I don't want to insult anyone's deity or anything, but I happen to believe that there are a few basic design flaws in the female body, vis à vis procreation. For starters, pythons manage to dislocate their bottom jaws to accommodate the eating of much larger prey - wouldn't it be spiffy if women could pop their pelvis open a few inches to facilitate the exit of their very large offspring through their nether regions? This would be quite wonderful because - and allow me to put this delicately - giving birth is inconveniently painful.
Such is the inconvenient pain, that one has brief moments of lucidity when one can ponder the ludicrousness of the situation. At one point I looked down at what was happening below my navel and at the assembled crowd of strangers looking expectantly at parts of me that normally never feel the breeze and wondered what on earth I was doing. Five total strangers, to be exact. And, of course, the sixth hovering by the door - who was that? Oh, that was my Dignity. I dumped that before I crossed the threshold of the delivery room, it turned out that I didn't need it at all. It sat outside and drank coffee with Care, who occasionally made an appearance in the delivery room to mock me:
"Do you know how gruesome you look right now?"
"I don't, Care."
"Do you wonder what all of these people are thinking about you at this moment?"
"Seriously? I don't, Care."
"And what about that noise you just made - do you know you just screamed?"
"Honestly, I DON'T, CARE!"
The pair of them probably twittered updates to Self Control and Modesty, who didn't come anywhere near the building.
To be sure, there are women who have orgasmic contractions and feel empowered by the experience: good for them. Really: well done. I can't talk myself into loving childbirth, I really hate it - and that's despite the fact that I, apparently, am really good at it. I've had two uncomplicated, epidural-free natural births with no injuries to my person of any kind and was walking around, without a care in the world, within an hour of each delivery. Midwives keep telling me that I should have more babies. I laugh my hollow laugh and keep telling them that they're nuts: I've beaten the odds twice, I'm not going to push my luck. Having a healthy child is like winning the lottery. Having a healthy child without great difficulty or lasting distress is a bonus.
See, I hate the word blessed - and it's an irrational hatred. It makes me feel like you've been picked out by Someone Upstairs for being extra special, a reward for your all-round goodiness. (I'm also not keen on it because, to my mind, its opposite is cursed - which is just as random and lightning-bolt-struck as blessed. I know - but I just can't help not liking it.) I prefer the more down-to-earth lucky: I know that my good fortune is random, not a pay-out for my being a better person than anyone else, I appreciate every minute of it and recognise that many other people are much less fortunate. I am extremely appreciative of my two sons and my husband, our good health, our togetherness.
I hope it lasts.
I take nothing for granted.