Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Does Motherhood = TMI?

(TMI = Too Much Information)

When engaging in a conversation with another mother, it really seems like nothing is off limits. Episiotimies, tearing, forceps, stretch marks, breastfeeding - it is all fair game. In my eleven months in this role, I have had waitresses divulge their birth stories, talked about stitches on the stairs of a rugby club with a new mum and confessed to a few breastfeeding souvenirs on this blog. Women can basically divulge all about their pregnancy, birth and mothering experiences and I won't bat an eye. What cesarean sections aren't normal to discuss in the grocery checkout line?

Before becoming a mother, I would have NEVER, EVER discussed anything surrounding my perineum with anyone. I would have blushed if my doctor brought it up. But now, please, what do you want to know?

During pregnancy, a woman really can't help but get in touch with her body, all its functions and overcome any squeamishness. Even husbands and partners have to toughen up. For a while, placenta was referred to as polenta in our house because Andrew hated the word. (You can guess, we don't eat a lot of polenta anymore.)

Among the company of other mothers, mummies can really open up about their experiences, challenges and triumphs. I for one think this is tremendous! How grand that we live in time where we can learn from one another, find comfort in each other and just vent without shame. Motherhood can be a lonely, challenging place and the fact that us generation of mothers can discuss most anything is a real blessing. For instance, on this blog I have discussed a cracked nipple, some incontinence issues and postpartum depression all without batting an eye!

I'm so grateful for my mummy friends who I can garner wisdom through and whom I can commiserate with. I love that I can talk freely with my own mum about most anything. From day one of my pregnancy, she has said that my generation is smarter than hers was and she chalks it all up to how open women are and how there isn't a stigma tied to a lot nowadays. Motherhood is a club with so many members, and I think it's only fair to discuss experiences with honesty, respect and openness. For the survival of mothers everywhere, it's essential to keep dialogue flowing.

Sure, to those passing by nipple shields and mucous plugs may sound like unnecessary lunch discussion, but to those around the table, it's just a day that ends with "y".

Do you disagree? Do you think certain topics are off limits? Can you openly discuss your experiences or are you a bit shy about it? In the spirit of the topic, let's discuss.


  1. I think it is wonderful that women can be open and share their experiences with each other. So much of our struggles are actually shared experiences and it helps to normalize a lot of the things that happen to us. I think that pregnancy, birth and babies are really a big thing that women go through. Not just the stuff of motherhood but the whole process of getting there. So, I love to embrace people telling me their TMI stories. I get a lot of good ones when they find out I am a labour delivery RN. :)

  2. I'm sure upon hearing that you are a labour delivery RN, many women feel they have license to share. :o)
    I love "normalize" - so, so, so true! And you're right, the journey to motherhood is as important as the destination. Thank you Andrea, for summing it up so perfectly.

  3. This is so true!!! Its like as soon as I get around my mommy friends all talk turns to any possible bodily function that myself or my baby girls might have had from day 1 of pregnancy leading right up to the current day. Things that I just can't share with my hubby. I mean although he was VERY present during the pregnancy, birth, and post birth, he just could not possibly understand like another mother can!!! And I am not one bit ashamed of it!!!! Its like a proud honour badge I wear!!! I gave birth, naturally, tore to the 3rd degree, breastfed till she rejected me which then sent me into a lte on set post pardem depression, bled for weeks after, and have never felt more womenly or sexy as I did through the whole process!!!! I say bring on TMI if your part of the club!! Bring it on!!!

  4. Oh Deanna, I agree. We should be proud of our experiences, challenges and triumphs!
    And, I am in awe of you feeling womanly and sexy through that time. I have to say the opposite is closer to the truth for me ... but I'm overcoming it. ;o)
    ps. I call my daughter 'ladybug', too.

  5. SO SO SO true! Everything is fair game for discussion in my circle of friends....and I wouldn't have it any other way! I think it might be a generational thing because I know that my mother and my mom-in-law are a bit put off by the candid nature of my friendships, but seriously, how else do you normalize and feel ok about what you go through as a mother! TMI? NEVER in my books. I'll gladly listen or spread the word!