By Shana Genre
So you’re pregnant. Congratulations! Your first task is to create a detailed birth plan that focuses exclusively on your baby. Remember, natural birth is what is best, and anyone who suggests otherwise hates children. It is also crucial that you choose midwives to attend your labor and delivery, as doctors are butchers on the hunt for a c-section. Finally, be sure to consider home birth. Why would you deliver in a sterile, impersonal environment when you could instead be miles away from the visual assault of lifesaving equipment?
When creating the birth plan, there are many questions that you should consider. Do you want to have a doula present? Do you want music playing? What about candles? These questions are of the utmost importance and should take precedence over less pressing subjects such as postpartum support and recovery.
Perhaps you’ve heard about complications such as hemorrhage, preeclampsia, or placenta previa. Brush these ideas aside, for they are merely fear tactics designed to rob you of the empowerment that comes with enduring bodily agony. It is a known fact that women are easily frightened, so trust that you will be more empowered by imagined fictions than potential truths. Just find out if you can labor in a whirlpool or bounce on a yoga ball and move on.
Read Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth, which will describe how natural birth will give you incredible orgasms. It will also illustrate how any complications that arise were either invented by the medical industrial complex or brought on by your own delusions. There’s nothing quite like self-doubt to nurture your sense of autonomy!
You should feel a sense of transcendence as you give birth. If you do not, you’re doing it wrong. If you opt for painkillers, you will lose the opportunity to feel the euphoria that comes with childbirth. You must resist all medical interventions—even if you are one of the increasing numbers of women delivering at an advanced maternal age, even if you are one of the many women of color at a higher risk for complications. Those facts are scary and detract from the spa experience your Park Slope friends encouraged you to manifest.
When you discuss vaccines with your provider, be wary. Make it clear that you don’t want to put any unnatural ingredients into your child’s body, even if those ingredients are lifesaving. Emphasize your desire to protect your infant from vaccine injury. Why should your child be a pawn of the system so that everyone else can have robust herd immunity? This is America, and we take care of our own here.
It is important that you buy an infant carrier, as everyone knows that your child must be constantly attached or risk becoming a sociopath. Plus babywearing frees up your hands! Sure, you could use those hands to volunteer at Planned Parenthood or canvass for Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, but why would you do that when you could be shopping, cooking, and cleaning?
Maybe a “friend” suggested that you might be exhausted, unshowered, or incontinent. Didn’t anyone tell her that new motherhood is a time of magic? Unlike her, when you return home, the clouds will part as a beam of light touches down and blesses you with the ability to divine the needs of a tiny infant. Just wait: in no time at all, your unblemished face will glow with the primordial joy that can only come from scratching the cradle cap off of an infant’s head. The experience will be so joyful that you will look around and wonder if you are in Heaven.
You must start breastfeeding as soon as possible, ideally while the child is still in the womb. Breastfeeding has numerous health benefits for mother and child, even if it sometimes feels like a shark is gnawing on your breast. Just be ready to shell out a whole bunch of cash for pumping bras, lactation consultants, and an extended maternity leave. You should also have a job that provides a cozy pumping room and excellent health insurance—easy peasy. Better yet, just stay home—nothing dismantles the patriarchy more effectively than a woman who has left the workforce. Finally, did you know that breastfeeding burns calories? Daddy will love that!
Refuse to be in the same room as infant formula or a woman who would feed it to her child. Use social media to castigate such a woman, even if research indicates that the advantages of breastfeeding are marginal in the developed world. Plus any mother who opts for formula runs the risk of enjoying a little independence, and we can’t have that.
Perhaps when your child turns one or two or even four—the typical age of weaning in countries known for their championing of women’s rights—you’ll be interested in saying goodbye to breastfeeding. Good luck! Information about weaning is classified. Just intone breast is best—you can figure out the rest.
If your baby is having trouble sleeping, just co-sleep. If you can’t get enough rest in this arrangement, that’s your fault—you aren’t tired enough. Whatever you do, do not use a swing as a sleep aid. Instead, put your yoga ball to use again! Bouncing your little one to sleep at two a.m. is a great workout. Before you know it, you’ll be skinny, a.k.a. relevant again.
Turn deaf ears to any mention of “sleep training,” a highly effective practice that can lead to ostracism in the mothering community. Sleep deprivation just comes with the territory, so why not learn to love it? Your best option is to have a good sense of humor—especially since Daddy will likely be sleeping on the couch!
You might start to feel a little socially isolated, which is understandable since it takes you ages to leave the house. Now is the time to join a local mom group, where you can meet other women who also have babies. It won’t matter if you have little else in common, for if you have taken my advice, you will have forgotten yourself already.
About the Author
Shana Genre is a parallel structure fangirl who lives in Portland, ME. Her writing has been featured in McSweeney’s, The Belladonna Comedy, Points in Case, and Slackjaw. Much to the horror of her family, she sometimes performs stand-up comedy.