Welcome to my new series: Not Everything is Black and White.

Freezing a moment, or taking a photograph, can reveal how rich reality truly is. In this moment you can almost see the humanity, and when you revisit the moment it can feel completely different to how you were actually feeling at that time. It’s so grey, literally and metaphorically.

So I wanted to start a series where bloggers can share these #grey moments, either through a photo or a story, or both. If you’re interested in being apart of the series, find out more here, and email me at admin@themumproject.com

For the first post of the series I would like to welcome one of my favourite bloggers…..The Squirmy Popplea cheese-loving new-ish mum’s attempt to tackle the (mostly) funny side of parenting, with the occasional rant about feminism and politics. 

I love the photo and story she sent in, it’s absolutely gorgeous and she writes a beautiful letter to her daughter.
I think giving birth is one of those grey areas – obviously you’re happy to meet your baby at the end of it and relieved the whole thing is over, but you’re also exhausted, in pain, overwhelmed and probably pretty gross.

Dear Popple,

I’ve seen lots of people share their birth stories on their blogs, so I’ve decided to write yours down in case you’re ever curious.

It was 2am. I woke up with cramps but I didn’t think much of it, since I’d been having Braxton Hicks (‘practice’) contractions for weeks at that point and they hadn’t led to anything. I tried to fall back asleep, but the cramps kept coming at regular intervals.

“Holy s**t,” I thought. “This might be it.”

I went into the spare room to get Daddy. (He was sleeping in a separate bed because I was using a pregnancy pillow that took up three quarters of our bed.)

“I think I’m in labour,” I said.

“Harrmgh,” Daddy said, because it was about 3am and he was very tired. Still, he got up and went into the living room with me, where we turned on the TV and started watching Saved By the Bell. Saved by the Bell is a TV show from the early 90s about teenagers who wear horrible neon clothes and get into G-rated high school capers. It was the perfect show to watch while in labour because it required absolutely no thinking whatsoever.

“Why don’t you make some flapjacks?” said Daddy. At our antenatal class, the instructor had suggested making flapjacks during the early stages of labour to distract ourselves as well as give us something that we could eat later to give us energy. Daddy liked this idea because it meant that he would get to eat flapjacks too.

“I’m not making flapjacks,” I said, because the last thing you want to do when you you feel like someone is squeezing your uterus is bake.

“You need to eat something,” he said, so I grudgingly ate a protein bar and went back to watching Zack and the crew. I felt kind of okay, actually. The contractions felt like mild period cramps, and I figured if this was what labour was like, I didn’t know what all the fuss was about.

I texted Grandma and she came over. By that point, the cramps were getting worse. I phoned the hospital. They encouraged me to labour at home for as long as possible, reminding me that if I went in and wasn’t dilated enough, they would send me home.

I got off the phone and tried to relax, but felt like someone was punching my inside lady parts repeatedly. Twenty minutes later, I phoned them back and told them I was coming in.

I’d had visions of walking to the hospital to have this baby. It was only a 10 minute walk away, so there was no reason not to, right? I’d told my midwife this and she’d made a face.

Now I knew why.

Daddy, Grandma and I took a taxi to the hospital and I was sent to the assessment room, where a nurse hooked me up to a heartbeat monitor and left the room. By now I was in A LOT of pain. I called her back in and begged for pain relief.

“I can give you some paracetamol,” she said.

I stared at her blankly. Really? There’s a person inside of me who’s trying to squeeze their way out, and you want to give me f***ing PARACETAMOL?

“Are you going to take it? Because if you’re not, I need to take it away,” she said.

I took the paracetamol.

She brought in an exercise ball for me to sit on and my waters broke all over it. The water was brownish, which I knew meant you had done a poo inside me – your first act of defiance.

The nurse wheeled me up to the labour ward, where I began several hours of intense labouring. I wish I could say that I handled it like a boss, that labour was a spiritual experience that helped me fully embrace my womanhood, but I can’t. I was really bad at it. I lay there on the hospital bed, desperately sucking on gas and air and moaning with my bits on display for all to see.

“You’re doing great,” the midwife kept telling me, but that was a lie. I could not get you out, despite my best efforts to push like I was taking the biggest poo of my life. I announced that I was giving up many times.

