Preparing for birth and the delicate matter of ummm ‘lady garden’ etiquette

Ok, so first off, this is the post that if you are an immediate member of my family, you may not wish to read.  Particularly if you are my mother-in-law, especially if you are my father-in-law, and if you’re a work colleague then definitely pass on this one to save all our blushes.  Delete now, go make yourself a cuppa, perhaps treat yourself to a biscuit, and see if there’s anything good on TV.  Trust me, you don’t want to read this post.  Ok, you gone?  Right, then I’ll proceed…

Regular readers of this blog will know that I am expecting baby number two any day now, literally.  But what you won’t know is that there is something that’s been on my mind for almost as long as the 9-months I’ve been pregnant and making a decision on it has never been more pressing, so – dear reader – I need your help and advice.  No, it’s not the VBAC vs. C-Section conundrum, nor the should I have all the drugs or forego them question, nor even the hot-topic matter of breastfeeding (but yes, I want/hope to, if I can, so fingers crossed).  No, in fact, it is ummm a leeetle bit embarrassing, so I’m just going to come right out and say it… ahem… brace yourselves…

When it comes to preparing for birth, what’s the ummm ‘etiquette’ on ummmm, one’s ‘lady garden’:  phew, I said it, feels so good to say it out loud.  Okay, discuss:

Here’s the thing – last time around, when preggers with Allegra, I had thought this one through ahead of time, for I guess I was that kind of girl back in those days.  On the whole, at that point, I was a “waxer” and when I found out I was pregnant, I then spent the subsequent 9-months diligently visiting my beauty salon of choice to partake in regular “maintenance” of the “area” to ensure that come the birth, I was presentable down below. Why this mattered/matters to me I can’t entirely explain.  I recognise that for midwives and assorted others you end up presenting your “va-jay-jay” to in all matters relating to pregnancy and birth, how your “cave of wonders” looks is probably low on the list of priorities, but it was just something I felt the need to ummm, take care of, in the circumstances.

On that occasion, I ended up having an emergency c-section, and despite my (medically approved) drug-addled state, I remember thinking at the time how glad I was that my “birth cannon” was ready for surgery, i.e. there was no need for anyone to come at me with a Bic razor to “prep the area”.  bicOuch. After all, let’s face it, we’ve all experienced the burn and the prickliness of a shave to the nether regions and it ain’t pleasant and that’s before you factor in that these are medical not beauty professionals, and I doubt they’re down there with a can of shaving foam and a Gillette Venus Breeze Razor with built in shave gel bars (other razors available in all good stores).

But since then, I’ve been too much of a wimp to go back into the beauty salon and resume my waxing regime.  Not least because I was nervous of hot wax over a c-section scar (fears of it being waxed open filled my mind, rationally or irrationally) and so I made do with a bit of Veet here and a bit of tactical abandonment there:  well, after all, without a midwife or doctor to show off my “tunnel of love” to, and with a child and a busy job filling wax-much_1_0my every waking hour, I dunno, it just slipped down my list of priorities and languished somewhere on my to-do list below finding a way to remove yoghurt from the sofa cushions without lifting off the colour and keeping on top of the laundry basket.  I figured as long as I  avoided the somewhat unforgivable “pant beard” look then I could go about my business without the need for any further excessive tending and grooming to the area.  My “Brazilian” years firmly behind me and my “Vajazzle” days having never (and not likely) had a chance to begin.

But, here I am, about to give birth – although I know not yet via what means – and the matter of the “bearded clam”* is on my mind.  Again, let me say, I realise that in the big scheme of things, it really isn’t that important, but aside from the fact that there could be a whole host of people seeing it in the next week or so (actually in the next month or so, I recall those post hospital at home midwife/health visitor “pop ins” where I had to drop my kecks at the dining room table to have my stitches examined… is it just me or is that a weird place to be standing Pooh Bear style, naked from the waist down, while a virtual stranger stares intently at your  “flange”?!), what concerns me are the following words – written on the “Information for Women Planning to have a Baby by Caesarean Section” leaflet that I was given by the hospital this week:

“Your blood pressure, pulse and temperature will be checked and if you haven’t done so already your bikini area will be shaved in preparation for the operation.”

