Can we finally recognise what growing and pushing out)a human entails? says Guardian columnist Suzanne Moore
When Harry spoke to the press in his dazed and delighted way after Meghan had given birth, he said: How any woman does what they do is beyond comprehension. I guess he meant labour, childbirth, that everyday agony and ecstasy that is part of womens lives. How do we do that? After months of feeling not too grand while exposed to every myth going and being told what to eat, wear and how to behave, we have to get the baby out somehow. Its what we do.
Some women love being pregnant, some really dont. Some sail through feeling mostly normal; others are sick, exhausted, permanently worried and just want it to end. Being pregnant is an ordinary thing that happens to women and yet it is absolutely extraordinary. Few tell the whole truth about it, as so often we are told to enjoy what is the most dangerous and precarious rollercoaster we will ever get on.
I remember a woman telling me when I was first pregnant that the whole deal was like a major car accident and that it would take me two years to get over it. Wow, thanks mate. Luckily I was young enough to carry on life as normal but each woman is different and each pregnancy is different. None of us are helped by exhortations to be blooming, nor by the assumption that we have joined some communal petting zoo in which strangers can pat our bellies or give us unsolicited advice about cheese and wine.
Some women are traumatised by the whole experience because it is so primal, so totally blood and guts (have you ever seen a placenta?) and yet we have built an entire culture of fluff and cuteness around baby stuff as if in complete denial. Growing another person inside you and then pushing them out or having them cut out of you (if you think I am being too graphic, I wonder if you know where babies come from) is as basic as it gets. Let no one tell us that female biology is somehow a construct. Uterus transplants remain a while away. Try telling a woman in the throes of labour that biology is optional and she may well deck you.