Where’s my bloody village?

An acceptable 3 miles from Dominoes but a frustrating 19 miles from Papa John’s.

I’m going to have another single parent rant over here…but it also applies to dual parent families.

Parenting is fucking hard all round. Gold star for you if you got through the week without questioning your sanity.

They say it takes a village and it is A THING.

I’m going to go off on a tangent here but I will get back to the point…

In terms of human history we have spent 5% of it as farming communities and before that we were chilling as hunter gatherers. I say chilling as we were quite literally chilling most of our lives. The labour hours were far lower, we didn’t have many possessions so didn’t spend much time cleaning, mending or looking after things. There would be a bit of the odd fire tending and weaving wicker baskets or gathering berries – but you would be doing it with a bunch of gals.

Your community would be somewhere between 25 and 150. Enough to be pretty pally with everyone, you don’t have to watch over your little ones like a hawk – no one can kidnap them, where would they even go? They would just be scampering around with their friends and all the villagers are half keeping an eye on all the little while chilling and doing the odd bit of work.

No one hoards food, the men go out hunting until there is enough for 2-3 days and then everyone hangs out on an evening, singing songs, telling stories and having sex.

One tribal group living this life still have a little ritual where the men bring the hunting spoils home and all the women do a little ‘give me your meat’ song and dance. In this scenario ‘meat’ refers to both animal meat and cock. Always good to know the penis jokes transcend time and place.

In this group the ongoing idea is the more actual meat you bring home the more your ‘meat’ gets enjoyed by the ladies. But in true village community spirit the men divvy up the spoils on the edge of the village before the hunt celebration. Everyone gets a nice bit of BBQ and sex in equal measure. Friendship is a lovely thing.

I am a big fan of the hunter gatherer lifestyle. The whole killing the smallest twin at childbirth thing takes the shine off a bit so I’m not fully on board…but still, sex and meat.

Then things got a whole lot shitter at the agricultural revolution. You’re working harder for less reward, farming is a cruel mistress. Yields are variable, for millenia the labour effort was insane and the nutritional content far lower than anything that had gone before.

Now to put things in perspective: if human evolution is the span of a human life of 80 years you spent your first 76 years as a hunter gatherer, four years as a farmer and about a week as an industrial revolution dogsbody.

But most industrial revolution dogsbodies have lived in multi generational households. You would also have your aunties, uncles and cousins in the same village. Your mates from the factory / mill live down the road. Basically there are a fuck load of potential babysitters if a disaster arises (as in…you want ten fucking minutes to yourself before you totally lose your shit). And you probably lose your shit less frequently because there is always someone to have a chat with. Yes the physical and medical dangers were far higher but socially, mentally and emotionally it was quite a different scenario.

But we aren’t living that life anymore. For most of us it became common to have both parents in the house working and to move away from extended family somewhere around (I’m guessing here) the 1980s / 1990s and after. So in evolutionary terms that’s two decades out of 6 million years. I’ve really not done the maths on this one but I’m going to say that’s what…ten minutes of your 80 year life?

So…do you think 10 minutes is enough for our mental and emotional comfort levels to adjust to such a radical adjustment to labour, social life and responsibility?

I can tell you from my stress levels the last couple of weeks it really, really is not.

Fuck me it has been hard.

But I have finally returned to my original point.

It’s hard, it’s so fucking hard.

I am a credit underwriter but lately I’ve been helping out the debt collection team making arrears calls. It’s not an easy time to collect money in, no one fucking has any because we are in the most significant economic shutdown since (or potentially eclipsing) the world wars.

And I’m trying to do it with a wild toddler in the background.

I’m also trying to stop my house falling apart, make sure we both eat well and get outside for some fresh air every day. Coupled with the fact that most nights I get woken up between every half hour and every three hours… I’m fucking tired.

But not just that, I’m lonely. I want a hug, I want sex, I want to sit next to my friends and family and colleagues – not waving into a camera.

And the thing is, I’m one of the lucky ones. I’m bloody lucky! I have a house with two gardens (both small…but still counts). At the back of my garden there is a footpath leading out to various woods and fields to explore.

The only reason I can focus for enough to bang on about human evolution in the context of a human lifespan is because my ex has taken her for a government sanctioned day at his house.

I’m sat here drinking coffee from a new mug my mum sent to cheer me up, looking at some flowers my sister sent to cheer me up. I’m listening to Amazon music to chill myself out because I can afford the subscription. I’m really fucking lucky.

But it kind of isn’t about that. Celebrities have got some shit for sitting crying in their mansions about lockdown. It’s not fair, it’s hard for all of us.

Money and housing and all the rest can make sadness and loneliness a whole lot more comfortable but you’re still sad and lonely.

