Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Body Hair

I think I had a plan to move this blog back into the realms of parenting but unfortunately I want to write about something non parenting that's been bothering me for a while so sorry about that!

The thing that has triggered today's rant was posted into my facebook timeline by a group I follow called Woman Against Non-Essential Grooming (WANG for short- fab!).  The link in question is this one from a website called Girls Talkin Smack which seems to be one of those lovely websites where woman go in for the patriarchy big time and start bashing each other over the head with perceived short falls  This post in particular was a gallery of shame of celebs who hadn't been quite so diligent in their hair removal as they should have been.  Ew, it's unsanitary, etc etc.

The things I noticed in the post were that there was very little hair on show so apparently it takes only tiny amounts to be unsanitary and for many of the photos it didn't appear to be hair but natural skin discolouration (which may be caused by constantly removing hair) so not only can you have no hair but you must have no sign that hair was ever there.  Great stuff.

The thing is that this view isn't limited to some crappy website half buried on the internet, it's a view that is so prevalent that even if you want to stop thinking like that it's hard to do so.  The internet and magazines are peppered with the circle of shame giving us permission to point at someone showing evidence that they are human and be disgusted by it.

For years I religiously shaved my legs and armpits, despite the cycle of stubble- shave- lovely silky smooth skin- appallingly itchy skin- scratching my legs to ribbons- stubble etc etc.  I decided enough was enough a few years ago when a shaving rash under my arms was made a million times worse from cycling in the summer.  I know, I sweat too, grim.  The pain was just horrible and for what?  So I stopped, then I stopped shaving my legs.  And I hated the way it looked and felt, it seemed unhygienic and looked "unsightly" however much I told myself that these views had just been pummelled into me from a young age by the society I live in.  But not having to deal with all the itching and pain was such a breath of fresh air.  Now I shave my legs occasionally in the summer and the armpits even less and while I couldn't really give a monkeys about the hairy legs, I have to cautiously admit I quite like the armpit hair.  It looks nice and it feels liberating and to be honest is absolutely no ones business whether or not it is in existence at all.  But it took so bloody long for me to get over the ew factor even though it was my own body.

I now I come to what is probably my most shameful confession, I find writing this post a little embarrassing, admitting that I am a bit hairy is embarrassing.  And while I like my hairy armpits I very rarely wear clothes that expose them because I don't want it to be a thing, I don't want to be looked at and I don't want to swim against the tide and "make a point".  What I want is to have hairy armpits and no one bat an eyelid, I want to see other woman with hairy armpits at places other than the anarchist bookfair (there were a lot there and it was great!).  I don't want everyone to feel that they can't shave because that's not the point, a nice smooth bit of skin is also very attractive and if that is someone's choice then go for it.  I just don't want to feel like a freak for my choices.

I don't need to point out the obvious thing that hair on a woman is no less hygienic than hair on a man because anyone with half a brain can work that out, it is just a shame that it is so much part of our collective psyche that we subconsciously think that.

Maybe I can turn this back into being slightly about parenting...  I love the fact that my daughters don't give a crap that Mummy is hairy (one is admittedly only 8 weeks old) but I do hate the fact that one day they'll grow up and think I'm strange, that makes me very sad. I highly doubt I'll be parading the hairy pits around the school gate as there is no way I'd want them to be bullied for being the hairy lady's girls.  

Some days I wish I had more courage....

Friday, 22 March 2013

Imminent Arrival

Well, here we go again.  I'm nearly 36 weeks pregnant so the next addition to the household will be with us very shortly.  I won't go into details about this pregnancy, it's been much harder going than the last one and no one needs boring with my gripes.  

My feelings towards the whole thing have varied alarmingly from last time.  At times I am very excited about the whole new born thing and even the whole labour and birth thing.  I mentioned in a previous blog post how amazing I found birth last time and I want to feel that kick again, especially as number two is the final one so this will be the last time I'll experience all this.  At other times the idea of being woken up in the night fills me with dread, although I know that new born love feeling which means the baby can do pretty much anything and get away with it.  While I still love Jess more than anything else in the world, I live in dread of that padding of tiny feet in the night time, shortly followed by cold feet in the bed kicking you in the kidneys for the rest of the night.

The negative feelings that have plagued me this pregnancy have mostly revolved around Jess.  Like pretty much every parent under the sun I can't imagine loving a second child as much as I love her.  I'll burst surely?  My overwhelming love for her was like being hit by a train and despite having felt that I can't imagine it happening again.  My life now revolves around keeping this little person safe, happy and hopefully well adjusted.  It'll be knackering doing that with two won't it?

I'm also so scared that Jess will reject me and the new baby and then I'll have problems bonding with the new one and it'll all go to shit.  To prevent this I have tried to include Jess in things as much as possible.  She's been to every midwife appt and scan with me, she has one of the scan photos blu tacked next to her bed and she knows that the new baby is a girl and what she'll be called.  I encourage her to talk to the bump and we discuss what things will be like with the new baby around as much as possible.  At the moment she wants it to sleep in her bed so I have been gently trying to put her off that idea!

Child's sling courtesty of the very talented katiecelf

Jess is very verbal and I suspect I often think her understanding of things is better than it is, so my attempts to explain that the new baby will take up a lot of my time and energy generally generate a blank look and a change of subject to why Mummy is a silly bum bum.  Not to be deterred I have spoken to her lots about where the baby gets its food from and how it'll be born. One of my proudest Mummy moments was when we were walking through the hospital to the first scan and I told Jess to tell her Daddy how the baby would be born.  She shouted out "from your vagina" and my sexual heath nurse's heart swelled with pride!  She's also developed a sweet habit of sticking her soft toys up her top to be pregnant and then pulling them out either to push around in the toy buggy or to carry in her toy ring sling.  She calls herself a little mummy a lot and has developed a bit of an obsession with family relationships and having us pretend to be someone different.

There is a part of me that would love to have her at the birth but I know she'd get bored during labour and obviously as I can't guarantee everything will go smoothly I wouldn't attempt to have her involved.  If I was having a home birth I'd probably think differently on this.  

On the plus side one of the things I am most looking forward to is seeing her becoming a big sister, I obviously hope that she enjoys it and everything will go swimmingly...  But one thing I do know is that she can be a bossy little so and so.  I suspect she'll love having an even littler girl to shepard about.

At the end of the day you can never really predict how things are going to be and like most parenting issues it'll be a case of taking each day as it comes and seeing how we get on.  I'd like to know preparations others made and how they found the second (or subsequent) babies arrival.  Any tips gratefully received!!!