giving birth

Sending Invitations To The Actual Birth Of Your Child Is A Thing That Should Not Be A Thing

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surprise-partyI love a party as much as anyone else, but the actual birth of your child is not a birthday you should be sending invitations to. An Australian woman does not agree with me. She sent a dozen invitations for the day of her labor, so her child wouldn’t have to come into the world alone.

Katy Chatel is a single mother who says she was worried about being alone when she gave birth. To ensure this did not happen, she decided to throw a ‘party’ of sorts – she reached out to several people in her life that she is currently close to or had been at one time, and sent out some invitations. To her labor. In her home. From Essential Baby:

I sent invitations on burgundy scrapbooking paper stamped with a field of poppies, and told each person why I wanted him or her there. I asked for flowers and takeout food. I needed yoga coaching and someone to fill and empty the birthing tub. I demanded ocean sounds and pictures. I asked for everyone to brush their teeth and skip the perfume. I warned that there would be nudity.

What ever happened to inviting your best friend or your sister along? I think this is one of those scenarios where you simply don’t feel right saying “no.” Wouldn’t you feel like a jerk? Hey, do you want to come along to witness the birth of my baby? You can’t respond to that question with, NO. Can you?

I wasn’t sure who would come. But even as the temperature rose to 30 degrees in my apartment with no air conditioning, everyone stayed and became intimate participants in Jessey’s birth. They stood with me while I was on the toilet trying to poop to help get Jessey down. They blended a cod liver and orange juice drink that’s said to help bring on stronger contractions and watched as I slugged it down. My friend Rebekah helped a midwife wrap my belly in another friend’s scarf for rebozo sifting. Between contractions I swayed with my high school friend Josh like an awkward middle school slow dance between two gay friends. They all took turns holding an electric breast pump to my nipples trying to stimulate my contractions when they weren’t strong enough.

Maybe I just have shitty friends. I can say with some measure of confidence that if I asked any of them to help me poop and stimulate my nipples they would not be amused. I mean, my friends are amazing and all but I’m pretty sure there is a line that they will not cross and I think that line probably starts with helping me poo. And ends at manual nipple stimulation or getting afterbirth on one of their scarves. Seriously, good for her for having such wildly supportive friends. I think if I sent one of these invitations to any of my friends from high school they would respectfully decline.

It didn’t matter that I was naked or that my friend tried to stuff my hemorrhoids back as I pushed harder. It didn’t matter that at first I had on my bottom-of-the-drawer ugly underwear and puked into my sister’s hands. The more I let go, the more they came in. There was nothing to feel shame about. I well up with a mix of awe, pride and gratitude thinking of the remarkable friendships I have.

For the record, the Essential Baby article has pictures of her friends in birthday hats — looking totally nonplussed by what they just experienced. So I guess one person’s nightmare of shoving a friend’s hemorrhoids back up her butt is another person’s “no big whoop.”

(photo: kurhen/ Shutterstock)