Birth, Beyoncé and a bad choice of bra
5th August 2013
Yippee yippee it’s time for our monthly guest blog, from YOU – our favourite people. So for August sit back and enjoy the always-fabulous Kate’s story………
“There is a photograph of Beyoncé that was released shortly after the birth of her daughter, Blue Ivy. She looks beautiful, composed and blissfully happy – every inch the Most Fabulous Woman in The World. There is a photograph of me in recovery an hour after my son, Oscar, was born. I look like Beetlejuice in a cheap nightie and that’s being kind.
Things started off in a very simple fashion. My first trimester was uneventful apart from a ropey fortnight, when all I could eat was Sugar Puffs and Hula Hoops and developed a strong aversion to men’s deodorant, narrowly avoiding vomiting over several colleagues. The second trimester was a breeze and by this stage I had convinced myself that I could just ‘crack on’ with birth and armed with a pragmatic attitude towards pain, I would emerge the other side as a serene superwoman.
Unfortunately my body had other ideas and the third trimester never quite felt right. As D-Day neared, we were spending an increasing amount of time in Triage. I think I knew deep down that the final act was not going to be straight forward but I kept nurturing the ideal. In the end, labour and birth was a blur of Pethidine, gas and air and panic. All I can really remember is regretting the decision to wear an extremely ill-fitting bra and trying not to laugh as I was instructed to pose like an ‘angry cat’ to enable the insertion of the spinal anaesthetic. As each of the theatre staff politely introduced themselves, I silently willed them to hurry up with the C-section and get Oscar out.
I didn’t expect to be spending almost a week in hospital and naively had no grasp of the fact that staff would not be aware of the difficulties surrounding Oscar’s birth. The first time I had to ask a midwife to help me care for Oscar because I was unable to move, the look she gave me left me feeling like Mariah Carey, demanding that the cubicle be decked out with crystals and white doves. I soon learnt that clear communication was imperative and I had to be upfront about what I needed and why to preserve my own sanity and that of the staff. Five days’ worth of beige food later and we were allowed home.
I had pictured myself post-birth, strolling through the park for hours on end, looking and behaving pretty much like I did before. The reality was that the first time I left the house I could barely make it round the block. I subsequently undertook similar trips with poo on my leggings, wee on my top and vomit on my shoulder. On one particularly frenetic occasion, I accessorised with all three on the same day.
I didn’t anticipate how much I would need other people and the positive impact of their love and encouragement: the fellow mummies I met through The Baby Journey with whom I have laughed like a drain over poo mishaps and the insanity of sleep deprivation; the long-term friends who have reminded me of who I was before; the family members who have told me not to be so hard on myself; and the husband who tells me that I am the best mummy in the world.
I had many preconceptions about birth and motherhood and I don’t regret having unrealistic ideals. They have faded now that Oscar has brought me moments of happiness that I never could have imagined. I didn’t envisage singing Oscar songs about stars and snot. I didn’t picture myself looking at leaves with him in the garden and then going back inside to read a story about monkeys. I had no clue as to how big and utterly immeasurable mama love would actually be. I am no Beyoncé in either looks or talent but when Oscar smiles at me, I feel like the Most Fabulous Woman in The World. I didn’t anticipate that and my heart feels like it will burst, every time it happens.”
Gorgeous! Thank you Kate. And for the record ladies – you all look radiant after your babies arrived, Beyonce’s got nothing on you!
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