Friday, January 13, 2012

Speaking Of Birthiness

I just recalled something that landed me in the, "that man is a lunatic" book of someone I knew and have only heard from once since.

Before my daughter was born I was doing my Masters at Buffalo State College in NY. I wasn't thinking about babies or anything like that at the time. At the beginning of my time there I made a few associations with people - as you do - before settling down a group of three or four people whom I would pretty much spend all my time with exclusively. Anyhoo one of the young women I'd hung around with early on was someone I didn't see for about 7 or 8 months. Then one day I was sat outside waiting for a class with some other people I knew when they waddled up to me - all massively pregnant. They were with their significant other and I was pretty surprised by how pregnant they were. The last I'd seen them they were slim and bouncing all over a Creative Thinking class (much sillier than it sounds) trying to keep their massive bosoms in their shirt - but failing to do so and everyone laughing about it. Now here they were - their bellybutton seemingly trying to force itself off of their body. The surprise sort of threw me off and the hilarious casual small talk I'm legendary for (ahem) deserted me. Especially as her significant other eyed me deeply suspiciously as not only a man who may steal away his pregnant not-wife, but one who clearly was using a fake British accent so as to try and trick his way into her knickers. I know this because the only time I spoke with her after this was about 6 months later and she laughed that her boyfriend has asked her, "why do you know that guy?" and had been huffy about the whole thing.

Anyway, at the time I was a virgin as far as pregnancy, birth and having kids goes. I wasn't an ignorant idiot - but I couldn't empathize or offer any kind of knowledge on the subject. And as it was such a hot spring day and she was hugely pregnant it was quite difficult to not look at the acres of exposed stretched baby-bumps that were protruding out of her. After asking about classes, what she was up to and any ideas for names I ran out of things to say as her weird boyfriend leered at me. So after a few seconds of uncomfortable silence I blurted out, "so are you going to eat the placenta then?"

Now - some people do say that I'm the sort of person who will cross some social boundaries if I think the whole thing is funny. That's probably fair. But I didn't really know this girl. She'd heard me mucking around in class a few times - but as an always collar-wearing English-accent using young man I had accidentally been thought of by a lot of people as a polite very-proper well-spoken smart man. As opposed to the foul-mouthed, vulgar connoisseur of deeply-suspect dark humor that I really am.

With this in mind she looked at me as if I told her there's still time to have an abortion. "They teach us how to do it at boarding school in England with a rolling pin. I can do it for you," she seemed to hear me say. Her other half clearly didn't really know what a placenta was - but he was conscious of the fact that it was something located somewhere up his girlfriend's lady cave - and that it might be possible that I was trying to touch it. So he just looked confused and she thought I had said something revolting that I'd made up.

After the hugely pregnant friend and the confused boyfriend left it transpired that not one of the other three people I was with had ever EVER heard of the practice of eating the placenta. It's not that odd a notion. I've heard of people doing it and not being considered vampires or insane sad-masochists or anything. I've even seen recipes that people have helpfully provided others considering it. But I'm assuming that in clinical sacred baby-land that suggesting this to the OBGYN or casually amongst friends is considered to be completely nuts.

Which is why I know ask absolutely anyone I know that is pregnant if they are going to do it. And if not do they mind if someone else does.

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