I am Section Mum

“Are you hoping to do it properly this time?”

I kid you not.  This is what I was asked recently by another Soon-to-be Mum with whom I was having the “When are you due?”conversation.

She’d asked if this was my first.  I’d answered that it was number two.

“Me too” she smiled.  Then she asked if I’d had a tough time last time.  I replied that I’d had to have a planned section.  Her next line floored me.

“Aw, so are you planning to do it properly this time?”


Now in her defense, she was an absolute stranger, who probably didn’t intend any harm whatsoever.  I don’t think she even realised that she’d said it…but she had.

I smiled politely and said Goodbye.  As I walked away, my smile remained on my face, somewhat forced… I wasn’t quite sure whether I wanted to laugh or to cry.

Smug I-push-mine-out-Mum carried on, oblivious to the fact that she could have just offended or upset the other very pregnant lady.  I carried on about my day, and it was only when I was telling my friend about the conversation that evening that I realised that her comment was lingering in my mind.

The word “properly” has been bothering me since.

Because not only did it dismiss my first childbirth, it suggested that I did something wrong; that my first birth was improper.


Did she automatically assume that I was “too posh to push”?  Did she think that I asked to have my stomach sliced open and my baby lifted out by surgeons? Did she really class a c-section as a sub standard, improper way of delivering a child?  If she’s told that she needs to have one this time, is she going to say No because it’s not the proper way to do it?

What is the proper way?  I listen to conversations all the time about childbirth and babies.  There seem to be so many proper ways to do things.

Without medication.  With just gas and air.  With classical music on in the background.  Without bright lights and alarm.  Mammas who breathe through the pain are fantastic.  Those who refuse drugs are wonderful.  Those who have 60 hour labours are phenomenal. But those who take as much pain relief as we can have are equally as brilliant.

I don’t know of any new Mother who had Andy Peters standing waiting at the bottom of the bed to pin a Blue Peter Badge onto their properly born child afterwards.

I applaud and congratulate these warrior women, in the exact same way as I applaud and congratulate the woman who, for whatever reason, may it be medical, personal or indeed emergency, has to undergo the trauma of childbirth on an operating table.

A caesarean section is not what any woman anticipates when thinking of how their baby will be born. It’s terrifying.  It’s painful.  Your body goes through all of the same physical and indeed hormonal reactions to having just given birth as the body of a woman who has been lucky enough to give birth naturally.

There are stitches.  There is afterbirth.  There is pain…by God is there pain.

There is recovery time.  There are hormones.

But most importantly, with the help of some higher power and whatever wonderful staff that are on hand in the hospital, there is a baby.

And that is what childbirth, in any form, is about.

It’s about getting your precious little darling out of your big swollen tummy as quickly and safely as possible.  It’s about causing as little trauma as possible to your newborn, regardless of what your own body must go through.  It’s about love.

And there is absolutely nothing proper about any of it.

Every woman dreams of a quick, pain free labour and uneventful delivery.  How many do you know that have achieved that?  I’d love to meet them.

Of course I’d love to have experienced childbirth like most women do.  But do I feel like I have missed out on anything?

Erm, no.

Do I feel that my darling daughter is any less born than her friends or cousins?  Nope.

If my next child is born by VBAC, will that be more proper than Mini-me’s birth?  Eh…no!?

But If I do manage proper childbirth this time, does that mean I’m finally a real mum and that I can finally be admitted into the proper mum club? Well I think you know where I’m going with this!

I’m already a real mum.   I’ve already had a proper baby.  I’ve already been through the horrors of childbirth, perhaps just a little differently to others.

In the same way as some women judge others for not breast feeding, or for taking whatever drugs are safely available to them from the doctors, or for giving their baby a dodo/soother/pacifier, that lady judged me for having to have a c-section to bring my baby to me safely.

And of course she didn’t intend to offend, but when we so flippantly share our own opinions on bump and baby matters, (and we do!), we sometimes dismiss experiences that we have never had ourselves.

And we should consider that before we speak.

My experiences of pregnancy, birth and of being a Mummy are very different to every other Mummy’s experiences.  My experience isn’t exclusive.  There is no such thing as properly when it comes to being a Mum..