She brought in a second midwife to play bad cop. “You can do better than that. Come on! Push harder!” she barked.

It didn’t work. I had no energy. I should have made those flapjacks.

I wondered if they would just cut you out of me eventually, which sounded heavenly compared to this whole labour business. I didn’t care that a c-section is serious surgery, or that it leaves a scar, or that it takes weeks to recover from. I just wanted you out, and I really didn’t think I could do it by myself.

And, as it turns out, I couldn’t.

When your heart rate started to drop, the midwife brought in a doctor who said they were going to “give me some help” and asked if that was okay.

“YES,” I said. Finally. I didn’t ask to many questions about what that help might entail, because I would have let them do anything to me at that point, but it meant having a ventouse delivery. They put a suction cup on your head and kind of sucked you out of me.

And all of a sudden, there you were. Plonked on my chest, all goopy and sucking your thumb. It was pretty amazing, not only because I was really excited to finally meet you, but because I was NO LONGER IN LABOUR.

Seriously, labour is the worst.

You were worth it, though.




You can find The Squirmy Popple on Twitter and Facebook.

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25 thoughts on “GUEST SERIES: Not Everything is Black and White – The Squirmy Popple”

  1. Thanks so much for featuring me! I love the idea of this series – parenting is really about celebrating those grey areas. Looking forward to seeing other people’s pics and hearing their stories! #stayclassymama

  2. I love labour and delivery stories! I have written mine as a letter to my daughter in a similar way to this. Labour was tough for me too, but also THE most amazing experience of my life. I can’t wait to do it again! #StayClassyMama

  3. I wouldn’t have made flapjacks either. Nice idea in theory. I love that the midwife made a face at your walking suggestion… She had obviously been through it herself 😉

  4. Oh this is such a lovely and funny post. I really enjoyed reading it and it reminded me of my own labours. I would have let them do anything to me too. I lol’d at the paracetamol part because I thought exactly the same thing when they offered it to me.

    Thanks for hosting #stayclassymama

  5. labour really is the worst – there should be a mandatory holiday after it, not the hardest few weeks you’ll ever have in your life. ah , well, its worth it though isnt it?? #stayclassymama

  6. What a lovely idea for a series!! It’s so true that photos can convey such a different meaning at different times, or ever the right meaning at all. I was with you on my first labour-I was pretty bad at it, and announced several times that I wanted to die/I wasn’t doing it anymore. I was looking through the photos of me immediately after giving birth recently, and they look like happy family photos, but actually I was feeling numb, shocked, and nowhere near as in love with the person who had been handed to me, as I was told I’d be. It’s therapeutic in a way, to work through these differences in our heads!

  7. Haha, because everyone needs to be baking flapjacks while they’re emptying their womb, seriously where do they get this stuff from? There’s nothing in the world like the feeling of being in labour, however it happened. Thanks for sharing it, I think the more you read, the more you feel normal about your own experiences. #stayclassymama

  8. I love this post, i have never thought to write my birth stories but i think i may want to do just for my kids’s sake later on 🙂 #ablogginggoodtime

  9. I’m glad I wasn’t the only one who really wanted a C-section in the midst of all the pain! I wanted a water birth as natural as possible and ended up with an epidural and forced delivery.
    I was super ecstatic when Ben arrived too purely cos it was all over! But they don’t tell you that you still contract for ages after!
    Glad everything went well in the end. And your hubby sounds like mine – always thinking of his tummy haha! #stayclassymama

  10. This was great to read! I am inspired to write mine down too… as a draft… waiting there. Maybe one day I will release it on the the world wide web! Every birth story is amazing… yours towards the end sounds very similar to mine… I was in a birthing pool forever then bubbas heart rate dropped and I had to be rushed to the maternity ward and after several similar ‘I can’t do this’ comments made I had to have an episiotomy to help the little man out! I was fed toast and orange juice in the birthing pool to try and get my strength up but clearly that did not help! And the gas and air just made me feel like I was amid the clouds and spaced out! It was beautiful though… all in all… Id do it again in a heartbeat <3 Love this so much! #stayclassymama

  11. Ah I think I may have just fallen in love with her. Such great humour to this although she was very dignified sparing us the horror of a full ventouse description! That reminds me…I was supposed to bake flapjacks this evening 🙂 #stayclassymama

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