Tonight I watched the lovely yet crazy Radford family (19 kids and counting) trek to Australia to meet another large family. The admiration I have for the Radford parents, Sue and Noel is mountainous. Every time I think to myself, shit that’s a lot of washing, I think it can’t be a patch on their daily load, and when I cant stand the whingey noise of my three simultaneously moaning or crying, again I think, it’s probably a quiet day in the Radford household.
Perspective is what I get from watching the one-off documentaries of Britain’s largest family and I’m very grateful for it. I’m also amazed by the workings of the human body, how one woman can fall pregnant 23 times and labour 19 times is utterly miraculous. I personally moaned all the way through my three pregnancies and I can’t imagine my husband could bear it if I was pregnant ever again! In fact during our third labour, and me moaning (in pain may I add) he said quite loudly, “Thank god this is our last”. If I had the energy to lump him one, I probably would have, instead I enjoyed supping on the gas and air! Now there’s a thought, has Sue Radford, experienced gas and air all 19 times? Because that stuff to me is wonderful.
But really, people often wonder why a couple would want to have so many children. But in the beginning part of the program the couple touch on both being adopted, however its clear to see that this is not the sole reason they have wanted a large family, if at all. They talk excitedly about meeting their newborn baby and how excited they get, and that each time is just as exciting as the first. And this I agree with.
For me its not just that euphoric moment when you have given birth and laid eyes upon the new member of your family, I find the excitement begins as labour does. For me with number one and two this was on the way to the hospital as I was preparing for an induction. Knowing, whilst pain-free, that your baby will be born that day, is overwhelming exciting but also ridiculously nerving! But the mix of both these anxious feelings makes the whole experience, memorable, almost alien like in an amazing way and spacy (well that’s if you were also high on gas and air like me).
It’s weird how excruciatingly painful labour is, and the after bits, ewww what a car crash of a fanny you are left with! Crying every time you go for a poo, dreading it just as much as birthing a baby and leaking boobs, night sweats and then allowing everyone and his dog coo over YOUR baby! Then they even demand a cuddle! Shit that’s difficult.
That newborn smell, Noel Radford still enjoys and who wouldn’t? Those first few nights of newness and that bubble you are in as soon as you have them. Despite horrendous afterpains. So many questions I have for that Sue Radford, like how painful are the afterpains after 19 children because so I hear they get worse with every baby? And for me after number three I was at home practically crying over them, outraged I hadn’t been sent home with gas and air!
The human brain does this funny thing in forgetting really how painful having a baby is until you’re at that point of no return, like the head crowning!!!! Owwwww. With baby number two I felt my eyes roll into the back of my head and then I focused on the midwife whom I had taken an instant dislike too shouting at her that I had been tricked! She asked me to repeat what I had said! “Tricked…I’ve been tricked” I shouted, “I don’t remember this, ever being this painful!”. In all fairness I think the quickness of labour number two was far more painful than number one, and I most definitely had reached my pain threshold! I actually thought I was dying, and then the bitch of a midwife, takes the gas and air away for the pushing bit!!! As if, drug free I had to push! Pain is a good motivator! You will do anything to get that pain away!! So push I did!
Sue Radford has done this 19 times! Wow! And as she comments in the documentary that all people assume that by number 19 they just fall out! But no, they don’t , she describes it still being just as painful! That woman deserves a fucking medal and a crown. Because after birth, no matter how that’s happened for you, you feel heroic, empowered and a god dam machine!! I mean you just shot out something the size of a melon out of something the size of a lemon. There was blood, probably shit, maybe even a tear and then tears or even just utter amazement. It’s a night you never forget (sorry mine have all been born at night) and that feeling you get straight after is worth a million pounds. Rich with love are the Radford’s. Lets all envy that!
So tonight whilst watching the Radford’s talk about why they keep on having children, they recall the wonder of it all and that euphoric feeling that is kind of addictive…well clearly to them. I get that, I really do, maybe I’m a little sad I wont do it again, and its true when you hear of a friend experiencing that feeling for the first time you can even feel a tincy bit jealous. But then perspective kicks in and my thoughts remain with her swollen fanny, the fact she will have to piss in a bath for maybe about a week, pop arnica like sweets, bath in tea tree oil and tense her bum cheeks in fear every time she sits down!
So Sue and Noel, thanks for perspective. But thanks for reminding me about the wonder of it all and how lucky we all our to experience it in our own unique and very painful way. Please keep up the documentaries, because I am truly fascinated, and could really use some tips!
Share with me on Facebook your thoughts, and try catch this program on 4seven if you can.