We should never feel ashamed about oversharing
Fellow mums, we need to talk.
Because newly published research has confirmed that we don’t talk enough. Not about the stuff that we should be talking about, anyway.
Apparently, more than a quarter of us are too scared to discuss the issues that are causing us the most concern.
And that’s because these issues - which range from breastfeeding problems to traumatic birth experiences - are also the things that cause us the most shame.
The problem is, our reluctance to speak out is having an impact on our physical and emotional wellbeing.
Sure, it’s not easy to bring these topics up during a casual conversation. We’d all much prefer to exchange ideas about where to go on family day trips than swap advice about dealing with leaky nipples or erratic bladders.
But we’ve all been there, we’ve all suffered, and perhaps if we start opening up about the more unsavoury parts of parenting, it’ll help us all to cope a little bit better.
But that conversation needs to start somewhere, and it’s starting to go viral, thanks to a brave new social media campaign, called #TheMassiveOvershare.
The best thing about it is that we can all get involved. By ditching the shame and speaking out about the issues that really affected us after giving birth, we could be helping the next cohort of mums feel more informed, and more empowered, when they begin their own parenting journey.
This is why I’ve decided to do a little oversharing of my own, about an issue that seldom gets discussed. An issue that, according to the aforementioned research, is the subject we’re the least likely to talk about.
Particularly postpartum sex.
Because I really, really wish someone had told me what it was going to be like to get back in the saddle after giving birth.
For me it was absolutely horrendous. Excruciating, even. I’d go as far to say it was even more painful than the act of giving birth.
That first time felt like someone had got a metal skewer, stacked it with razor blades, then started turning it very slowly inside of me.
And I’d had a relatively straightforward birth. I’d hate to think what it might have felt like if I’d had to be stitched back together.
I didn’t understand how it could still feel so raw ‘down there’. It had been more than six weeks since I’d had the baby. The rest of me felt absolutely fine.
To be completely honest, the whole encounter shook me. It left me fearing that I might never feel ‘normal’ again.
Obviously everything eventually did go back to normal - I’ve had two more kids since - but at the time I didn’t know that, and I was too bloody scared to ask anyone if what I was experiencing was, in fact, normal.
The only time I got anywhere close to discussing the topic of postpartum sex was at my six-week checkup where my GP talked about my contraceptive options.
Still to this day, I have no idea whether my experience is common among other women.
But that shouldn’t matter anyway.
It was an experience that troubled me, and I should never have felt embarrassed or ashamed to talk about it.
So I just thought I’d put it out there. In case anyone else wants to know and is too scared to start a conversation.
And I urge the rest of you to start oversharing too. The more we talk, the more we’ll all benefit.