Posts Tagged ‘birth’

This blog post is not for the faint of heart. If you’re squeamish, stop reading now. Seriously. Okay, you’ve been warned.

As I’ve documented before here and here, I’m pretty clueless and a bit delicate when it comes to the realities of childbirth. Pregnancy does things to a body, and they’re not always pretty.

(But I *am* looking forward to seeing Gilly in her maternal bloom. That will be beautiful. Seriously.)

I’ve been following American Baby on Facebook for several weeks now. They post good stuff there, and do a great job of engaging their readers. Then they posted this story and I almost vomited in my mouth a little. Then I clicked on the link, and up it came. (Okay, seriously, this is your last chance to turn back.)

A woman pushes a lot of things out of her body during childbirth, and only one of them is a bundle of joy. So why on earth would any mother eat the placenta?

This is a zinnia we grew in our garden. Isn't it pretty? It's much nicer to look at than a placenta. But if you really want to see that instead, click on the image above.

The article states that most mammals eat their placentas after giving birth. I don’t have the science to back me up, but casual observation has also revealed that many animals also eat their own sh*t and vomit.

The article mentions that the placenta is high in iron, vitamins, and hormones. So are a bar of steel, a bunch of broccoli, and a monthly dose of Yaz, but I’d only consider eating one of those things.

Some places will grind it up into pill form for you. Others will serve it with ginger, lemon and a jalapeno pepper.

One woman mentions that it gave her the “wildest rush.” Call me crazy, but when I want a rush, I think all in all I’d rather ride the Thunderbolt, run with the bulls in Pamplona, or take a taxi ride in New Delhi.

If you peer beyond the ick factor, doesn’t this all smack of a wee bit of auto-cannibalism? Should mothers really be setting their inner Hannibal Lecter loose so soon after childbirth?

What’s next in the placenta craze: a cookbook, a restaurant, or a show on Bravo? Because if I see a fried umbilical cord challenge on Top Chef, I think I’m going to lose more than this afternoon’s lunch.


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Lulu in the Hat

“Dignity belongs to the conquered.” –Kenneth Burke

So I have been a presence on many baby blogs and pregnancy websites as part of the pre-baby research. Perhaps this has not been the best idea, as now I am thinking of shutting this baby project down and calling it “a moment of insanity.”

As far as pregnancy goes, the final straw, among the list of indignities one must suffer to bear a child, is post-partum hair loss. Blogs and various sites on the interwebs have indicated that this is serious hair loss, resulting in bald patches. Hair loss so embarrassing that many new moms opt to stay home. But don’t worry! They say. It stops falling out in 6 – 12 months! And your bundle of joy is worth it! Is it really worth it? (correct answer) Or is this just an instance of going through hell and back, so one feels like they have to say it was worth it? (cynical-ass answer)

These days, there seem to be so many childbirth options: meds, no meds, some meds, midwives, doulas, doctors, C-sections, silent births, water births… Typically new parents devise a birthing plan which includes a best-case scenario plan and options in the event things do not go as planned. If we ever get to this point, I will say, I would like the childbirth with dignity plan, please. But I’m pretty sure that isn’t an option…

I guess I will always have my usual go-to when dignity is flagging — humor. I can always laugh it off or find something else to laugh about. But pregnancy doesn’t even let you do that properly. Pre- and post-partum incontinence is an issue for some when a sneeze or burst of laughter hits. Looks like my silver lining just turned golden.

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Is there a role – aside from the obvious one – for a man in a couple’s pregnancy?

As we began this blog and started sharing this journey with friends and strangers alike, we have had dozens of women step forward and pull back the curtain, revealing the mysteries, sharing their stories and experiences. At the same time, however, our male friends have greeted us with a nearly overwhelming silence. The only comment, a simple question: “So, are you two pregnant?” And that is that, the beginning and the end of male discourse.

This has left me wondering: Is a pregnancy simply “woman’s work”? Are our gender roles ingrained in us so deeply that we accept that this is as it should be? Do men not belong? Or do we not want to belong?

Or is it more than that – a primal feeling of helplessness born out of our inability to experience what a woman experiences?

At first, I chalked this not-so-surprising lack of reaction up to a simple case of male apathy, but now I’m not so certain. After all, women, for their part, seem to be complicit in this arrangement. This morning, during the course of a routine physical, I mentioned to a female nurse that we are TTC and asked if there was anything I should do to prepare. Her advice: Just eat right and exercise.

That’s it?

And while perhaps that really is all that is needed to prepare for conception, I expected more – and find myself wanting more. I want to know what my role will be and what I should do to prepare for it.

In the end, does a man’s role simply begin with conception, resuming only after – pregnant pause – he assumes the mantle of fatherhood?

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I’m a toe-dipper. When it comes to testing the waters, I like to take it easy and go slowly. It’s not something I’m necessarily proud of, but it’s something that I’ve grown accustomed to being. I like to weigh my options, contemplate them, then weigh them again.

But I realized, when it comes to being a parent, there’s no getting your toes wet. Just as there’s no “maybe” in pregnancy (you either are or you aren’t), there’s no “maybe” in becoming a parent. There’s no trial offer, no refunds, no returns, and there’s definitely no turning back.

Together, we’re going to document what it’s like to become first-time parents. I expect there will be missteps, sidesteps, and occasional detours. But there’s one thing I’m certain of. There’s only one way to go about becoming a parent–if I’m going to become a parent for the first time, I know I’m going to have to learn how to take the plunge.

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People are always talking about the “miracle of birth.” As neither of us have gone through this process, we remain skeptical. Skeptical, but not dismissive, especially since we are hoping to embark on this journey together.

The old dictionary definition  defense against the “miracle of birth” is nothing new. In fact, it seems beneath us to stoop this low and engage in this argument, but we feel we must. So let’s just get this over with.

Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a miracle as 1: an extraordinary event manifesting divine intervention in human affairs; 2 : an extremely outstanding or unusual event, thing, or accomplishment. Obviously, our stubborn atheist, Patrick, takes issue with the first definition. There is no arguing with him, so let’s just compromise by accepting definition 2. Um…according to the CDC, there were 4,131,019 births in the US in 2009. That is about 11,318 births per day. How extraordinary or unusual is an even that happens, on average, 11,318 times a day? Bam!

Was that as unsatisfying for you as it was for us? Obviously, plenty of people are fully aware of the number of births daily/monthly/yearly, yet the “miracle” label persists. We want to find out why. This is a blog in which we, not-yet pregnant but trying, will attempt to understand what this miracle label is all about.

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