I had a moment this morning at work. The birth unit was empty so I was resting on the couch at around 4am (good luck to anyone who tries to stay awake with no work to do). My eyes were closed, I was dozing then I heard a car pull up, I looked out the window and saw a woman in hard labour leaning over the car. Usually we get a bit of notice but not this time. Up I rushed, let her in, rapidly flicked on the bells and whistles we might need, tried to call the on call midwife as you need two at a birth (one for baby one for mum) straight to answer phone, so I kept going about my business supporting the woman. Her and I had a korero, we were cool, on the same page. She was as comfy as she was going to get. Birth was imminent. Breathing, surging, labouring, moving, shifting her baby down her pelvis. I was SO busting for a wee so dashed off and then noticed I had gotten my period. So unexpected as usually I have a long cycle (cheers synthetic estrogen). I've been using herbs and cleansing to ovulate more frequently as I want to ensure my fertility for later on (a different blog on that topic to come). But still it caught me by surprise. Anyhow, I sorted myself out, went back to the room, got hold of the second midwife who came into work in case I needed her, the woman birthed her baby and all was good. Perfect start to my day.
On my drive home I got thinking. As you do. I thought how cool my job is. What is cooler and more special than that?
I also thought how cool my body is. I have the knowledge to nourish it and it responds well. Bloody fantastic. I have this knowledge and can help myself (and you if you need it). My thoughts trailed on and I began thinking more about my fertility. I certainly am not trying to get pregnant right now but when the time comes and a little person decides to transcend down and make me a mum I want my body to be ready. That led me to think about all of the times some insensitive, self absorbed person has made a comment about my fertility. I then started to think about all of the other women I know who've also experienced this crap.
It astounds me that anyone feels the need to share their opinion on my uterus and ovaries. "You're leaving it a bit late aren't you?" "shit you better hurry up or you'll run out of time" "you better get on with it if you want more than one kid". The list goes on! How dare anyone make comments like that. It blows my mind. I'm 31 not 91. It also astonishes me that people feel the need to give a midwife and someone who studies physiology fertility advice. That's actually comical. I've had it from colleagues, friends, friends parents, acquaintances, strangers!
Another favourite of mine is when people feel the need to comment on other's relationship statuses. "Oh is she still single?" "hasn't she found a boyfriend yet" "doesn't she want to get married?" HOLY SHIT are you joking?? I've had those ones too. "You must be saving for a mortgage?" "are you waiting for marriage before you get pregnant? He better hurry up". Ooooh and these ones "aren't you having any more kids?" "You better get pregnant soon you don't want a big age gap".
Fucking shoot me dead. I wonder if those people EVER stopped to consider how that makes the person they're questioning feel? Perhaps they can't get pregnant, perhaps they're trying and you've just caused them a shit tonne of anxiety, perhaps they have a disease which prevents pregnancy, perhaps they've gone through 5 rounds of IVF and thought they were pregnant then they began to bleed the morning you asked them. Perhaps they're suffering secondary infertility, perhaps they don't want children, perhaps they choose other things for their life. Perhaps they don't even want to meet a partner! Perhaps they've met lots of potential partners but know that'd be settling for less than what they deserve. Maybe they don't want kids, a house, a mortgage and a picket fence. Who the heck said that's the only recipe for a happy life?
Surely it's much more interesting and kind to ask about someone's happiness rather than the status of their uterus and relationship?
This ideal seems so prevalent among New Zealanders especially.
Go to university, get degree
Wait one year
Wait another year
Fall pregnant again
All very well and good if that's what you choose for your life but why is that the expectation? Why do people feel the need to question it if it's anything other than that? Shit I know loads of people who've tested that recipe and are so unhappy. So why is that the norm?
I know at least one woman for every statement mentioned above. That means, I alone know 10 women that these bullshit statements have effected. Imagine how many we know collectively? Notice how I said women too? I have not heard the same of men. Coincidence I think not! A single, 38 year old male, working on his career would be considered successful, not unsuccessful just because his ejaculate hadn't resulted in conception.
Hence why I'm writing this blog I guess. I hope it'll get people making those remarks to pause and think for a moment. We don't have shriveled up raisins for ovaries, not all of our wombs are begging to be full, some of our wombs are begging to be full but it's just not happening and some of us choose different things. Don't measure our successes upon your basic yard stick. I can assure you if you do there'll be some swift education happening!
Now, me and my beautifully unoccupied uterus and abundant ovaries are off to bed x
(photos courtesy of Duvet Days)