You call that labour? When I had …

Women who have had babies have no boundaries.

They can meet a complete stranger on the street and, within minutes, they’re comparing C-section scars or one-upping each other’s vaginal tearing, without considering the inappropriateness of it all.

Motherhood is like a special society – certainly not a secret one – that gives any mom the right to go into great depth about their experiences during childbirth without fear of retribution, or worrying about something as unnecessary as tact.

I’ll never forget the woman The Boss and I bumped into at my office, shortly after The Hurricane was born. I was being dropped off at work (The Boss’s car had just died, and we were pre-van, so a one-car family) and this woman saw the sleeping bundle in the backseat. Because it was July, we all had our windows down, and this woman proceeded to tell us every single detail about how her children entered the world.

And how do you tell someone you have never met before that you’re running on two hours sleep and 100% do not care, when they’re talking about something as … uh … beautiful as childbirth? Well, you don’t. You listen, you nod your head and say ‘Wow’ when you find out she lost all bowel control because she was pushing so hard to get the little bugger out, and you hope today is the day you finally take that stroke you’ve been expecting.

But the stories from strangers aren’t the worst of it all. It’s when you get friends in the same room to talk about their birthing experiences that it becomes a no-holds barred event that would make the most hardened criminal weep for mercy. I’ve been on the outskirts of these conversations, wincing with each detail my cousin revealed about her delivery.

Now I’ll admit, guys talk about it too, but that’s because we’ve never really understood the process because we were too busy shielding our eyes during the pre-natal classes. We know what – in theory – is going to happen, but really, do any of us truly believe it until we see it? No freakin’ way. So yeah, it’s a point of conversation for a few weeks, but we leave the gory details to the ones wearing the badge of honour (and deservedly so, I might add).

But I don’t think you’d ever hear this at a hospital:

“Oh hey man, you’re here for the vasectomy? Oh shit, I had me one of those a few years back. Your nuts are going to ache, man. The stories … well, everything you’ve heard … times that by a thousand. When I had mine, they cut me from (gesturing) here, all the way to here. Try taking a piss after that! Then I screamed, oh Christ I screamed. Finally, they gave me some morphine, crack, I don’t know what it was, but it helped take the edge off. Then they stuck this flame-thrower into me! They cauterized my sack man! But, in the end, everything was great, and it was all worth it and hell, I’d do it again in a second.”

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