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I’m still amazed by what people feel inclined to – let’s call it ‘share’ – when they discover I’m pregnant.

I’ve had the stranger who, after asking how far gone I was, told me she had a miscarriage at that stage. The efficacy of this bonding strategem is limited by one of the parties battling the near-uncontrollable urge to reach into the adjacent deep-freeze, seize a family-size pack of frozen cauliflower and apply it forcefully to her face.

Then there are those who elevate the horror to a whole new level upon finding out you also have a dog, when they remember their sister’s neighbour’s plumber who read an article in an old Woman’s Weekly about a family corgi who gnawed a baby’s face off. The denoument of this variation of story – because I’ve heard at least two versions of it – is dramatic, along the lines of: “No warning- this dog was just the gentlest, most placid- used to bath the kid- but now the baby, IT HAS NO FACE!” 

I’m not sure what appals me more: the poor, faceless baby; the faithful family pet being euthanised; or the gross irresponsibility of parents who a) leave their dog unsupervised with their child and b) haven’t trained their baby not to eat out of the dog’s bowl.

Last week there was the real estate agent who, upon showing us an old-fashioned water burner, felt compelled to inform us how many babies used to fall into them and DIE. Tiny, unformed lives snuffed out in the blink of an eye. Happened all the time, apparently. She knew of at least one soft-boiled baby.

I’m not sure what the appropriate response to these social gambits are. How about, “Thanks for sharing. Sometimes I go into my bathroom and lock the door and cut myself with a sawn-off shampoo bottle. Then I curl up on the floor and cry uncontrollably. Anyway, nice meeting you”? Or, “Oh my, you’re right: that IS an impressive cluster of hemorrhoids. Indeed no, I’ve never seen anything quite like it. GOODBYE”?

In a devastating and frankly brilliant parting shot, she advised me to look up ‘perineal massage’ on Google. I resisted as long as I could but in the end I was macabrely compelled, like being unable to look away from a car crash or videos of tsunamis on YouTube. Here, for the stout of heart and stomach, is a description of perineal massage; there’s a picture; oh my sweet baby cheeses there’s even a video (thankfully featuring no free radical fanny flaps).

Some sites recommend you get your partner to massage your perineum, suggesting it reinforces love and closeness. Well, I don’t need Husband THAT close to feel The Love. In fact, in our relationship the intensity of love is directly proportional to physical distance within an optimal limit (in the region of 100m). Although it might be worth asking Andrew for a perineal massage just for the look on his face – or, more likely, the confusion that would ensue. I might get a nice head rub.

My favourite one came from the man who told me, shortly after my pregnancy was confirmed, about someone he knew whose wife delivered a still-born baby, strangled by the umbilical cord. It’s difficult to imagine anything more personally heartrending; I just about wept when I heard it.

After WTF, you might ask who – I mean to say – WHO – or even WHAT TYPE OF PERSON would tell such a story to a pregnant woman?

Yes, well, that would be MY HUSBAND.

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Comments on: "Bonding stratagems" (15)

  1. You know what, with everybody sharing with you, I should too. This may upset and shock you, so you might want to sit down. Honestly it is not my intention to upset you. I just think you should be prepared. I once knew a woman and guess what? she went to term, she had a normal labour and had a beautiful baby boy. I mean what are the chances of that happening? Oh yeah bloody high.

    I never ask anybody how far on are they, or when is the sprog due? Apart from the face I get when I say sprog, I’m just afraid that they will say I’m not pregnant, and the fecking floor does not open and swallow me up. So I’m so glad that you did it for me instead! Well done I am proud of you…

  2. deadlyjelly said:

    Thanks but I’m pretty sure she won that round! At least I had the satisfaction of starting the fight; but I still regret not ‘flicking’ her with a maternity bra-strap – because I bet THAT elastic would hurt.

    I actually have no idea what gets into people. Firstly, why they would feel compelled to strike up a conversation with me at all, since I’m looking freshly forbidding and disapproving these days in practice for Responsibility. Secondly, why why why they think any pregnant woman needs to hear this stuff.

    It transpired the woman in Farmer’s had a home birth, sniffing some ginseng leaf extract for pain relief. I mean to say: what did she expect? You know? Have to conclude this response now due to some extreme eye-rolling going on here.

    x

  3. Yeah, don’t mess around. You want drugs drip-fed directly into your spine. I’m not kidding, that’s how it works. S held out, with nothing more than gas, for several hours of labour, until she caved in and said – well, more screamed really – “GIVE ME THE DRIP”. As soon as she’d been wrestled down and medicated, she was fine.

    Regarding the optimal affectionate distance: is that 100 metres or 100 miles? Just wondering.

