I am thinking about vaginas. No, not Virgnia*.
Mostly, I’m thinking how it grates on my nerves to hear people rant about the horror of vaginal birth, how gross the process is and “OMG, your vagina will never be the same”, and plastic surgery for labia and vaginas. And vajazzling (a whole separate topic. by the way, if people use the slang term vajayjay for vagina, should the term for penis be panini?)
Just like techies don’t expect me to get all worked up over terabytes and torrents and touchpads, I’m not asking anyone to hold childbirth in the same sacred vein as I do. I don’t expect that. I mean, after all, it’s part of my job. My passion.
But please have enough coutresy to not spew opinions without being somewhat informed.
I’ve found that there is a actual equation to these ill-informed rants about vaginas. It goes something like this:
“Having a baby is like pushing a <insert choice of large, round, usually hard object> out of your <insert any bodily orfice here>!”
Popular choices include: watermelon, bowling ball, grapefruit.
Besides being just plain ridiculous, these comparisons aren’t even close to being phsysiolocally and biologically correct.
1. People, a baby’s head MOLDS. Not as in growing a fungus, but as in the bones of the skull are soft and allow the baby to fit precisely through birth canal. Much different than a giant piece of fruit or a bowling ball that retains a large, round, hard shape. From this article: The bones of a newborn baby’s skull are soft and flexible, with gaps between the plates of bone.
During a head-first delivery, pressure on the head caused by the narrow birth canal (vagina and pelvic bones) may mold the head into an oblong shape. These gaps or spaces allow the baby’s head to change shape. Depending on the amount and length of pressure, the skull bones may even overlap.
These gaps or spaces also allow the brain to grow inside the skull bones. They will close as the brain reaches its full size.
Now, this doesn’t mean that a baby’s head may not FEEL like a bowling ball when giving birth vaginally. The first hand knowledge of the intensity and pressure of birth is another story….
2. The vagina is not a static part of a woman’s anatomy that just suddenly explodes open – violently and ill-equipped – during childbirth. It’s ridiculous to me that people even say this, considering everyone knows a vagina stretches to accommodate a penis (of any size) during intercourse.
The vagina is comprised of accordion-like folds that expand and stretch during birth. And that is also how a vagina is able to magically return (mostly) to it’s pre-birth “size” and shape.
Birth is a perfect orchestration of hormones, muscles, tissues, bones, and so much more. The hormone Relaxin looses the joints in the pelvis so that it can open more effectively during birth.
And the tight squeeze of birth actually has a purpose; it draws out fluid from the baby’s lungs.
I prefer to think of birth as a deep tissue massage for a baby. Just sayin’.
Look. Every day we poop. And, think about the mechanics of that. A sphincter. That has to stretch. Of course it’s not an exact comparison to childbirth but few people seem to question the effectiveness of that biological function. We trust that it just works.
Oh, and technically you are pushing a watermelon out of that.
In chewed up version.
It was late one evening, and Lyric was in a deep slumber beside me. My heart was filled up with gratitude for my three healthy children.
My girls and my boy.
Ibegan to ponder the idea that I’ve carried and birth life within my body. And that even at this very moment, my body holds a finite amount of eggs. I walk around every day, literally carrying precious cargo. Somehow, that night, it hit me tenderly and I had this MOMENT with my eggs; this quiet reverence for them.
I guess you could say we bonded.
A man releases his sperm and feels ecstasy.
A woman releases her egg and feels crampy (well, at least I do as I feel ovulation). If that ecstatic sperm fertilizes the egg, her body expands and stretches – organs shifting and a new person growing - for nine months. But if that egg isn’t fertilized, she gets cramps. And her uterus sheds it’s lining, thick with blood that releases over a matter of days.
Still I think “Yes yes yes I’d do it all over again”.
*Thank you, Mom, for the incredibly cheesy VHS video you made us kids watch when I was about 10 years old that talked about the proper words for penis and vagina. I’ve still never forgotten these words:
“Even though some kids call it Virginia”…
I can’t believe I found it on YouTube. This goes out to my bro and sis, whom were tortured along side of me with this video…