People say you forget the pain of childbirth. “You don’t remember it,” they say, as though that’s a good thing, as though that’s consoling. About 24 hours after I had gone into labour I made a pact with myself to never forgot the horror of giving birth.
I made a decision to remember what it’s like to feel you simply can’t do another contraction and yet have to do it again and again and again – cruel, relentless, merciless, on and on and on for 48 hours.
Re-living labour every year
This time six years ago, I was in hospital waiting to see my consultant to discuss being induced. Tomorrow is the day I took my first prostin. The day after that I took my second and my third. On the fourth day, I went into labour. On the fifth day I was still in labour. On the sixth day my son was born.
I re-live it every year. And as I do I salute, with awe, our great-grandmothers and great-great-grandmothers and women today, in some parts of the world, for whom there is more than a slim chance that death will be the outcome of their labours.
Each May in its fresh, lime greenness and sweet, exuberant blossoming, I remember the savage cost of new life.
I also remember it was worth it.