Monday, January 23, 2012

Privacy, or some attempt at it.

So, Batman, this post is only kind of, sort of, for you. I ranted a few weeks ago about my worries regarding maintaining a degree of privacy that your Dad and I are comfortable with during my labor, your birth, and your care immediately afterwards. To put things gently, those fears have only grown as the big day approaches. Everyone - and I mean everyone from our parents to some lady who started talking to me out of the blue at a coffee shop - wants all the gritty details about everything from how the induction process will go to how I'll handle post-partum bleeding. I'm running out of nice ways to tell people that I don't want to discuss it, but I'm trying my damndest not to get bitchy when my patience runs out. It's getting really hard.

I feel like it goes without saying at this point that I am pretty pissed off that the whole process of having you has gone from being something natural and controlled exclusively by your and my body's needs to an utterly medicalized experience that is only vaguely, tangentially, and abstractly within my control. There have been rants aplenty about that, so I won't say more. What I really can't handle, and this is a somewhat new revelation, is needing to share every excruciating detail of this process. Even the parts that are completely natural and normal are so fettered with medical interference that I just don't want to talk about them to any audience beyond your Dad and a few choice friends who I am just naturally comfortable discussing unpleasant bodily stuff with. I don't give two shits if our modern culture has evolved to a point where any details related to childbirth are just expected to be broadcast to the world: that's not me.

Your poor Dad has, as he puts it, "learned more about coworkers vaginas in the past six months than any guy ever needs to hear." Some people LOVE disclosing this stuff, regardless of gender lines or standards. I know how many stitches one of my coworkers needed after giving birth (twelve: eight internal, four external), how long a friend of a friend had to wait between asking for her epidural and finally getting it (an hour and fifteen minutes, and she just barely got it in time before she dilated too far for it to be considered safe), the horrors of post-partum bleeding experienced by a coworker's daughter (she needed three blood transfusions and they kept her on an IV for hydration for four days), and just how dreadful another coworker's wife's second C-section was (I won't even dignify that information by typing it out). Why do I know these things? Seriously!!!!!

All that being said, I'm choosing to take some posts underground from here on out. Not just considering the medical nitty-grittys, there are some things that I know will happen, or that I will want to talk about, or that I will for some reason determine that you (my son, who will inevitably find plenty of this stuff either gross or just way too informative anyhow) should be the sole audience for. For non-Batman readers, let this be my polite way of saying "I don't want to talk about everything," rather than exploding outward in a tirade about the need for me to retain control and boundaries during a time that our culture inexplicably deems to be boundary-free. I do really appreciate the openness that others have offered to me, and don't necessarily plan to withhold all personal information about this process, especially not from everyone, but I'm a damn private person for all my public writing, and that's how things will need to go from here. My vagina is not a public access television show.

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