So if this time round, my consultant advises me that I should have another section, I’ll listen to her, because guess what? That’s her job.  She knows best and I trust her.  And because it’s my job too…the only job a mother has when they go into hospital, is to get their little bundle out of their belly!I

And I will happily hang upside down from the rafters, singing Jingle Bells, buck naked and high on horse tranquilizers if that ‘s what it takes to get my little one here properly.

I am Section Mum

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I am Spas and Chopsticks Mum

Once upon a time, in a land far away, Mammy went for a massage.
In Mammy’s many experiences of massages, this one was particularly memorable.
Mammy carries a lot of her stress and tension, not only in her wine glass, but sometimes in her shoulders. Every year, around the time where Mammy has finished marking eleventy squillion mock English papers while managing to direct and be in a musical, on top of working and you know, Mammying, my little shoulders tend to seize up and act the bollox.
It happens every year. And so THIS year, Mammy decided to meet the fecker head on by booking myself into a spa, far far away, for a deep tissue massage.
Hah! Take THAT shoulders. I shall go to the spa and have some handy genius “rub my cares” away as I hum to the tune of Fraggle Rock and then I shall leave, relaxed and glowing and detoximified and calm. I shall be so relaxed that when I meet my mates in the hotel bar afterwards, I shall consume only water to aid the detoxifying cleanse that the magic fingers shall have induced.
And then, I went.
Spas are funny places aren’t they? We’re spoiled here in Donegal in fairness, but in general, they’re weird.
Think about it.
You are ushered into hushed and candlelit darkness, with hissing things and smells popping from every corner. We tell ourselves it’s classy. In reality, it looks how a lap dancing club might look.
Then, we put on a robe and slippers which are way too big over our bathing suits. What do you wear to a spa? A costume gets wet and then it’s icky to get off and impossible to get back on if you’re in for a treatment. And let’s be honest, a bikini often requires a certain mood doesn’t it? As in an “I don’t give a fuck” mood.
Then you flip flop your way into a glorified swimming pool which farts bubbles sporadically and you try to be graceful as you descend into it, not having a fucking clue where the steps are. You try not to look out of place amongst the other spa-goers, who are obviously all pro at this crap.
The other spa-goers, already positioned in their bubble blower seats, look ahead, aloof and sophisticated and looking altogether “together”, with expressions of nonchalance and boredom that makes them look cool…as if they BELONG here, pretending not to see you but secretly thinking, “Do NOT sit beside me. Do not speak to me. I can’t look but I want to suss out whether you should be wearing that costume or not… fuck. Is that a bikini? Bitch. I should have worn mine. I could soooooooooo wear mine. Next time. Yeah, of course she sat beside me. I’ll have to move now… Must look composed. Must look suitably bored. Must not smile.”
And you sit among them, pressing random buttons and trying not to scream in fear as things start spurting at you. After a few minutes on sitting in the pool in which you can’t really swim, you get up and head for the steam room and sauna, wondering why the hell you bothered getting your cossie wet when realistically, 89% of your time in this thermal suite shall be spent in the dry rooms.
You sit in the steam room until you are medium-rare and then try to dry off in the sauna, wondering why the place has been decorated like a brothel might be. Red lights are not relaxing.

