Because I’ve decided to have a baby at some point, I figured I should learn more about birth. I mean, really, I should learn more about babies and toddlers and children and whatever they turn into after that, god help us, but that all seems so far away, and so much less frightening. So I started googling, and I ended up watching a bunch of videos of women giving birth. In giant tubs, by the side of the bed, on the bed, and sometimes in the bathroom.
You have to understand, I am squeamish.
Once my mom took me to see a special film about surgery at the science museum, because she thought it would be educational and interesting, and I thought it looked like a bunch of spaghetti at first, but it turned out that, no, it wasn’t, and then I thought I was going to barf. For the next, say, ten years, when I wasn’t having nightmares about being eaten by a tyrannosaurus rex (my little brother was obsessed with dinosaurs), the horrifying image of exposed guts played vividly through my dreams.
“Your father will die,” the surgeon was telling me, “Unless you restore his tomato sauce levels! You have to reach into the abdominal cavity! Quick, quick!”
The What’s Happening To My Body Book for Girls said to take a hand mirror and pull back the labia and check out the opening of your vagina. I skipped that step. My vaginal opening and I have a cordial, mutually respectful relationship. We send holiday cards. We don’t feel the need to get too much closer.
But there are some steps I don’t want to skip, so I’ve decided to face them.