Story Sharing on the Playground; or, Talking with Perfect Strangers About the Miracle of Your Vagina
Last week SET opened Motherhood Out Loud, which is a series of monologues about motherhood. We’re going into our last weekend, which means I’ve seen this show…a lot by this point. And every single time I see this play, I’m reminded of my own experiences on several playgrounds.
My oldest kid is thirteen now (shut up) which means that, between him and my younger kiddo, I’ve been to lots of different playgrounds, met several other mothers, made friends with more than one of those mothers, and have heard that special high-pitched note that girls somehow manage to hit more than I ever care to.
It’s struck me more than once, and after directing this series of pieces it’s struck me harder.
Once you’re a mom on a playground, you will talk about the miracle of your vagina.
Not in so many words. No. But you will talk about it. Because the thing you generally have in common with the other mommies on the playground is the fact that, one way or another, if you have a biological child, you got that child out of your body somehow. After the hours of being with your small child, in your desperation to communicate with an actual adult, you will try to latch on to anything, anything that will allow you to bond with another adult. The easiest thing for mommies is giving birth.
Here’s the thing that kills me: that is one private, medically revelatory, personal, and generally gross moment in a woman’s history.
And we share those stories constantly with perfect strangers.
I had one woman tell me about her experience birthing one twin vaginally and the second via C-section. I’ve heard stories about rips, tears, and broken hip bones — stuff that would make a Viking shudder. AmIright?
The thing is — there are women whom I’ve met, and all I know about them is how their vaginas worked to deliver their child. I can’t remember their names, or where they live, or even the sex of their child. But I can remember the stories and relate to them. It’s kind of mind-boggling.
Yup, you’re really hearing about how a woman’s vagina works. Conversations that we weren’t ‘allowed’ to have, suddenly, PRESTO! we have a child and we’re allowed to have that conversation.
But, I’m kinda thinking that’s the backwards way to do this thing. Women who already have children already know how it works and what surprises lay in store…but non-mommies who want to eventually become mommies should really be hearing these stories. It’ll save them a lot of surprises.
(For example, in my case, I was unprepared for the blood. There’s copious amounts of blood after giving birth. You go nine months without a period and you make up for it all in a couple weeks. It’s gross. I would have been really happy to have been prepped for that beforehand.)
So maybe we should be bombarding our childless friends with this information? Maybe not. Probably Reddit has some kind of discussion going somewhere….