The blood pressure, pulse, and temperature checks I’m cool with.  The idea of someone crudely coming at said “bikini area” to “shave me in preparation” makes me shudder. They’re not going to do it well are they?  They’re not going to take their time and be careful.  I’m not suggesting they’ll go at me all Sweeney Todd or anything, but a slap-dash approach is a distinct possibility and I don’t want to have to deal with the aftermath of that on top of the inevitable post c-section soreness that’ll already be on the agenda.

Clearly I’m not really in a position to do much “lawn mowing” myself at the moment, my bump is of a size where I’ve not been able to view my “front bottom” all that clearly for some time and if I were to go by touch and feel alone, who knows what disaster could result?!  I’m also not of the school of thought that this is one of those matters where I need to get the OH involved:  he’s an accountant, not a beauty expert, he’s good at maths and spreadsheets, not knowing how hot the wax should be and what direction to rip it off in.

So, my thoughts turn to booking myself into a beauty salon and getting a professional on the case, but will that also be awkward and embarrassing – I kind of pity the poor therapist who suddenly ends up with me on the bed, as she tries to tidy up my hitherto (for the last couple of years anyway) neglected “vertical smile”.  Will it even be physically possible?! I’m not exactly that bendable and flexible at the moment, so there’ll be no way I can pull my heel up to my ear or perform any other such potentially necessary acrobatics often required on these occasions.

And if I do go for the professional waxing option, should I go for a mere tidy up (concentrated on the area where they’ll be making the incision)? or should I go Brazilian? or would the Hollywood be the best option in the circumstances – but then will the medical professionals ponder whether I’m some sort of amateur adult film actress, having said that, one look at me beyond my “cha-cha” and they’ll know I’m not, but you don’t want them thinking they’re operating on some sort of slattern now do you?!

Photo courtesy of Philips Bikini Trimmer

Photo courtesy of Philips Bikini Trimmer

I was doing a little research online on the matter – as you do – and came across a discussion forum debating this very issue, where one contributor suggested:  “Cornrows. That will keep it neat and tidy, enhance the impression that you are someone who looks after herself, and avoid the discomfort of post-natal stubble.”  Arguably a little Katie Price circa 2004, but not necessarily a bad shout…

Argh, what to do?!?  I need help!  So tell me… what would you do?  Or, if you’re willing to share… what DID you do? I’m running out of time to get my “whispering eye”** in order!

*yes, I googled “slang words for vagina” in a bid to pepper this post with some alternative ways to describe the “area” – please feel free to add any additional terms you might prefer to use in the comments box (no, that’s not a euphemism, I really am just talking about the comments box).

**this is one of my particular favourites heh heh, I’m also quite fond of the ‘bearded clam’ descriptor … I feel I’ve learnt a whole new vocabulary in the writing and research of this post!

PS.  If you are an immediate member of my family, a work colleague, or someone else who knows me well and ignored my advice not to read this somewhat personal post, then let’s just be British and never speak of it and that’ll be best for all involved.  I thank you.

19 thoughts on “Preparing for birth and the delicate matter of ummm ‘lady garden’ etiquette

  1. With my first I was unshaved… Just trimmed. But since then I’ve realised that men prefer a neater area down there. So i shave. I’ve never waxed and that scared me. But was going to book myself in for one this time. But the thought of growing it to a wax able length was horrifying. So I’ve been shaving every other day for the past few weeks. And my golly I’m itchy! But I just keep thinking that I have to be prepared for this occasion. Haha.

  2. Very funny post Bianca. I have heard of pre-labour waxes so I am sure your therapist won’t be horrified. I can’t actually remember what I did. I remember pondering it though along side how to maintain my general dignity – what to wear in labour etc. birthing gown, nightie? The brief flashes of labour that return to me of standing stark naked in my bathroom (I was hot) in front of my doula make me realise I did not much hold onto dignity. But I think one is forgiven in labour 🙂 xx

  3. p.s. good luck with it. Dare I say, my second birth was mind blowing (in a good way although painful too!) I am slightly envious. It all seems so long ago now. The second birth (lets put the first down to practice :-)) was the single most amazing experience of my life. I hope yours is too. xx

