Everything I’ve ever learnt in life has come from cinema. Film, to me, is supposed to be like a sort of Wikipedia role play; completely factual so long as it doesn’t have any alien spaceships or Cameron Diaz in it.
So when I was alerted at 6am this morning that my sister’s water had broken and it was all systems to go, I prepared myself for a dash to the finish line, car keys in hand and the closest pants available hurried on backwards.
But to my utter surprise, no one was doing anything. My family was sat around on the couch, the golf on TV for some reason and everyone eating toast. What the fuck? Where was the urgency? The fear? The excitement? The wet seats and fireworks? Nowhere. Nothing. No how.
Words like ‘dilated’ and ‘crowning’ were thrown about, mostly by me, in a fit of rage as no one seemed to be taking the situation seriously. Hadn’t they seen any hilarious romantic comedies about speeding off to the hospital and getting all red lights? Or running through the corridors of the hospital with the baby being dragged by the umbilical cord from room to room? No, they obviously hadn’t. All they were interested in was whether or not the peanut butter was smooth or crunchy. Appalling behavior!
‘Isn’t this supposed to hurt,’ I asked. ‘It kinda does, but nothing’s really happening yet,’ she responded. ‘Then why the Christ am I out of bed?’ I wondered to myself. Is this point in the process that important that we all need to be missing out on sleep? She’s not even sweating or swearing or in any visible discomfort. What a crock!
Now I’m not about to peddle out the old ‘if men gave birth, it’d be all over by lunch time, no mess or fuss or whining’ cos that’s absolute bullshit. Women are far superior to us in pretty much every conceivable way, but as mere spectators we’re overcome with nerves and empathy because we’ve got no idea what is happening or how it feels. So, long ago we turned to movies to educate us in what to do and how to do it for when match day arrives. But we’ve been lied to, again. Led down the garden path to stressing out ourselves and everyone else around us. All we can actually do is apologise, but it’s kinda not even our fault anyway. It’s what we’ve been taught to expect when someone is expecting.
Even right now (now at the time of writing, not now at the point of you reading this, who knows how long it’ll take you to get through this many words!) my family is all scattered about town at their respective jobs, going about their normal days whilst my sister and her husband are sat in a hospital suite, chilling out and probably doing shots or eating nachos; all cool, calm and collected. Waiting with professional help on hand, no panic or concern or repeated coaching of ‘breathe, breathe’ like in the movies.
So here I wait. Trying to evenly distribute my nervousness and excitement as to not wear myself out before the event. I mean, I’ve been up since six. I’m knackered.