In preparation for childbirth, I read an endless supply of books and blogs and online forums. I asked moms questions (including my own) and listened to any wisdom my OB-GYN and team of doctors cared to share. However, I think one source of knowledge that would've been beneficial, is the wisdom my vagina possesses. Sadly (actually, it's probably for the best) my vagina can't speak, however there are things I wish my vagina could have told me about labor and delivery, before I actually experienced it.
I knew my wonderful meat wallet and I were in for an adventure when I found out I was pregnant. In fact, I was afraid the healthy relationship my vagina and I shared, would be somewhat ruined. After all, as my pregnant belly grew I could no longer see my pink fortress. Thanks to necessary OB-GYN visits, which only became more frequent the closer I came to my due-date, by baby cannon was constantly being poked and proved. I knew I was going to ask my vajayjay to stretch and expand in order to accommodate my son entering the world which, in my opinion, is a tall order. I had a feeling that if my vagina had a personality, it would have been pretty freakin' pissed that I put the both of us in such a predicament.
However, my powerful lady bits had it all under control, and handled the entire pregnancy, labor, delivery, and postpartum process better than I did. I know that if a pregnant woman's vag could speak, it would want aforementioned pregnant woman to know the following things. Really and truly, us women need to learn to trust our bodies. Our bodies are powerful. Our bodies are capable. Our bodies know what the hell they're doing, even when we don't.
"I'm Built To Handle This"
No, but really. While I think it's a stretch (pun intended) to say that every woman's body is "made to have a baby" (because that's just not true at all, a woman's body is made to do whatever it is she wants and chooses to do), the vagina is designed to stretch and contract in order to accommodate another human being exiting a body.
I used to be terrified that I would "ruin" my vagina by having a baby, and that's just ridiculous. My lady biscuit had it under control the entire time.
"I Won't Hate You For Doing This To Me..."
True story: I had a little talk with my vagina a few moments directly after my water broke. I was laboring at home, taking a shower while my partner gathered our things in preparation to leave for the hospital, when I thought it an appropriate time to have a "pep talk." I asked my vagina to essentially forgive me for whatever was about to happen next. I wanted to continue having a sex life, so I was hoping childbirth wouldn't totally ruin the prospect of future hot, passionate, wonderful sex.
Yeah, that "talk" was unnecessary.
"...But Maybe Don't Look At Me For A Few Weeks After This Is All Over"
A little warning would have been nice, that's all I'm saying. I had a pretty "easy" childbirth in terms of physical trauma. I didn't tear at all, so I didn't have to worry about "degrees" or stitches or anything like that. However, that doesn't mean my vagina looked what I would consider "normal" after my son was born. I could have done without that unnecessary glance a few days postpartum. I was so swollen, I didn't recognize that particular part of my body. It wasn't pretty, my friends.
"You're Not Ruining Me"
Can we, collectively, agree to stop saying childbirth "ruins" vaginas? Please? Because that's just not a thing that happens. Yes, sometimes women tear (and severely) and sometimes a woman's vagina will be permanently altered as a result of childbirth. However, that vagina isn't "ruined." Nope. That's not a thing.
"It Won't Be Weird That Seven Strangers Will Be Staring At Me For Hours On End"
I'm not what most would consider to be a "modest" human being. However, I don't go flashing my lady bits to complete strangers, either. So, I thought it would be pretty damn awkward to have a bunch of people I don't know (also known as doctors and nurses) staring at my vagina for an untold number of hours while I pushed my son into the world.
Yeah, it wasn't. I couldn't have cared less if CNN was in the room, giving play-by-plays of the entire experience. I just wanted my kid out at that point, so if that meant Anderson Cooper had to narrate my son's birth while an up-close-and-personal vag shot played on a loop behind him, so be it. Just get the kid out of me. I really don't care who is starting at my vagina in the process.
"You'll Appreciate Me More Than You Ever Have"
No, but really. I've always had a relatively close relationship with my vagina. That's a strange sentence, to be sure, but hear me out. I was always quick to care for my vagina — going to annual check ups, insisting people wear protection or I take birth control, and so on. I was never ashamed of my vagina, and didn't think it was something inherently bad. I have stood up for it, and have refused to allow other people (read: politicians) regulate it with unnecessary legislations. In other words, we're buddies.
However, I didn't truly appreciate everything my vagina could do, until I had my son. I mean, that thing is freakin' incredible, and it definitely deserves more respect and more credit than it gets on a normal, daily basis.
"Catheters Really Aren't That Bad"
It's not like having a catheter is my idea of a good time, but after you have an epidural and one is administered, it's really not that bad. Who cares, right? You're going to have strangers starting at your vagina, anyways. How bad is a pee bag, really, in the big scheme of things?
"Postpartum Sex Is Going To Hurt, So Take Your Time"
And by "hurt," I mean, "Dear freakin' god in heaven that is not normal." The first time I tried having sex after having a baby (well after the magical six week mark, mind you) I was in a hell of a lot of a pain. A little heads up, and a lot of lube, would have been nice.
"I Will Go Back To 'Normal,' So Don't Worry..."
Again, as I think it's worth repeating, I think every pregnant woman's vagina wants to assure said pregnant woman that it will not be "ruined" because she has decided to have a baby. Your vagina will go back to "normal," or will adapt to a new variation of the normal you two were previously used to. It's going to be OK.
"...But Don't Be Afraid To Ask For A Stitch Or Two"
I mean, why not, right? I didn't tear so I didn't need stitches, but that didn't keep me from asking anyway. (My doctor told me that was unnecessary, and had a laugh at my expense. Oh well, it was worth a shot.)