In case you missed the fantastic STFU Parents book party the other night—the above is a photo of the seriously creepy party cake—this is the piece I wrote and read for the event. (Though that cake isn't as creepy as this one.)
I’ve known Blair Koenig — or as I call her Poor, Sad, Barren Blair—for several years. I started reading her blog and then we figured out our boyfriends used to work together. Small world!
You would think that as a woman old enough to be Blair’s much, much older sister or scandalously young aunt, our relationship would be one of teacher/student. And you’d be correct.
But in the Blair/Judy relationship, it turns out that young Barren Blair has been the teacher, and old (yet fabulously well-preserved) Judy is the humble, sometimes unwilling, often grossed out, student.
Also, sonogram photos. Nothing wrong with those, though I thought it was kind of nuts when my sister-in-law photoshopped my niece’s in-utero picture before she would email it out to our family. And well, it was.
But nothing compared to the parents who freak the fuck out upon finding out they’re having a boy.
Now when I look at a sonogram photo, I can barely discern the potential human floating around in the goop, let alone isolate any kind of sex organs. But some parents—and let’s face it, it’s almost always the dad—are so excited that they got themselves a boy that they crop out the rest of the fetus, enlarge the baby boypart, and then slap it up there on facebook for everyone from their employer to their Aunt Fanny to see.
And lest their friends try to fool themselves into thinking they’re looking at some kind of abstract art, not a fetus’s penis, one helpful mom crowed by way of caption, “Look at his huge effing pecker!”
Sadly, the penis pics don’t end once the baby is expelled from the womb. Oddly enough to this non-breeder, babies often have giant scrotums, just ripe for photographing. Who knew? Certainly not me before I started reading Blair’s blog. They can get a thing called a “hydro seal,” which causes the sac to fill with fluid . . . never mind.
Parents have also been known to share proud stories of baby boners but I just can’t.
Labor, and all its bloody gore, are another big topic on Facebook. Until I saw the dark side, I remember being skeeved if a friend in labor documented how many centimeters dilated her cervix was. Then I read the entry by a woman chirpily announcing, “I just passed a piece of my mucous plug!”
But even that soon paled in comparison to what was to come and sometimes I yearn for those innocent days . . . to be exact, the day before Blair ran a photo of an entire family—mother, father, two young children and a newborn—all posing for a nice wholesome family photo while soaking in the bloody, afterbirth-filled kiddy pool where the mom had just given birth. Luckily for you, I can't seem to relocate that post.
I have a fairly strong stomach, but that was one of the posts that actually made me scream out loud.
I had wished I'd thought to put together a slide show for tonight's event, because a slide show would illustrate how many people post shots of their baby crowning in lieu of a birth announcement festooned with a tasteful stork.
I know having a baby is a huge experience and allegedly very beautiful and all that, but if you want me to buy you a gift off your registry, I don’t want to see that kid until it’s been cleaned off and wrapped in some sort of swaddling cloth!
Oh, and your lotus birth? The practice of keeping the placenta attached to the infant until it “naturally” rots and falls off—not only do I not want to hear about it, I especially don’t want to see a photograph of you nursing your baby sitting next to a big bowl of biohazard, still attached to your kid via its umbilical cord.
But still—even the lotus birth isn’t as gnarly as the final thing I learned from Blair’s blog. Now I grew up with cats and dogs and so have seen small animals lick their pups and kittens clean. I figured they probably snarfed down the placenta too, though I never gave it much thought until I discovered that actual grown-ass human beings, living in large metropolitan cities were also devouring their own placentas!
I’m sorry if any of you afterbirth-eating hippies are in the audience, but I cannot back down from this point. That shit is dis-gust-ing. I mean, you know you've seen too much when you get to a place where you’re thinking, “I guess that placenta teddy bear isn’t so ugly” or “well, she had her placenta powdered and put into capsules—that’s not so bad.” Because, thanks to Blair, I now know afterbirth can and has been baked into a casseroles, carved into a sandwich, and sautéed in a kind of cannibalistic stir-fry.
I wouldn’t dream of using my tampon for a teabag, so I don’t understand this at all. And for a long time, I was able to comfort myself thinking these people who ate their own waste were some hemp-wearing, Park-Slope dwelling mombie types. Surely I didn’t know anyone who would do such a thing.
Until one day I opened up Facebook and saw that my old pilates instructor had posted what appeared to be a deliciously refreshing cocktail of some sort. It was a cheery bright red beverage with a layer of frothy foam on top. It had been exquisitely photographed like it was about to star in an Applebee’s menu.
The caption: Mommy’s first placenta shake. It tastes like heaven.