Nobody Told Me by Hollie McNish

Nobody Told Me

Hollie McNish

Forget Dr Spock and the baby manuals, this searingly honest and intimate diary/memoir from the front line tells you all you need to know (or wish you had known beforehand) about having a baby. Whilst the miracle of birth is celebrated in prose and poetry, in all its beauty and terror, the gory details of the subject are not for the squeamish.

At the six week check-up after birth, the nurse looked between my legs and said I’m healing. And then she said, 'You’re OK to have sex again'...
And I thought, 'Fuck you.'
What the nurse meant was: 'You can now insert a penis into your vagina without any negative post-birth-related health effects.' That does not mean I am ready to have sex. That doesn’t mean I want to have sex. My vagina is OK, maybe, thanks for that. My head, no. And sex isn’t just a penis in a vagina, no matter what Victorian sex education or Hollywood scenes teach us.

Excerpt from the poem ‘Breasts’ :

and sometimes it seems like my body's not mine
'cos for over a year it's been for someone else
and I don't recognise it and I don't have the right to it
and she gropes me all day
and as soon as she's sleeping
then he wants to play
and I wonder when I might have some time to myself
'cos I don't have the adult time he has at work
and I don't think he gets that
and he jokes my boobs used to be his
and now they're for her
and I don't think that's fair
because they're mine

  • What No One Tells You About Having a Baby by Hayley Carter
  • Things I Wish I'd Known: Women Tell the Truth about Motherhood by Victoria Young
  • Making babies: Stumbling into Motherhood by Anne Enright