'I saw your article, Shannon.'
Normally these four words would make me swell with pride, but lately they have been making me wince.
Recently I had a story published in Offspring Magazine, a West Australian parenting and lifestyle magazine. It was about having a Caesarian section.
Back in 2007 when I was pregnant with the Bombshell I knew everything about babies. As you do when you are pregnant for the first time. I was going to have a natural labour with minimal intervention. I went to all the pre-natal classes - all of them - except the one about epidurals and c-sections, because there was no way I was ever going to have one of those. Ever.
So after I had been in labour for about 24 hours, and the doctor told me I needed an emergency Caesar my first reaction was 'no thankyou.'
In reality was probably more like, 'no way [sob], you're not cutting me open [wail], I am going to push [argh], Caesars are scary. I won't be able to walk. I won't be able to hold my baby. I will have a massive smiley face scar on my stomach forever [arghhhhh. sob. wail].'
Obviously I wasn't the first women to have this reaction, as he just gently smiled and pushed the consent form at me.
I cried the entire time.
In hindsight it was a necessary and straightforward process, but at the time it was devastating. Not only was there the (completely wrong) impression that I had already failed as a mother, but I had this misguided fear brought about by ignorance. It turns out my knowledge about Caesars were based on information from approximately 1957. A little outdated shall we say.
If I hadn't been so arrogant to assume that 'it would never happen to me', maybe I would have gone to the pre-natal class and discovered that they're really not so bad. Certainly not worth crying over.
I went on to have two more Caesars. And with the experience of the first behind me (and actually attending the class) that bit of knowledge meant that I went into it knowing it wasn't the end of the world.
So I wanted to write an article for women like me, who think (rightly or wrongly) they will never need a Caesar, and so never seek out the information. Because even if only one of those women then end up needing a Caesar, maybe she will not cry the entire time, because they will remember my article, and think 'she survived and it wasn't that bad.'
I should mention that my obstetrician did give me a photocopied page about the possibility of needing an emergency c-section. I did read it at the time, but it focused on the risks and statistics and not the experience of it. I wanted my article to focus on the experience.
Of course, a lot of the experience is terribly undignified and involves complete strangers poking, prodding, shaving, sticking things in and pulling things out of you. Looking, looking, always looking at your lady parts. Like a normal delivery, but with more cutting and tubes. And a lot more witnesses.
So I wrote my story. And in my usual style I over-shared. I talked about pubic hair and watching myself be catheterised. I wrote about the sponge bath and the naked fat bottom. I wrote about farting.
So this is why I was shuddering when people mentioned they saw my article. Were they looking at me picturing me sweep up a pile of shaved pubic hair.
Just like you are now.
Sorry about that.