Red is not my colour…

And then you begin to wonder how long you have to wait until your therapist comes to save you. In this case, I was forgotton about and had to go find one. They’d forgotten me. No biggy… I was perfectly chilled after my hour in the steam room and red light district.
A massage will relax me eh?
Well. She was a lovely girl…
Let me sum it up for you in simple terms…
My “deep tissue massage” was a 15 minute head rub/hair pull followed by very strange and altogether frustrating rub on one side of my body because she couldn’t reach the other side and apparently didn’t know to move… It included random pinching of my skin as if she was using calipers to gauge my BMI and then, THEN… she started to slap my skin, up and down my back before doing CHINESE CHOPSTICKS on my sides…
If anyone had been watching my face through the head hole, I’d say they’d have had a laugh at my eyes popping open in shock!  I swear to God, I was waiting for Jeremy Beadle to jump out from the shower curtain with his camera.
Now, she wasn’t putting ANY pressure at all on my back so I figured she was doing very little harm, and by the time I’d plucked up the courage to tell her to stop the massage, she’d moved on to my legs and was doing a grand job chopping my arse. There was a bit more there for her pinchers too so she seemed happy enough.
“Was that OK for you?” Poor wee pet was so proud of herself and I was in a confused state of WTF. I grumbled something about getting a glass of water and headed back to the dressing room.
I’m not a complainer. I wasn’t going to say anything really but then I looked in the mirror.
My HAIR looked as if it had been backcombed ALL OVER. It was standing STRAIGHT UP all over my head. Forget Something about Mary, there was Something about Mammy and it was NOT good. I tried to brush it and Oh my GOD, Ladies I couldn’t get the brush through it. I couldn’t even get my fingers through it. No one should leave a spa looking like this.
I rarely complain. I hate complaining, but sometimes, it’d be wrong to leave without speaking up. I pulled on my tracksuit and headed to reception, where the manageress was absolutely wonderful and so very kind. In fairness, as customer service goes, I can’t fault her. However as spa treatments and relaxing evenings go… yeah, it didn’t.
I had to step into the shower and pour the full bottle of conditioner onto my hair to try to ease out the tangles. I pulled on my clothes to go for dinner.
I was first in the bar. Water my arse. I needed grapes.
My mates arrived, expecting to find me in a sleepy state of smug water consuming relaxation, all chilled and shiny.
They found me with a bottle of wine, three glasses and my hair fecked in a bun because I couldn’t get the brush through parts of it, even after the shower…
As for my back? I thought I was fine. Turns out I thought wrong. I’m currently being fixed by a lovely Physio, who actually snorted when I mentioned the Chopsticks.
My Mother’s Day Fizz was courtesy of painkillers.
But hey! Lesson learned.
My shoulders shall indeed fall to bits every March and Mammy should stick to the local, fablis and non-red-lighting spas I know.
They’re a whole lot less traumatic!

I am So Glad I Did

Mammy had a near birth experience on Friday.

Where did this happen? In the arms of Jim.

You see Mammy, being the turbotwat that she is, decided that yes indeed, of COURSE, she would take part in the current members’ challenge. Mammy is young and fit and as able as the other (actually) young and nimble Jim-goers she trains with.

Mammy is just as strong and hardy as the 20 somethings whose pelvises have yet to be battered by the joy of carrying their minions, and whose lady-bits don’t rebuke them for over exerting themselves with threats to pee, or you know, BURST, mid-burpee.

Yes. Of course Mammy could row 500 metres at great speed, for Mammy is a fucking legend. Mammy is also, a deluded twat.

And so Mammy sat her legging covered posterier onto the rowing machine beside one of her lovely training buddies. The crowd gathered around, most of them genuinely encouraging, some possibly hoping Mrs R would slide off the machine and land on her arse. Regardless, ALL were glad that the seats of both machines were inhabited by arses OTHER than their own.

And so began the row. “3,2,1 GO!” shouted Mr Fucking Motivator. We began our jaunt. “Go, go, go! Keep it steady. That’s good. You can do it. Pace yourself… “

In the midst of the calls and cheers from the onlookers, I can hear The Him in my ear. I can hear my comrade breathing beside me as she too realises after 100 metres that there is a very strong possibility that we are both going to require defibrillation after this. Peter, our lovely new other Mr Motivator is in her ear, muttering similar encouraging things to her…“You’ve got this. You can do it. That’s it. Good good good…”

“Pace yourself” mutters Him in my ear. (Him should know from experience that the words “Pace Yourself” might as well be “Here’s another bottle” to me.) Mammy does not know what these words mean.

And so Mammy tears on, partially determined to do this, mostly terrified of looking like a twat in front of all of these lovely peoples. “Shit” Mammy mumbles as the strap begins to loosen on her right foot. “Fix my right strap” Mammy gasps between rows. The Him begins to fix the left strap. “TheOTHERrightstrapyouTwat!” Mammy screams (in one breath!) Encouraging cheers now erupt in to laughter.

“Half way” announces Peter. He has to be joking obviously. We have by now, rowed the length of the fricken Irish Sea. We must have been going for 37 minutes.

“Faaaaaaack” I’m not sure if that was me or my lovely comerade beside me. We’re both struggling. I am now breathing like what I imagine a tortoise giving birth to an elephant would sound like.

I’m pretty sure that there are women who have given birth to triplets, each weighing 8lb+, without drugs, who have sworn less and breathed less than me. I sound like a foghorn. Like a Baby Walrus calling for his Mammy. Like a confused cow who’s just had its nipples clamped. It’s not good. My hands are so sweaty, I can’t hold the handle much longer.

