Sugar, Spice, and Everything Pink


It’s a humbling experience when you find out for the first time.  Will your world be filled with monster trucks, superheroes, and sports paraphernalia?  Will you instead find yourself shopping in the Barbie section and learning how to French braid.  Will your husband get to have the father-son relationship he fostered with his own dad?  Will you have a shot at the lasting mother-daughter connection you’ve been lucky enough to experience yourself?  Of course, the finding out is much more dramatic when you don’t have access to your own ultrasound machine.  My discovery moment involved taking multiple ultrasound photos at work and returning home to my husband saying, “Yep, still no penis.”

And so it was to be.  We are having a girl.  My mind races at the implications.  I’m having a daughter.  It means I may get to feel that unbreakable closeness I feel with my own mother.  It means there’s a chance she won’t grow up and move away (a little hypocritical of me to say – sorry Mom).  Maybe she will spend more time with us than the in-laws.  At least I won’t have to worry about her marrying some ditzy blonde bombshell without a head on her shoulders – well, maybe.

It also means I’ve got my work cut out for me.  Being a tomboy growing up, I know a lot more about Terminator action figures than I do Strawberry Shortcake.  It’s going to be a tough road to adulthood.  I’m sure I’ll have to learn the difference between a plié and a tendu when she wants to sign up for ballet instead of karate.  I’ll have to refrain from making sarcastic comments when she prances around in that pink tutu with the ruffles above her butt.  There are also a few things she will have to learn.

She will learn very quickly to ask another adult besides her mother to do her hair.  She will most likely become familiar with the entire catalogue of Metallica and The Beatles.  She will come to understand that asking her Mom to mend her torn doll clothes will also get her nowhere.  She’ll have far more luck asking Dad to get his sewing kit out (thank God for boy scouts). She will have a cultural awareness of all the great movie comedies and be able to quote them verbatim (most likely at an inappropriate age in the middle of an embarrassing dinner party).  There’s a real possibility that despite her gender she will have a running knowledge of firearms, Star Wars, and Superman villains.  What can I say?  Her father has his charms.  She may be a pretty little princess when she’s young but someday she’s going to be a woman and it’s up to me to make sure she becomes another addition to the many intelligent, graceful, hilarious women already on the planet.

So, Emma, here’s my promise to you.  You may be able to name all of the power puff girls by the time you’re six, but not before you know the names Harriet Tubman, Mother Theresa, and Eleanor Roosevelt.  You may ask for the $100 American Girl doll that serves as another way for corporate America to take advantage of the average consumer.  Heck, you may even get one.  But when that thing loses an arm, don’t think for one second we are sending it to the “American Girl Hospital” and paying for it to be repaired.   We’re going to send it to an even better place, called Dad’s garage, where you will learn a lesson in the resilience of duct tape and the financial benefits of being crafty.  When your teacher asks you who your heroes are you will name someone worthy instead of whoever the latest Hannah Montana Disney darling is.  Trust me, when that tween grows up, you’re going to want to change your answer anyway.  You will know what the U.N. stands for before you know what a mani-pedi is.

Who am I kidding?  I’m sure five years from now when we’re trolling the supermarket aisles you will reach for the newest addition of what looks like a dominatrix wrapped in plastic and exclaim, “Ooh, pink! Pretty!  Can I have her Mommy please?  She would be perfect to marry Frat Boy Ken I have at home. After I paint her toenails, of course.”

pole dance

Unnatural Childbirth

Alien Stomach AcheWARNING: May contain graphic imagery that will haunt your dreams.  Side note: This warning only applies to men.  In my experience women can handle their shit.

Being 20 weeks along now I can’t say I’m surprised that the subject of childbirth has found its way into my everyday conversation more than once.  In fact, with just a few more sessions of Mommy talk I might feel qualified enough to approach a total stranger and tell her everything she’s doing wrong with her newborn. That’s how you know you’ve graduated right?