    • Thank you – I think I might well end up with elective c-section, which I’m sure will be a positive experience but not necessarily in the mind-blowing category… Still you never know, I have until Thurs to go into labour naturally so… Either way, am just looking forward to baby arriving safe and sound and us finally getting to meet her 🙂 xx

  4. Hahahahahaha! I did not tend to my ‘area’ before my emergency c-section and do remember lying on the operating table, after being in labour for 36 hours, maybe even having had a little no.2 type accident, surrounded by a team of students and doctors as they prepared to cut me open and thinking FUCK I should have gone for a wax. I kid you not, have no idea why it was important to me at that point in time. They shaved me, it was mortifying. Even with all the drugs inside me, I was still embarrassed. Throw money at the problem xx

    • There is something fundamentally mortifying about being shaved in preparation I agree – no matter what has preceded the situation! I agree, throwing money at the situation is what’s called for here – I have managed to find a salon in Richmond with pre labour prep waxing options (only in Richmond!) – I’ll be booking in (just hope I don’t go into labour before Tuesday as they’re shut until then!)

      PS. 36 hours?!?! Aaaargh poor you! Mine was 34 hrs, hideous!

  5. Haha this is something I was thinking about as I lay in the bath last night having just hair removed my hair for what would be the last time this pregnancy. It was very difficult due to a bump in the way! I usually take it all off, I have been doing since I was about 17 but I think due to it being on show to what could be elderly midwives I will go for a Brazilian wax so as not to distract them with thoughts of why I have no hair! I would say wax though, you don’t want to be scratching down there following the birth and cheap razors are terrible for that! X

  6. Perhaps it’s my juvenile sense of humour, but I loved all the different euphemisms you crammed in!

    I had an unplanned c-section and must admit that I’ve never been in to the whole Brazilian look. Although I had done a nice job of pruning my borders and trimming the lawn, I hadn’t bargained for the turf removal required for a c-section. So they came at me in theatre…. With an electric Ladyshave. I kid you not.

    To be honest though, they didn’t do a terrible job. It was done right after they put the catheter in, which felt far more undignified. And afterwards neither myself or my husband had any time to be looking at it before it grew back! It meant no shaving foam required, no razor rash or chances of additional incisions in that area, and I honestly can’t recall it itching when it grew back. But that may be because I didn’t, and still don’t, have any sensation in a huge swathe of my lower stomach and bikini area. (The joys of caesarean delivery!)

    Although it wasn’t that bad, and we’re not even expecting again, I must admit that the question of what to do should there be a next time vexes me already!

    • ha ha it is a vexing issue, tis true! well, an electric ladyshave sounds marginally better than a Bic disposable… or is it?!? hard to say… I did enjoy the various euphemisms too – we must share the same juvenile sense of humour hee hee xx

  7. I’m only 16 and i decided to experiment with shaving down there once a few months ago. i only shaved a tiny part at the top and let me tell you, the next few weeks were HORRIBLE! as the hair grew back it became so painful, unbelievably itchy and i developed a really sore rash. I am NEVER going to shave down there EVER again. and if a guy ever tells me to in the future, he can piss off. Women have to go through so many painful things, like waxing, eyebrow plucking, high heels(that cause blisters and bunions, corns etc.), the wires underneath some bras, thongs etc. Plus the countless number of annoying things like painting toenails, shaving armpits everyday, periods(cramps, tampons, remembering when you’re on), waiting for your body to finally develop so you don’t look like your best friend’s little sister, trying to stay slim whilst being offered really nice food 24/7, and basically, a hell of a lot of things that just get on my nerves all the time. Not to mention i’m probably eventually going to have to go through one of the most painful experiences known to man, or should i say woman. childbirth! I’d like to see a guy shove a baby through his penis-hole! All this, and some guys have to be so shllow and self-absorbed that they can’t respect any of that and demand that we suffer from burning rashes down there everyday, just so they don’t get hair between their teeth. They seem to be fine getting stuff between their teeth when it’s food, and they’re in a fancy restaurant!! How much more vain can a guy get? I think it’s fine if a woman shaves/waxes/trims down there for HER, but not if it’s just to please someone as low, and as disgusting as a man (no offense to the guys who actually respect women’s opinions, i’m talking about the pigs that don’t).

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