Photo by Montse PB
I read an article on VICE the other day about why girls should never have babies, and thought to myself: 'Nobody has told this girl about pregnancy orgasms. Nobody has told her that when you’re up the duff, your clitoris can throb so much that you climax like something smashing against a wall. That when you’re pregnant, buzzing on natural drugs that make your skin glow and your hair shine and your breasts swell, you have a rampant urge to be bookended by something hard and fast and nasty.'
You don’t want to make love, you want to be ram-raided. Oh god, it’s brilliant. In fact, it’s so brilliant, it’s almost like it was designed that way to further our species and continue the leadership run of humanity on God’s green and pleasant earth.
But really, the best bit about pregnancy is your tits. There were no pictures of me in a bikini on Facebook before I got pregnant. It wasn’t really my thing then and probably wouldn’t be now. But then I grew these globular breasts, soon to be dripping with milk. (Did you know that the act of breastfeeding actually gives you a woozy rush – a little love-burst, like you've nibbled on half a pill?) Suddenly I found myself spending a hundred dollars on a white and gold bikini – I was in Beverly Hills for work at the time – and enjoying being photographed in pools. All those lovely lady lumps, my humps, with my glamorous new third breast there in the middle; my bump.
Anyway, it’s not just the porn. Pregnancy is also, it turns out, an excellent time to tell arseholes that they’re arseholes. If you thought booze was a good truth serum, wait until you get somewhere near the end of your second trimester. You will be sober, but you will not feel compelled to pretend to have manners. Call a spade a spade, or a total wanker if you like. I've never had so much fun insulting people on Twitter as when I was pregnant. “Fucking hell, she's dropped another burn-bomb,” my friend Grace used to mutter, as she watched another precarious friendship plunge through the social networking cracks.
Because suddenly you think, 'I can do anything! I'm an animal! I’m not just here to form clever sentences, I’m part of a chain of beasts doing beastly things and growing more beasts – the dance of humanity, the dance of life and death and bodies and sprawls and cells. I’m in the game, I’m doing what I was supposed to do.'
Suddenly every sexist thing you ever heard about a woman’s body being designed for the job becomes true. Sexism stops working on you. Gender changes. Roles change. Ideas change. You’re watching the best film in the cinema. You are the film. Sometimes you even put the internet down and go for a massive walk up a massive hill, just because you can. I spent my due date in the DJ booth at Fabric because, by then, I felt so fantastically big that I hungered to feel something in the world that was even bigger than me, and the only thing I could find by that point was noise.
That is, until I got even more pregnant than that – nearly ten months.
My plan had been to have a baby in a birth pool in my living room. It’s not my fault, I’d been encouraged by wild optimists and sat through two screenings of the Orgasmic Birth DVD. (Which is documentary footage of American women who enjoy childbirth so much that they basically get off while the baby comes out, groaning in pleasure rather than agony. I'd also read the Orgasmic Birth book that goes with the DVD and gleefully explained the whole concept to my baby-daddy, who went very pale and said he’d be in the backyard smoking some strong weed.)
Unfortunately the hippie homebirth was not to be, as my cervix turned out to have the attitude of a self-entitled door-girl at some lame, hyper-selective nightclub, refusing to let anyone in or out. Nearly three weeks overdue, looking like I’d adopted pregnancy as a long-term lifestyle option, I was dragged into hospital, where they sandblasted me with drugs for two days and then operated. Those drugs took me to a strange, dark place that looked quite a lot like Sankeys nightclub in Manchester. Men and women came in and out, prodding me, poking me, trying to ask me questions about what I’d had and what I was going to have. All in all, birth reminded me of all the wonderful and awful bits of nightclubs, including the puke, only I wasn't standing in a queue, being groped by strangers and paying money to experience it any more.
When you've been through childbirth and raised a baby, all that existential angst that used to rattle limply around inside your head like a pigeon with a broken wing – all of that: 'What am I doing? What am I for? Why am I here? Look at these long useless limbs of mine' (ketamine-y thoughts, essentially) – disappear into the ether. It's not that you suddenly have the answer, it’s just that you realise how comically stupid those questions were and move on with your life like a normal human being. The body has done what bodies tend to do; your biology has answered some primeval call and response, the next generation has been created. Your dumb-assery is only to be deepened, like Larkin's coastal shelf. And so it continues.
So, get pregnant – it’s great. And if it turns out not to be, you can always have the kid adopted, so everyone's a winner.
Not sure if you want to get pregnant this afternoon? Try these for inspiration: