take it and incinerate it.
  2. Bury it and plant a tree on the site. You know have placenta-pears in honour of your son's birth.
  3. Keep it in a jar. Start teaching science & reproduction to your children at a young age. In their bedroom.
  4. Eat it. Apparently this helps ward off post-partum depression. You can send it away to have it dehydrated and made into pills, or, if you like to do things yourself, just pop it into a tasty placenta lasagna.

Now that I'm done throwing up in my mouth, I am rethinking all the daydreams and glamour of having a baby.

I think TV and the movies have done us a stark dis-service in the way they've cleaned up childbirth. Women used to know what they were getting into - they would have seen & heard it, and probably helped a time or two. At least with animals, if not humans.'s all a mystery.

And I'm being enlightened.


(for the record, I'm grateful that I have friends from whom I can learn these things sooner rather than later)


Laura J said…
the placenta is still attached to the baby via the umbilical cord, not the mother.
Beth said…
ha ha...yes. this is called a minor typo with a major difference...
Mindy said…
If you need a good abstinence tool, tell people to take a maternity course. It sure made me not want a baby for a long time. I must say though, watching someone give birth is quite a beautiful experience even though it still didn't make me want one, haha.
nadine said…
I. Am. Unafraid.

Although I do anticipate that my hypothetical firstborn's first heard word will start with F. And end with K.

P.S. Did you know that some mothers develop temporary osteoporosis during pregnancy/breastfeeding? The baby leaches calcium from your bones if there's not enough available otherwise. Crazy.
afro-chick said…
i echo nadine's thoughts.
i'm scurred that i'm going to have post-partum depression and it's going to be awful.

and EWWWWWWW to placenta lasagna.

Jill said…
placenta lasagna?!?


i think i prefer the Korean post-birth meal of seaweed soup.

i'm also grossed out by the idea of a 'pulsing' umbilical cord.

Beth said…
afro-chick: nadine actually said she was UNafraid...but i think she was saying that in an attempt to convince herself.
shellieos said…
Nevertheless, still kinda exciting....
It's My DLu! said…
where did you find that website with placenta recipes!?! hahaha ... that is one of the sickest things i've ever seen. isn't that cannibalism!?
Jesskah said…
Fish, you gotta print this stuff out and recite it on dates. It's just too good!
Beth said…
dlu - I googled "placenta lasagna" - God bless the internet...

jesskah - ok. sure. yeah, i'll do that...
paulman said…
Why would you not need to know such things? I feel like I need to know these things!

(primarily @Jill) Also, maybe the idea of a pulsing umbilical cord isn't that bad if you remember that it was there to transport blood to and from the baby in the first place. It's like the aorta from your heart, except between you and your baby. "Heartbeat" is another way to think of a "pulse".

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