I never filmed any of my baby deliveries. Not the twenty-two hour labor with suction, forceps and episiotomy – the one where I alternately begged to be put out of my misery and yelled at the Hot Man to go find a different doctor who would know what to do with my misery. Not the three emergency c-section deliveries with their associated suffering and traumatization – especially not the one where a very young, not unattractive orderly said, “Hey I know you, I think you taught my sister!” Just before they numbed me from the chest down and whipped off my hospital gown for the entire room to check out (and cut up) my very naked, very pregnant self. #KillMeNow
Nah, I wasn’t interested in recording that kind of stuff for posterity. But if I’m being totally honest though, its because we were poor students and didn’t own a camera. And it was before the internet and mobile phones were invented. (Yes, Im that dinosaur who remembers a time BEFORE mobile phones…)
But now, I’m wishing I recorded my suffering.
Because today Big Son comes running upstairs from his gym set-up in the garage, full of excitement. “Look mum!”
He pushes his sweaty T.shirt out of the way and points at his bicep. I look. All I see is a sweaty arm. “I’m looking. And I’m smelling. You need a shower. You reek.”
He brushed aside my critique of his hygiene. “No, look at that! I have a stretchmark.” He points to a miniscule thread-like squiggly mark on his skin. So tiny and faint that it wouldn’t even qualify as ‘worm-like’.
“So what?” I say.
“It’s a result of all my training. A sign of my muscular development.” He flexes for extra muscular emphasis. So I can get the full impact of his rippling muscular self. “It means I’m getting ripped!”
I roll my eyes. “You call that a stretchmark? Boy, you have no idea what real stretchmarks are.” I roll up the cuff of my shorts revealing the side of my warrior-woman thigh. In all its spangled glory of patterns. “See that?! Now that’s what you call stretchmarks.”
I’m not done. Oh no. Not by far. I heft up my shirt and gesture grandly at my midriff. Well, if it had a tapering indented waist it would have a middle and thus classify as a ‘midriff.’ But it doesn’t. It’s just lots and lots of squishy RIFF RIFF RIFF. And stamped all over it in intricate, epic style – are bold centipede tracks. “Check it out son! Your wimpy squiggle is pathetic. Put it away.”
Big Son isn’t happy about having his stretchmark upstaged. “Mine is different mum. Mine is from hard work and struggle and endurance in the gym. You didn’t get those marks from anything like that.”
“Excuse me? These are from pregnancy.”
He nods sagely. “Exactly my point. My stretchmark is like a battle scar. A sign of my gym WAR. You didn’t work hard for yours.”
What. The. Stretchmarked-hell??!!!!!!
“You did not just say that…I cannot believe a child of mine just said that.” My voice starts to climb a mountain of outraged horror. “Growing an elephant baby is hard work. Do you even know the kind of trauma that inflicts on a woman’s body? It’s ten months of endurance training, it’s an alien life force ripping through your insides, shredding the abdominal wall, pressuring and tearing the skin of your stomach and thighs…and boobs! And since you were the first, you were the one who inflicted the most damage. I used to have abs dammit. Before I sacrificed myself to give you all life…blah blah…”
Big Son is rolling his eyes like he’s heard all this before. (He probably has. Growing too many babies also does funny things to your brain. Compromises memory retention.) I resist the urge to slap him. Or body slam him with my outraged squishy self. “Don’t you ever show me your pitiful stretchmark again, you hear me? It’s an insult to true warriors who have gone to hell and back to give stupid eighteen year olds life.”
By then Big Son is suitably chastened, convinced of my fierce warriorhood and contrite about his insensitive and offensive remarks. Or at least he’s pretending to be. The child knows how to behave when there’s a war he can’t hope to win. “Okay, okay. Forget I even mentioned my measly little stretchmark.” He slinks away. To go shower hopefully.
Leaving me wishing, wishing that I had a video of me getting cut open to birth his ungrateful self.
Note to all women out there who might have a kid one day. Make sure you film the whole thing. Get audio of the screaming and cursing too. Close-ups of the blood and sweat.
You never know when it might come in handy.