MAJOR DISCLAIMER: This article is about child-birth. If you are squeamish, uncomfortable or you don’t care for the process of creating life – well, I can’t tell you to not to read on, but please bear with us, mbok.
I have a few friends who are mothers who take pleasure in telling me all the garish things in store for me when I finally decide to pop one out. *side-eyes at all of you*
The way they describe what child-birth/pregnancy is actually like eh, na wa o. Fear catch me na. That was how, one day, my cousin (who was 8 months pregnant at the time) called me into the room and said, “Isio come and see something…”
Me too I marched there like a hibiscus plant. I said, “Wozz dat?”
She said, “See…” She showed me her thighs laughingly. “See these things?”
“Iyeeeee!” I gasped in sudden breath. “What is it?”
“This is what happens when you get pregnant. They just pop up!” she laughed heartily. She didn’t really seem to mind them. My brain tried to process what it was, it is hard to explain, but I think it is what oyinbos call varicose veins. They look like the pathway a river makes through the earth just before depositing itself into the ocean. Yeahhhh, exactly like that. *flying off to go check google images* Yep, that’s what it is. Varicose veins.
My cousin was still laughing at me, “Ahhh, Isio relax. Mine is very, very mild compared to other people’s own. At least I don’t have the expanded nose, swollen feet, burnt complexion or stretch-marks.”
I was still dazed. All I could think of to say was, “Did you put shea-butter on it?”
She gave me a full burst of laughter and a shoulder-squeeze in solidarity. She picked up her bag and left the house for work, leaving me still standing there like a hibiscus plant.
Ahhhh, my friends and family… You all should stop scaring me biko. Then they say things like…
“Olympus must surely fall after child-birth!” WHATTTTTT?! Why?
“It gets so full with miliki you have to pump it out because it HURTS!” Ewoooooo!
“Stretch-marks… Ahhhhh, stretch-marks all over.” Tufiakwa. Shea-butter to the rescue.
“Your belly-skin will stretchhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh so much it will itch like crazy. But please try not to scratch it, eh?” Can I put shea-butter on it? In my mind, shea-butter cures everything.
“The hanging belly-skin after child-birth. It’s like a kangaroo pouch but don’t worry. You will forget about it every-time you hold your baby.” But… can’t I put shea-butter on it?
“Forget sleep. Babies cry a lot.” Choiiiiii!
“The baby will unexpectedly bite your nipple if you are still breast-feeding it and its front teeth are out. It is very painful. You will scream, but don’t worry”. Ouch, that’s not right at all.
“You will have to suck out the catarrh from the baby’s nose.” That one will never happen. Lai lai!
“But delivery day nko? My labour was 18 hours! I had to push and push!” *I start to bite my nails*
“The pain is out of this world. Take your worst period pain, multiply it by 1 million.” But what about epidural?
“Hmmmmn. Epidural?! You really want someone to chook a BIGGGGG needle in your spine? If they do it wrong, that’s permanent paralysis o!” Yeeeeeepa!
“If you go and eat too much during your pregnancy and your baby is large, know say na one–chance you don enter…” What, why?
“Hmmmmmmn. There is a very high possibility that the doctors will cut your cha-cha open.” Cut ke? With what?
“With a scissors. A special one… very sharp. They will just do like this…” (Then one uses her hands to simulate a scissor-cut) “One, two…” Ughhhhh… (I draw back in terror) That’s just wrong.
“Then just pray the baby is in the right position. Or the doctor will have to chook his whole hand inside and turn the baby around.” Whatttttt? NO WAY?! That actually happens?
“See you! Of course it does. And what I am surprised is that no one has told you that at some point, during labour, when you are pushing and pushing… You will not know when you will soil the bed. I mean igbe – in case you think I mean something else… Just like that, poop! It’s out.”
“Awwwwwwwwchhhhhh! Ayama!” I was 100% horrified at this latest revelation. No wonder they saved it for last.
“Whatttttt?” they continued. It’s normal jo. You won’t care at all. The labour pains are sooooo intense that you would give anything just to have the baby out of you, and for the pain to stop. And after that, its bliss. You hold your little one in your arms…” They sigh and smile at the beautiful memory of their little ones before plunging into more terrifying details…
“Oh, but you are not out of the woods yet. You still have to wait for the stiches used to sew back your cha-cha to heal…” Sew the cha-cha? What do you mean – someone actually puts a needle and thread to sew the cha-cha?! Anyone who has ever had that place waxed and then tweezed to perfection can relate to JUST HOW PAINFUL IT IS! WHYYYYYYY WOULD YOU THEN SEW IT?! I start shivering.
They continue, “You still have to go home and sit on hot water for a while so that everything will come out.” I still don’t understand. What is everything?
“And you still have to tie your stomach if you want your stomach to be flat again.” Why do I have to tie it? Girdle nko?
“No girdle. It’s not the same. Traditional method is better. Use three wrappers. One up, one down, one in the middle, tied tighttttttttttttttttly! You will definitely need your mother.” You think?!
If their goal was to scare me half to death, they succeeded. Then, I said, “Well, maybe I would have a Caesarean then. It seems easier than what you guys just described…” I did not anticipate the horror the idea of a Caesarean would invoke in my friends.
“Caesarean ke? It is very bad, and worse!” How?
“What about the scars? The pain? You may be bed-ridden for a while! No Caesarean o! It’s not the same. Child-birth is about feeling it! With Caesarean you may not heal. You cannot exercise. All the things you could do to get your body back you may not be able to do. Plus C-Sections can go awry, it’s better you get an epidural, my dear.” Epi-kini? So that one doctor will now kukuma slice the cha-cha very well just because down-below is numb. Mba o.
And that was how the debate started. Traditional versus Caesarean.
For those who have had children, what is so good/bad about the traditional method, and what is so wrong/good about Caesarean? Please help us decide, biko. Enlighten us. How was it for you? What did you choose? Did you have a choice? Did you choose a Caesarean to save the cha-cha? Or did the Doctor’s sewing it make it better? Lastly, on a scale of 1-10, how painful is it, really?
Mwaaaaaaaaaaaaaah! My lovelies.