I’ve been a parent for just more than five years, and I’m about to become one for the second time. So maybe it’s because I’ve been immersed in dad groups, mom groups, and parenting in general for half a decade that I failed to see something readily apparent to those without kids — some of the stuff we talk about is simply disgusting and way too personal!
As I said, we’re about to have another baby. And since I chronicle much of my life online, everyone wants constant updates on how we’re progressing now that MJ could potentially go into labor any minute. So, like any good denizen of social media, I’ve been sharing regular updates on our progress (or lack thereof at the moment). Which means I routinely post things like the following:
“No progress since last week. MJ is still 50% effaced and 1 cm dilated.”
If you’re a parent that probably makes perfect sense and tells you exactly what you need to know. No big deal, right? But technically speaking, here’s what I really just told the world:
“So I’d like to talk for a second about the intricacies of my wife’s vaginal region. You see, what’s happening is the uterus is preparing for the baby to come out and therefore the cervix is shortening and thinning. Soon it’ll be all stretched out and REALLY thin, at which point it will begin to open. Right now we’re at 1 cm because the doctor who shoved his fingers up there told us so. But when my wife’s baby hole becomes a gaping maw of 10 cm, we’re in business.”
Explained outside the vernacular of pregnancy, it becomes quite clear very quickly that this is pretty personal stuff we’re talking about. And when I thought some more on it, I realized it happens constantly and has been occurring for some time.
Seriously, think about it for a second. After you got married, what was the first thing your old Aunt Mildred bugged you about (probably while the reception was still in progress)? “So…when are you gonna have a baaaa-by?” Sounds common enough, but what Mildred is really saying is “When are you going to penetrate your new wife’s vagina with your penis and ejaculate your sperm into her to create new life in your womb?” Yup. Mildred basically wants a timetable of your sex life and she’s demanding to know it right then and there. Yet it’s not deemed inappropriate somehow because the cultural norm is wedding then baby — so it’s open season on asking you when you next plan on making the beasts with two backs.
I’ve also listened to many women talk about the childbirth experience post-labor, and sometimes the conversations make even a guy like me blush. “How many stitches did you need?” is really code for “On a scale of good to flapping in the breeze, how mangled and destroyed did your vagina get while passing something the size of a watermelon through a hole the size of a lemon?” Even breastfeeding — as wonderful as it is — falls into this category. “Are you having any troubling breastfeeding?” usually means “How bloody and chewed up are your nipples these days?”
And don’t get me started on potty training. An army of parents (myself included) talking excessively about what manner of human feces was deposited into a plastic bucket, the amount, the number of times a day it successfully occurred — and sometimes with pictures!?
Once I stopped and stepped back from the situation I realized parents often find themselves in this odd alternative dimension in which the rules of good taste and propriety cease to apply. It’s like we all collectively say “Aw fuck it!” because we’ve all been there and we understand. But to the uninitiated, we just look like raving lunatics with no sense of boundaries or good taste.
Gotta run, I think my wife’s cervix may have dilated to 2 cm. Pics to follow.