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Having children is incredibly taxing physically and painful — though not in the ways you might have expected

Sophie White


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Women and their partners are taking advantage of advanced fertility methods. Stock image

Women and their partners are taking advantage of advanced fertility methods. Stock image

Women and their partners are taking advantage of advanced fertility methods. Stock image

When I was about to give birth to my first child, I prepared in a variety of ways. I googled ‘perineal massage’. And then proceeded to ignore ‘perineal massage’. I read What To Expect When You’re Expecting, which I found oddly irritating. It was the overly chummy tone. “Welcome to the queasy club”, it chirped as I battled the internal garbage tide of morning sickness.

I asked other mothers about their children’s births and came away mildly traumatised with a montage of images reminiscent of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. I watched One Born Every Minute. I researched pain management. I was focussing on all the wrong things. Everyone labours on about the labour, but nobody tells you that the real pain of parenthood continues long after the episiotomy has healed.


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