  4. Im not sure what makes people want to share so much about their own, and other peoples experiences…its probably the same..shall we say…itch….that makes them pass comment on my weight, or what they perceive to be lack of….. I got – honest – when I finally commented back 🙂

    If you were doing standup comedy somewhere I’d come see you. You’re hillarious!! and you always make me laugh lots – thanks 🙂 its a true gift you have

  5. deadlyjelly said:

    Oh, I’m right with you. I mean, I like to THINK I’m hard enough to push a human being out of my VJ with an energetic yawn, but at this point in time the only analogy that comes close is pulling a rabbit out my nose. I’m not one of Sylvester Stallone’s movie characters, ergo I don’t see the point in pain for heck of it. And let’s face it, I wouldn’t be here without some serious medical magic, so it seems a bit precious to go all natural at this point.

    Metres, although I haven’t investigated optimal affection over miles.

    x

  6. Visions of you flicking a bra strap at yer won! Let’s just say that will keep me going for a while…

  7. deadlyjelly said:

    Hi Tracey! Delighted to see you here. To give them the benefit of the doubt, I think people are trying to share or partake in the human experience or . . . something. I’m pretty certain none of my particular commentators had anything but the best intentions that just don’t translate well when mixed with cluelessness.

    Hard to believe that anyone could just come out and pass comment on your weight – just for a change, I’m kinda speechless.

    x

  8. mumsie said:

    At least you’re getting plenty of material to draw on for your comical book! (In case you’re planning one.
    Once the Asset has been realised you’ll also find that you get some odd congratulations / commiserations from people.
    I remember proudly pushing my nanny-pram containing a young vet, accompanied by his older brothers when some woman greeted me with: “What did you get?” Me: “A lovely little boy.” S.W.: “Ooh, never mind.”
    All through my 3rd pregnancy I had been dreading the idea of a girl; I felt I knew little boys and got on with them and was afraid of a little madam! Just continue enjoying life!

    xxx

  9. Oh … you are amusing beyond words. Still alternating between laughter and horror, 5 minutes after reading you and posting you forward on facebook because you are so brilliant on the subject.

  10. dimackeyi … new. not sure how i did that.

  11. deadlyjelly said:

    Hi Mumsie! Hahaha – I believe Vet received similar congratumiserations (or should it be commiseratulations? They’re both terrific words that I’d love to take credit for, but could never have coined without your input. How about splitting credit 50/50? 60/40 then? No?) – I recall a blog post/rant about it.

    Hi Di! Terrific to hear from you (you always say such lovely things) and thanks for the Facebook post. I have no idea how that works, but I’m sure it’s totally fab.

    Most recently, a stand-in doctor told me that a prior operation to my uterus may have caused scarring which could complicate labour. “What sort of complications?” says I with ghastly innocence. Basically, I might deliver my baby INTO MY STOMACH. Which would be pretty unpleasant for both The Asset and me.

    I didn’t think it possible, but that mental image has overtaken the boiling babies. On several occasions as a student I nearly perished by drowning in my own stomach acid; unless you’re an established rock star it’s not a good way to go.

    But not to fear! If it looks like The Asset has taken a wrong turn by the gall bladder, they could possibly perform a caesarean. Except the location of fibroids makes that kind of tricky. So they’ll see if they can coax The Asset out with a bar of chocolate and bag of colostrum or, failing that, grip him with some tongs.

    Must remember to pack balloons for the labour.

    BTW, DiMackeyi has a nice ring to it.

    x

  12. The facebook thing means that all my friends read your fabulousness too. You are a goddess and I do feel compelled to share periodically. And JAYSUS, they are telling you far too much!!!!

    Some ‘wise’ post-baby goddesses in the suburbs I was trapped in way back during my childbearing moment told me that the reason I was in labour so long was because I was too scared to have the baby. I felt bullied but didn’t call them out as nasty fuckers … as perhaps I should have.

    Hmmmm, so many years on and the use of foul and obscene language could indicate some residual bitterness towards those dreadful creatures from the burbs. Watch out for them …. and don’t let anyone say anything to you about birth from now on. Nothing. Buy a taser for those times they persist.

  13. mumsie said:

    Either is very very good and I think you should take at least 90% of the credit. My imagination is not nearly as agile as yours. Trying out the new words I found that commiseratulations rolled more easily off my tongue than his twin brother!

    Re balloons for the labour, I assume you mean to have them well filled with helium, or do you favour hot air?

  14. deadlyjelly said:

    I have better access to and MUCH more supply of hot air 😀

    x

  15. =) very funny stuff.

    I’m interested to find out how you bond after The Asset is realised.

    And still congrats. Every day inside is good.

    cheers, S

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