When I was twelve, at the puberty milestone (a stage of growing up, not the local pub) a lady came to our school to talk to us all about tampons.
I can’t remember the speech she gave and as a lady in her thirties now I’m wondering how she stretched it out into a speech but I do remember the boxes of free tampons she handed out.
I couldn’t hold mine as I had all my fingers in my ears, loudly humming the tune to Grange Hill. But I do remember seeing one and being absolutely petrified.
As the lady told us calmly about how to use them I gave her a suspicious stare and told myself there aint no way in Hell anything like that was being inserted anywhere near me. Was she crazy? I felt much the same way when we went on to learn about penises the year after.
So you can imagine how I felt when someone told me where babies come from.
Last week I sat down to watch a lady on ‘This Morning’ talk about how she had an orgasmic erotic labour.
I thought I would hate her. Not my type of woman, I thought. But I didn’t hate her. I listened with interest, munching on my popcorn as Philip Schofield carefully danced around the intimate details of a lady having an orgasm during an erotic labour as though he was casually asking about the new series of Home Fires.
She seemed nice – and it’s lovely that she had such a lovely experience. Good for her.
At the end of the interview Phil asked if every woman had the potential to orgasm during labour (I’m paraphrasing) and the lady remarked on how there was a culture of deep imbedded fear around giving birth – which was the problem.
I’ve heard similar things before – that it’s what our bodies are designed to do, that we should breathe the baby out, that it’s oh so natural – you just need to be calm and at one with yourself.
Why am I writing this? Do I have a point? Well, I just wanted to say to anyone out there who may give birth in the future –
please don’t beat yourself up if you’re not the type of person who can achieve orgasm through giving birth.
Please don’t feel any pressure to make your labour erotic. Some people just aren’t that type of person – and that’s really ok.
I was terrified when I was induced. I was not the type of person to do hypno-birthing (more like hippo birthing in my case). Still now I would rather watch the human centipede part two rather than watch a lady give birth. But I got through it – twice.
There wasn’t a single stage that could have become arousing. I was under fluorescent lights, projectile vomiting, swearing at my partner to get me a bastard epidural in between listening to ‘I’m every woman’ on my iPod. To be honest I find it hard to ‘get in the mood’ under normal conditions, even imagining Michael Buble’s new Christmas album sometimes leaves me cold. It wasn’t sexy – it never was going to be – for me.
I’m not that type of woman. And if you’re not it’s ok.
There’s enough pressure nowadays for us to have a natural birth, to enjoy it, to treasure it, to do it drug free …
I don’t want anyone to feel added pressure to take in an Ann Summers goodie bag and a Barry White CD.
If you can do your labour, as she did, at home, in the dark, with her partner, all mermaid like – I genuinely applaud you – if you just aren’t built that way – I applaud you too.