Car­rie Bick­more

“I’m daunted about giv­ing birth – but would I change it?”

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - Stellar - - Cotents - CAR­RIE BICK­MORE

Isat fully re­clined on the couch the other night, my tummy wrapped in my preg­nancy sta­bil­ity brace and a heat pack on my back, moan­ing g about the tribu­la­tion of hu­man man ges­ta­tion. This wasn’t the first rst time I’d com­plained ei­ther and, per­haps bereft of other r things to say, my boyfriend Chris threw out a corker.

“If you could change it so that men were the ones to give birth, would you?”

He wasn’t of­fer­ing as such, and I could tell he wasn’t sure whether I was just about to undo my brace and whack him with it.

What did he mean? No morn­ing sick­ness, no haem­or­rhoids or stretch marks, no giv­ing birth, no pro­lapsed uterus, no cracked nip­ples and no stitched lady parts? No pres­sure to breast­feed, no mas­ti­tis, no guilt about go­ing back to work and, of course, no dick-brain part­ners who have no idea what they are talk­ing about! t!

As some­one un­lucky enough ugh to have had a ter­ri­fy­ing post­par­tum rtum haem­or­rhage af­ter baby num­ber one, I would hap­pily trade in the anx­i­ety I feel around the baby-mak­ing process. Or would I? For all the chal­lenges preg preg­nancy, mother­hood and chi child­birth bring, there is so some­thing about the strength re re­quired to en­dure these ex­pe­ri­ences that turns us women into war­riors. You only have to be at the busi­ness end of a birth to mar­vel at the ex­tra­or­di­nary thing the fe­male body, and mind, can do. My cu­ri­ous part­ner re­cently strapped him­self to a birth sim­u­la­tor as part of a ra­dio show stunt to learn what it feels like to hatch a baby. The sim­u­lated con­trac­tions reached some­where n near one-tenth of the strength o of ac­tual labour be­fore he de­clared it im­pos­si­ble to con­tinue, tore the elec­trodes off, and de­clared he didn’t know how we did it. Yes, it’s bloody painful. But there is a also some­thing re­ally beau­ti­ful abo about their lit­tle feet kick­ing you from the in­side. Some­thing ama amaz­ing about the agony fol­lowed by t the ec­stasy of when you first me meet bub. I am truly daunted about bab baby num­ber three set­ting forth on its trip down the birth canal, but I don’t think I’d change it even if I could.

In a world where real gen­der equal­ity is just be­yond the hori­zon, preg­nancy and child­birth is a sa­cred space that we own. (Al­though if men could be preg­nant, I am sure we’d have a cure for morn­ing sick­ness by now.)

There is no ques­tion that your part­ner’s (male or fe­male) love and at­tach­ment to their child is as gen­uine as Mum’s. Sim­i­larly, you don’t need to phys­i­cally birth a child to love them as your own and feel the joy, the pain and the won­der of be­ing a par­ent. I grew up in a step-fam­ily and know parental love does not ex­ist only within blood­lines.

But if Chris’s late-night thought ex­per­i­ment taught me any­thing, it’s that while I of­ten curse mother na­ture for her in­sis­tence that women must be the ones to give birth, in the end, I’m glad she made that choice. Car­rie co-hosts The Project, 6.30pm week­nights on Net­work Ten, and Car­rie & Tommy, 3pm week­days on the Hit Net­work.

“Preg­nancy and child­birth is a sa­cred space that women own”

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