Vagina Epiphany

At church last night my friend’s husband and I had a frank chat about birthing.  I was excited when the conversation moved in the direction of vaginal tears.  Even though he said cheerfully, “Stitch, stitch, stitch and it’s done,” there was slight indication it was a gnarly affair.    

I probed, “But how was it afterward?”  He explained it was sore and took a little while to heal, but then it was good as new.  “Good as new?” I doubted. 

“Yeah, definitely.”  

“But you can tell it was once ripped to shreds, yes?”  

“Um… no… not really.” 

“It looks the same?  Before and After: No difference?” 

“Well…”  (Pause)  He leaned confidentially and said, “What exactly are you asking here?”  It then dawned on me that we were discussing his wife’s/my friend’s actual vagina.  I brushed it off with something about it not really mattering anyway.  “You’re not going to put a picture of it on the mantel,” he said, “it’s nothing you’re going to take out and show the family.”  True, true. 

When I asked how one gets the abdomen back to its original form he replied, “Surgery!”  I realized all this time I should have been talking post-birth-vagine with men/partners not the birthing women themselves, because with a little more probing I might have stumbled on a wealth of new information.  What did it look like before?  What does it look like after?  Is there scarring?  Does it feel different?  These are mere curiosities, nothing extravagant.  It’s no different than when I was a child and I spent years wondering if a dog raised in a French-speaking country would comprehend English commands.  It was present in my mind for a long, long time, until I met a boy who spoke French and had him ask my dog to sit.  Even though I’d coached him on using my specific intonations, my dog hadn’t the foggiest idea what he was saying.  This made space in my head for whatever curiosities came next.  So until these vagina musings are satisfied, they’ll be occupying valuable thought-space.  And men/partners might be just the ticket.  The problem is, all the men I know are married to my friends and there’s just no way to unearth the secrets of their wives’ vagina’s, and let’s face it, that would be very wrong anyway.  This means I’ll have to find male strangers who are willing to devulge precious info.  It can be accomplished (though much easier if I were joining them in many beers).  One friend of mine assured me that a woman’s body is an extraordinary thing and miraculously all goes back to normal after birth.  But she’s only one.  And anyway, I’m interested in a collection of women’s bodies.  This new avenue is more promising because I’ve always related better to supposed man issues.  Example:  It’s perfectly acceptable for men to have a longing for freedom, the need for space, a high sex drive, the desire for adventure, a restlessness about them while thousands of women just like me feel these very same pangs.  But in ten years of marriage only ONE woman friend has ever owned these feelings.  ONE.  In TEN years.  Yet men are practically expected to have these feelings.  What does this say about us?  Is there a contentment gene I’m missing?  Does curiosity always kill the cat?  Once in a while doesn’t the cat simply discover something new and move on?                     

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8 responses to “Vagina Epiphany

  1. Are you sure whe said acute vagina tear or was it a cute vagina?

  2. Another brilliant entry Shannie. I think you are building a collection of stories that tower over that infamous somewhat humorous book about becoming a mom..it’s so darn infamous I can’t even recall who wrote it! Anne something. Was it Anne Tyler…? Anne…what the heck was her last name. Something lessons was the title….Okay, back to my point. I laughed, I cried…you should get a book deal! You are one amazing writer Shan. You ask the questions everyone is afraid to ask and you do it with such poignancy and humor. Wish I had the answer to your pending question. But as you well know I prefer dogs to kids. But being the good friend I am, I’m going to ask around for you!

  3. A-ha! I found it. Anne Lamott Operating Instructions!
    It pales to compare to your blog.

  4. oh christ i have to follow the name anne lamott.

    curiosity killed the cat because she desires more more more. and hell, we’re lucky with all those lives. mutable felines are we. yesterday i wanted to be home, today i had to get out of here, tomorrow….vaginal tears!

    now listen to me: there’s no promise you will tear (and i’d like to remind you tears heal better naturally all jagged and such – ask.) during birth. i’ve heard the stitching up can be arduous and painful… when you just want to hold your baby(s).

    i think it’s all about the crowning, otherwise known as the ring of fire. incidentally, i dont recall it being all that monumental in terms of FIRE. but if you can stay with the groove of baby baby here comes baby and touch that sweet head (you will trip) then you give yourself more time to stretch instead of freght training through it all. however, i did freight train with bryn (“mommy, do you want to touch his head?……mmmmrrrrrggggghhhhh……. baby!) and still only had a 1st degree tear.

    i had a “superficial” tear with irie. no stitches either time. f word that. you kidding? after labor and pushing, etc. heh eh. no thanks.

    as long as everything is functioning properly, i’m good.

    but dont get me wrong – functional art is my favorite kind. 100%. but i am big on form following function. beautiful is nice but it’s got to WORK.

    and it works juuuust fine!

  5. I didn’t know you went to Church.

    I had two c’s and now I have a handy, dandy wallet flap at my panty line where I can keep all manner of things. Car keys, binkies, condoms (God forbid we have more). Ya know, whatever. I used to measure my body’s “Beauty” by what I could hold under my breasts. 20″s the cigarette falls right out…30’s the cig stay’s put. No one ever told me about the belly. I think all this stuff is in a way ment to keep us from sleeping with our sons, or daughters, friends. Hmm I hope it works.

    You will be fine. I am sure that doesn’t help, but it is true. You will be fine. After raising two boys you may never want to sleep with one again anyway. I mean it isn’t like the baby comes out of your clitoris…. You will still be happy, which is what really matters. It is what makes the house a home.

    And the Pangs, well we all have the pangs, but our gnarled bodies keep us put.
    Just kidding

    Good luck with your research, but don’t ask my husband, he just might die.

  6. I like this Jr. person! She tells it just like it is. She most definately needs to hang out with the wild Buckman mothers.
    Hunny the tummy just is never the same again. Whether you get the C section or the all natural, just forget about it. Not even surgery can fix it! Just a reality of motherhood, you seek and look for other stuff. As with your libido I told you my take on it yesterday, it goes bye bye when your nursing exhausted and just plain do not want one more person touching your boobs. Those boobs are used as constant chew and suck toys and the last thing you want as you lay your head on that pillow at night is one more person wanting to use them for any recreational fun. Go figure! But be assured the libido comes rushing right back a few months later after nursing stops. You can make up for lost time!

  7. Holy crap I too never knew you were the church going type! You learn something new about a person all the time don’t you. bloody hell, I have to watch my jesus crack jokes around you now!
    Is Jr. Julie W?

  8. This post came to me via email through a friend of a friend. I hope the writer is not offended that I’m posting it here, but it’s too brilliant not to share with you ladies…

    “I have to agree with them… unfortunately it just isn’t the same. However, the good news is, the fact that it isn’t the same gets pushed so far down the list of priorites as to become vanishingly small (hmm let’s see: attend to the screaming child, or hold a mirror up to my vagina; sleep, or hold a mirror up to my vagina….. and woe betide any husband who would befoolish enough notice any difference—just SHUT UP AND CHANGE THEDAMN DIAPER OKAY!!!) In short, tell her not to worry….there’salways reconstructive surgery anyway.” <<< nice!

    I don’t know about all you moms, but we tend to go into a year-long haze when our babies are born. I’m counting on that haze to distract me from my new belly wallet and patch-work vagina. I wish I’d photographed my parts so I could see the actual difference, because I’m starting to believe that only five short months ago I had six-pack abs and a virgin vajayjay.

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