No longer innocent…

On my pregnancy yoga teacher training, Carolyn Cowan asked us, one day, to consider the experience of having been pregnant and given birth and, within that, what we were ‘no longer innocent about…’ as a result.

I enjoyed this exercise enormously and, on a long walk the next morning, opened the notes app on my phone and wrote the following list. I publish it here, unedited. Perhaps it will resonate. A warning, if you have not yet crossed that threshold it may be a list that you do not want to read.

You are not longer innocent about…

Cold Terror
The reality of unconditional love
The medicalised body
The harm you can cause another
Bodily fluids, in all forms
Holding shame
The male gaze
The patriarchy
What exhaustion really means and feels like
The value of silence
The privilege of freedom
Why men fear and loathe women so very often
The magic of arnica
The joy of cabbage leaves
Explosions of poo
Human faeces under your nails…
… or in your hair
… or on your favourite book, chair, wall…
The inherent maleness of human geography
Resentment, what that can feel like, really
Why your own mother seemed distant
Or angry
Or frightened
Or really lost
The speed of time
The price of nappies
Why we must choose our battles
Becoming invisible
Being pitied in public
That the buck stops with us
Cracked nipples Infections
Pain, again
Being pinned to a sofa for 20 hours a day
The joy of breastfeeding
Your own, internalised, misogyny
Your own inner child
The fragility of friendship
The value of friendship
Breast pads
Muslin squares
The politics of baby wipes
What women hold
How angry you are
That humans really are mammalian creature likes any other, just with over evolved brains
How terrifying your own thoughts can become
Ella’s kitchen pouches
Intrusive thoughts
The sensory overload of your feeding child’s exploring hands
Why ‘screaming into your pillow’ is a cliché for a reason
Every little thing you took for granted before
Unconditional love, again
Why you were wrong about all those parents you judged about TV time
Why you were wrong about all those parents you judged about anything

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