I have largely steered clear of the marketing machine that is baby books and magazines during my pregnancy. A number of people have told me that they offer conflicting advice and therefore hinder more than help. I am also lucky that I have a great doctor, who I trust completely to tell me anything I really need to know or worry about.
I was, however, given two books by my friend K who lives in Oz. She is a Brit, wonderfully practical in her approach to her two delightful daughters, and a rower to boot so I trust her judgement and the books have proved to be great. The books follow the format of most pregnancy books you can get, with a week by week or month by month review of what is going on. I have found both useful in different ways, and have not skipped ahead and pretty much read them at the appropriate time.
Last night I realised that with all the excitement of the waddle at the weekend, I had fallen behind my reading and so settled down in bed with the cat to read this week's update. This covered labour.
I know that Bump has to come out at some point, but I am convinced that there is some form of grand conspiracy to ensure that nobody actually tells you about what is going to happen until it is, quite frankly, too late to do anything about it. Dr D only told me about the process last week ("there's not much point before now"), no other Mum will tell you anything other than "you forget it quite soon afterwards", and the books don't cover it until week 35, as I am now finding out.
It is, being brutally honest, a horrible process. If ever there was an example of why Darwin got his whole theory so horribly wrong then childbirth is it. I can't believe that after millions of years of evolution there isn't a better way to do this. There is, quite simply, not an easy or pleasant way to give birth to the next generation. As I explained to the Boy in bed last night, who queried why I looked so traumatised after reading the relevant chapters, you are going to either rip, tear, be cut, fall apart or all of the above and there is nothing you can really do about it. Dr D even gave me a nice little demonstration of the need for cutting rather than tearing by punching his fist through a bit of paper (as if I couldn't imagine it without that helpful image!).
Leaving aside the fact of the bits "down there" and the stitches required afterwards, your body then turns into something that will hate you that bleeds, leaks and won't work for a good few weeks after the main event. All the while you are trying to "bond" with the very thing that caused you all this hassle in the first place. I will want to take to my bed and be tended to by nubile young slave boys, but just when I need to feel lovely again I will be up all night, tired, leaking (that whole bit really worries me), have engorged breasts and generally miserable.
Of course I then had the most hideous nightmares all night as a result of thinking about all of this.
Why, oh why, did I not read those chapters before I got pregnant.