In all seriousness, I actually can’t stand the judgmental Mommy wars that start with “You don’t use cloth diapers?,” and usually end with “What do you mean you still work?”  I’d like to think I’m more of a believer in the to each his own credo.  Any day that the kid isn’t electrocuted is a win in my book.  Of course, I am still a newbie.  Give me time to form my unflinching opinions and maybe then I’ll fly off the handle when I hear that some other woman chose to do something different than me.

There is one subject, however, that I do have a pretty firm opinion on right out of the gate.  To be clear, the following analysis of said opinion is not meant to persuade other women to agree with me.  It’s simply an examination of why their opposing view is stupid.

That’s right ladies, I’m talking about the age-old debate regarding “natural” childbirth.  I would like to know the term for the other type of childbirth.  Surely, there are some that might call it the “drug-infused, failure-as-a-mother, numbing baby water slide.”  However, I prefer the term “medically advanced childbirth for the non-insane.”

Now normally, I’m a pretty forgiving person that would agree to disagree in most debates.  But, being a member of the medical community (and having a brain), I find it very difficult to wrap my head around the idea of a “natural” birth.  Let’s explore, shall we, just why on earth a person would desire such a thing:

  1. Most mothers who have had a natural birth and recommend it to others claim that there is a special connection you feel to your baby and the whole process.
  2. Some claim that we’ve been doing it the “natural” way for years.  Why stop now?
  3. Some mothers state their fear of needles and/or the possible negative effects of an epidural.

Now to explain why all of that is hogwash.  Firstly, that “special connection” that you feel during a natural childbirth – yeah, it’s called pain.  This is the same connection you could feel with your tooth if you asked your dentist to perform your root canal the “natural” way with no anesthetic.  Don’t you find it odd that in every other medical procedure (some far less serious and painful than childbirth) we are automatically given some form of numbing agent and/or pain reliever? According to webMD, the uncomfortable procedure of undergoing a colonoscopy is aided quite a bit by modern medicine:

The doctor will gently put a gloved finger into your anus to check for blockage. Then he or she will put the thin, flexible colonoscope in your anus and move it slowly through your colon. During the test, you may get a pain medicine and a sedative put in a vein in your arm (IV). These medicines help you relax and feel sleepy during the test. You may not remember much about the test.

Did you catch that last part?  People who undergo a colonoscopy (e.g. 1 cm flexible scope vs. 10 cm non-flexible baby head) are given not only pain medication, but also sedative agents that help them forget the whole traumatic experience.  I propose that anyone who touts the benefits of natural childbirth must experience all other medical procedures the natural way so as not to look like a hypocrite – starting with root canals and colonoscopies.

Secondly, there are many, many medical procedures that one could claim have been done a certain way until recently.  That’s called progress.  Now if you would like to could go back to amputating limbs with hacksaws and whiskey be my guest.  Perhaps a good blood-letting from some local leaches could cure you of that fever.  But, hey, it’s your choice.  If you want a natural birth because it’s been safely done for years and years than commit to an actual natural birth.  Forget the hospital. Forget the OBGYN.  Set up a corner in the dirt floor of your log cabin and call the nearest veterinarian, dentist, or blacksmith while Pa fetches some water from the well.

Lastly, for the mothers who spent far too much time browsing the internet for negative side effects of epidurals, I urge you not to look up the negative side effects of anything else ever.  It’s much easier to go through life without worrying about the slightest possibility of cancer from your cell phone or microwave.  Have you ever looked up the plastic content in tea bags?  That one will throw you for a loop.  Perhaps with all of the folly in modern science you would prefer to rent out that log cabin when pregnant woman #2 is done with it.

If it’s the giant needle that is scaring you away from what will most likely be the most alleviating experience of your lifetime, just remember that you are instead choosing to suffer through every contraction, every twinge of pain, and every scrape and cut that that baby makes on its way out – and it has fingernails.  Also, don’t forget about the much smaller needle that you will certainly feel when it’s all over and the doctor is sewing up the most sensitive tissue in your body in an attempt to put everything back in its place rather than leaving you with one hole where there used to be two

So, please, spare me the lecture.  Obviously I’ve thought this through.  When that nurse asks if I’ll be getting an epidural I will look deep into her eyes and say, “Fuck Yeah!”