Ribbon Candy

At a training conference I watched a video in which the keynote speaker was twenty-five years younger.  In it, her hair was a shiny, black bob that bounced when she spoke.  She wore a t-shirt and jeans.  Her cheeks were like candy apples.  I looked over my shoulder at the woman who stood before me now – cardigan draped at the shoulders, coarse, blunt hair, pale skin – and a passage by Czeslaw Milosz sprang to mind.

In his poem, Old People, Milosz writes:  …They were betrayed by their bodies, once beautiful and ready to dance.  Yet in every one a lamp of consciousness is burning, hence their wonder, “Is it me?  But it can’t be so!”

Fifty will one day seem younger than I thought possible.  Those of us who are fortunate enough to live long, healthy lives face the aging process.  I used to fantasize I’d grow to love my curves, that I’d go grey with grace and dignity, no shame.  But now I realize there’s nothing graceful at all about these greys.  They’re as coarse as horse hair.  Gravity is coming for me.  These thoughts lead me to something I’ve been wondering about for years: What happens to the vagina after vaginal birth?  Why haven’t I heard?  It can’t be good.  I’m not talking about when you’re young and springy.  I mean when you’re past you’re teens and twenties, after pushing a watermellon out, I imagine certain parts of the vagina are left looking a little like ribbon candy.  I’ve seen four births, but post-delivery V is a sight that’s escaped me and since nobody volunteers to talk about this I have only my imagination to rely upon.  Maybe I’m wrong about the visual.  In the end, it’s not that I wouldn’t be thankful for grandchildren, wrinkles and ribbon candy (especially considering the date), but wouldn’t it be nice to hold onto a smidge of elasticity?      



5 responses to “Ribbon Candy

  1. Oh man shannie–as only you can write it! I’m laughing and crying at the same time!
    Can’t speak about the post v birth, as I opted out on kids.
    But I can speak about gravity post 40 and getting older– it blows.

    Hope someone else can enlighten us on the ribbon factor.

    Hey…I need to update a comment from a previous post. I must confess that I’ve watched 5 epsiodes of Californication now and love it. The first two episodes were terrible, but the last three have been great. So please change my vote to a yes when it comes to this new series. 🙂

  2. well, i can speak to this. however, i think i would actually rather SPEAK instead of writing on this blog about the innards of one’s birth canal. ofcourse there are other passengers in this area at times, but in the context of this query, we’ll stick to birth. since you seem quite desperate to have some information, i will tell you that yes, post partum, things are pretty different for awhile. but, amazing creatures we are and everything goes back to the way it once was. mostly. but i must ask – why the sudden wonderment?!

    for the benefit of all women, i will say do kegels and strengthen your pelvic floor, aka gina muscles. this is the best thing you can do to support yourself now, during birth and beyond. as for the aging, i would think less about ribbon candy and more about incontinence. i repeat: kegels. that and stay far away from episiotomies. far far away.

  3. I must confess I was both intrigued and terrified to read the comments to “Ribbon Candy.” Can someone please tell me what episiotomies are?

    I can tell you this much, men do not have the tolerance for pain to push a watermelon out of any orfice of the body! Oh and I will never think of ribbon candy in quite the same way again.

  4. Since you asked Bobby, an episiotomie is when said “watermelon” is too big too push out without tearing the outer hoo- hay to shreds. The doctor then cuts the “area” to make more room for watermelon to easily come out. Once said Watermelon is out, Doc then stiches mom back up to her original form. From what I hear, this is quite painful in the healing process.

    I, myself, will never eat Ribbon Candy again. Thanks Shannon!

  5. i had to see what the other comments have been… love this topic! cant get enough! the concept of episiotomies is conventionally done in hospitals and as more women get empowered in birth, it seems they are slowing down if not stopping. personally, i think the idea of cutting is outrageous and the purported belief that it makes things easier is ridiculous. birthing is what our bodies were made to do! cutting, shmutting. i think i need merely point to the very movie-typical way of birthing – in the reclined position on a bed with legs in stirrups. people, this is not gravity’s way. it was done, i believe, so napoleon could have a better view of childbirth. how convenient for him! when women are allowed to listen to our bodies and follow the nother’s nature, all is good. so it is with all of life! and bobby, you’re brave to enter into the arena! too bad we didnt talk about this at the mt tabor concert!

    the “area”, as so delicately referred to by jb is sometimes quaintly called the “taint” – the in between area of skin – running from this hole to that one – that i keep calling the pelvic floor.

    and is it strange that i actually keep craving candy now? the gummy sweet/sour kind.


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