Childbirth truly is a beautiful and miraculous thing, but holy shit, can we also be honest and say it’s a real freakin’ nightmare for our buttholes? Why is this almost never discussed? Everyone shares stories about vaginal tears and episiotomies because obviously the vag takes a major beating during delivery, but our poor poop chutes are like Hamilton’s Peggy Schuyler. They’re screaming for attention and nobody cares.
We know about hemorrhoids. We know we could tear down there. We know there are degrees of tearing. But where are the real, down-and-dirty in-the-trenches butthole stories? I was talking with a friend about this last week. She didn’t even tear, and yet after 3 hours of pushing, she said damn if her anus won’t ever be the same. She’s told almost no one about this, and her kid is three.
Why do we not talk about this (literal) shit? Is it a defense mechanism in order to ensure the continuation of the human species? Or just embarrassing?
Either way, we asked readers to put aside their reservations for a minute and share their labor and delivery and beyond butthole stories, and y’all really delivered (so to speak). Here are a just a few:
1. Motherfucking hemorrhoids.
“I don’t even know what’s going on. It’s like it was partly inside out after I gave birth to my son and I could feel that something weird was going on when I was pushing. And it’s still swollen? My gynocologist says is just hemorrhoids, but nothing hurts (most of the time). I guess there are just hemorrhoids that hang out back there. Who knows. But right after I gave birth and I had my first post-birth poop (which was not as bad as after having a C-section), I was like, ‘WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK IS GOING ON WITH MY BUTT.’ Still a mystery. And maybe one I’m not interested in solving.”
I mean, she should probably try to get to the bottom of this (pun intended) with a healthcare professional, but hemorrhoids (and their aftermath) are not an uncommon occurrence for us moms.
2. Anal leakage.
“I am a nurse who worked postpartum for two years before I switched to nursery. I had one poor patient who was a young woman who called me to her room and was absolutely terrified because, as she said, her ‘anus was broken.’ It was really just a little leakage from having pushed so hard to get the baby out, which isn’t unheard of.”
Anal leakage? I don’t remember this being in my What To Expect book.
3. Poop scooping in public bathrooms.
“After my first, I had expected constipation that they warned me about though I never had an issue. Once the hormones settled down and things changed, imagine my surprise when I discovered there would be times I’d have to scoop poop out! Yup. Would just sit there, not coming out but right there trying to. It even happened the first time in a department store with my mother waiting outside who so helpfully poked her head into the very full bathroom and yelled ‘Erin, you okay? You’ve been in there a while!’ What was I to do? Yell out ‘No Mom, I’m sitting here trying to figure out a way to get this shit out of my ass without using my fingers and having to walk out into this busy bathroom to wash my shit covered hands in front of all these ladies?”
“With my second pregnancy, I then had lots of fun anal leakage… And after my second was born, I experienced what I thought was my insides constantly threatening to fall out, and when the midwife dismissed me saying everything looked fine, I had to do my own research to find that, in fact, my anus was bulging into my vaginal canal. Thanks, kids. You guys are great. Let’s see what fun anal issues this third one brings!”
Anal leakage and poop scooping. This is not a thing that gets talked about, WTF.
4. The tearing. OMG, the tearing.
“Nurse here. I’ve seen some women who have had what we call fourth degree tears, where they tear from the baby cross ways in the vagina, and then long ways to the anus, so that the anus tears as well. Let me tell you, those ladies will never be the same after that, no matter how skilled the OB happens to be at repairing it. It is extremely painful and they can barely walk.”
IS NOTHING SACRED??
5. Shitting on the delivery table.
“I had no idea it was normal to shit in the delivery room. I realized the nurse was wiping my ass and when I asked if I shit she just ignored me until I was insistent that I get an answer.”
Oh, dear. Perhaps we ought to talk more about shitting on the delivery table. (We all did this, right? RIGHT?)
6. More poop scooping.
“I had an epidural, but my butt hole and vagina didn’t numb! Of course they didn’t believe me, not that there was anything else they could do. Anyway, the poor nurse is SCOOPING poops out of my anus! I knew women usually poop on the table, no big deal. I thought I’d have a little, but NO! She just kept scooping! It hurt, I could smell it, and I was horrified by how much poop I seemed to have. Not my best moment.”
More poop scooping. See? This is a thing, and no one talks about it.
7. And shitting our pants.
“Grade 3, almost grade 4, tear here with my first born. Literally had no bowel control for over a month postpartum. Shit my pants, not pleasant memories. My 2nd and 3rd were C-sections.”
I mean, yeah a C-section kinda does sound like a walk in the park after that. (We know it’s not, but damn.)
8. Purple grapes hanging from our buttholes.
“You mean besides the little purple ‘grapes’ aka hemorrhoids that hang just outside the poop zone permanently? Nope, nothing weird.”
Nothing to see here, folks.
9. Poop in the pool.
“I don’t know if this is what you mean but I had a water birth and it was disgusting because you can’t control those muscles while trying to push a baby out. They got me out and changed the water before she was born. Then I didn’t poo for about a week because I was too scared of ripping my stitches!”
Sorry, gentle water birthers, but weird shit will happen to your butt too.
10. The hell that is prolapse.
“I had an anterior (vaginal) and posterior (rectal) prolapse with my second and he was a C-section.”
What?! Even when we get a C-section, we still can’t escape anal antics! I want to speak to a manager.
11. Broken tailbones
“It didn’t happen to me, but my OB told me that she has had patients who broke their tailbones while giving birth.”
12. Our asses are literally turned inside out.
“Besides watching it turn ‘inside out’ then tear open, more severely than expected, so that subsequent births left me with a strange but untroubling (thank goodness) hernia? Nah, not a thing.”
In summary: Women (and their assholes) are superheroes. Now, who else has a sudden hankering for a sitz bath?