“Nearly there!” calls The Him.

“I can’t do it. I’m done”  roars Mammy.

“No you’re not. keep rowing. Don’t you dare stop!” The crowd begin to roar and cheer as my buddy beside me glides across the 500 mark. I have about 50 metres to go apparently. I can’t feel my arms. My legs feel EXACTLY how they did those times I had epidurals. In fact, I’m pretty sure there are women giving birth in the nearby hospital with less sweat, swearing and tears than me right now. I can’t breathe. My chest is closing. My head is spinning. I may puke. I want to cry. The crowd are cheering and The Him is still whispering “Come on. You’re nearly there.” I want to kill him. I want him to shut the fuck up, and yet I hear only his voice as my body gives in to the last surges and I DO IT!

I hear myself let out a roar and I push through what can only be described as HELL to get that number to 0. I only know I’m finished because of the noise of my buddies. My body is numb. My head is spinning. I have just rowed for at least 94 minutes. I am a machine…

“Well done!” they chorus, laughing and clapping; energized by our race.

“Good woman” gasps my lovely rowing buddy, who is all her youthful glamour and beauty, is (I am glad to see) looking equally as fucked as I currently feel.

“That’s my girl” The Him whispers as I lie on the floor. (I will hurt him later, I think, when I regain control of my body.)

Turns out, my ordeal lasted 2 minutes 11 seconds. I’m pretty fecking proud of that!

Turns out, it’s really easy to give up and decide that I can’t do something.

Turns out that with the right voices in my ear and the right people around me, I can actually do anything I fecking put my mind to.

If he’d let me give up when I said I was done, I would have. I would have given up and thought that I just couldn’t do it. But I didn’t.

The human body is amazing, but the mind is so much more powerful. And stubbornness. Stubbornness and pride can help you across any finish line. 🙂

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I am Suddenly Remembering Mum

Women are incredible.

I think there’s a slight truth in the old myth that we can choose what we want to remember, and forget, about pregnancy and childbirth. Let’s be honest. If we couldn’t selectively block out things, there’s a good chance we’d all refuse to ever go through it again and we’d eventually run out of tiny humans on our messed up little planet. 🙂

Last night, I was reminded of one of the things about being pregnant that I have obviously blocked out, when my good friend who is expecting told me she’s off work with Pelvic Girdle Pain…


At the mention of it, I crossed my legs and stopped short of kicking The Him out of the bed and into the spare room, or dog box… or wherever!

Jeeeeeeeeeesus, even the thought of it as I type has my ovaries tying themselves in knots…

I remember the first day my Pelvic pain kicked in on my first pregnancy.  The Him and I had gone to Belfast to the Christmas Markets.  I was walking through the stands when I stopped in my tracks. I couldn’t physically move.

There and then, I was certain that had I taken one more step, my ladybits were going to end up on the ground. I felt like someone was sticking a burning hot poker into my pelvis. I was convinced that my entrails were about to be outtrails.


I scared the bejaysus out of Himself. I don’t really remember how, but he got me shuffled to the nearest taxi and back to the hotel. After a terrified phone call to my Midwife-on-call (or Aunty! I’m not THAT special. haha!), she calmed me down and prescribed a long sleep and a trip to the physio the next day.

Panic over and insides still inside, I did indeed relax, but did the pain go away? Did it feck!  I got an appointment with a physio next day and she gave me the most fablis, sexiful and incredible invention ever… a girdle belt.


It saved my ass.  Literally.  I wore it religiously, took smaller steps when walking and generally behaved my pregnant self, sleeping with a mahoosive pillow between my legs and following the physio’s advice. Thankfully, it didn’t get any worse.  Apparently it CAN get worse, a LOT worse.  I want to puke even imagining how it could have been worse if I’m honest. It was bad enough as it was!

It was horrific. The pain was shocking. The whole experience was enough to put me off ever wanting to experience anything like it ever again!


So yes, even typing this has my Ladybits throbbing in terror. I want to fly to England and give my buddy a hug.  Instead however, I’ll send her a virtual hug and remind her that it’ll all be worth it in a few months when she holds her wee munchkin in her arms.

I’ll also remind her that she’ll soon not even remember the pain she’s in right now…until someone reminds her of it in the future.

And that someone will NOT be me!

Now, it might be time to hit those Christmas Markets in Belfast again? And maybe this time I’ll get past the gate!