We are a species that needs human connection, if this makes you feel sad then don’t be hard on yourself, it is what we were designed around.

Here’s hoping this shitstorm will be over soon and all my fellow in a relationship but not cohabiting friends will get back to ALL THE SEX as soon as possible.

This former hunter gatherer needs the meat.

What my cervix has been up to this week

As I have no social life after 7pm I tend to spend my evenings binge eating and reading. At the moment I’m really enjoying How the Pill Changes Everything by Dr Sarah Hill. It’s full of interesting facts and she’s quite funny too.

She is basically saying that the pill affects all kinds of things and I could try and summarise it but I’m actually quite tired so here is a a Guardian article which is much better.

Here is my one little nugget of information for any aspiring strippers in my subscribers list who can’t decide on contraception. The pill makes you less sexy. Strippers know it. At least the ones that compare tips do anyway.

  • Strippers on the pill earn an average of $37 per hour all month long
  • Non pill taking strippers earn $35 an hour when menstruating
  • Non pill taking strippers earn $50 an hour when not menstruating or ovulating
  • Non pill taking strippers earn a whopping $70 an hour when ovulating

Very interesting points! And I may not be a stripper but it’s still nice to feel a be a bit sexy.

(ps it’s not just sexiness it’s immune system, libido, personal grooming, appetite, energy, choice of partner and general joie de vivre among many many other things I don’t even know yet because I’m only 45% in)

So long introduction over and the point I was getting to is that I decided on the copper coil.

Scary, yes, scary.

Or so I thought but I now am I fully fledged COIL FAN.

So this may or may not be relevant to my own life experience of the coil but an interesting point is that it is a very effective emergency contraception. Whereas the morning after pill which we all think of as being the go to choice is in my (not at all expert) opinion actually fairly shit.

If 1000 women had a shag 55 would get pregnant

If 1000 women had a shag then took the morning after pill then 22 would still get pregnant

I don’t feel that those stats are all too reassuring.

So that’s 5.5% chance in general, 2.2% chance on the morning after pill or less than 1% chance with the coil. And BONUS that the coil lasts between five and ten years depending on how brave you are feeling at the fitting (apparently ten year coil is a little bigger).

I’ll run you through my copper coil journey

Where I live in North Yorkshire you need a preliminary appointment to discuss before you can book in for a fitting. And by discuss I mean horrify you. Perhaps the nurse would describe this as providing you with all the information but if I’m completely honest I wanted to be sick / have a little cry to myself.

In her defence she was lovely (as are 99% of the nurses I meet) and she was telling me relevant and important facts. She even had a miniature coil and womb/cervix model.

The two take home facts I got from the appointment were that around 4 in 1000 women will have perforation of the uterus. Basically as horrifying as it sounds – coil jabs into your uterus hard damaging it and requiring surgery. But this sounds less scary as a 0.4% risk factor.

But then if you times it by 6 to adjust for the fact you have a softer womb when breastfeeding it becomes scary again at 2.4%.

Bring it back to the 5.5% chance of pregnancy (and resulting childbirth and unlimited sleep deprivation) and a bit of minor surgery ain’t so bad.

I therefore booked myself in. And didn’t sleep that night because of the words ‘perforation of the uterus’. Horrifying.

Fast forward two days of me spamming my doctor friend with a thousand stupid questions and I was on my way to York Sexual Health Clinic.

A little nervous, big pack of sanitary pads in my bag. Already dosed up on paracetamol with a full tummy to avoid getting all fainty (as instructed).

As with any medical procedure I always announce my anxiety on arrival. I was optimistic there would be a little of my favourite pain relief, gas and air, somewhere on the premises that she would wheel out. No such luck.

I got up on the bed, legs in stirrups, vag ready. The doctor was doing the fitting with the help of a nurse. Lovely nurse was up for a chat to keep me company so obviously I dropped in the ‘my husband left me’ thing so we could spend the time slagging off men. Seemed appropriate to the venue. I didn’t see any men going through awkward discomfort for the sake of contraception. Standard.

Anyway first up is the speculum, standard smear test issue plastic spy hole thing. Then a funny little womb measuring device. Now it probably verged on pain but I would actually describe it more as discomfort.

I know that doctors describe everything as ‘a little uncomfortable’ and you think yeah yeah shut up this is going to fucking hurt.

I would describe it more as… very weird, do not like.

Once your womb is fully confirmed as being coil suitable then up she goes. And IT WASN’T THAT BAD.

Maybe 3 or 4 minutes from speculum in to speculum out. However as my nurse did say I was getting looked after by the dream team and I completely agree. Absolute five star service thanks ladies.

I wholly recommend going to a sexual health clinic where they are regular coil inserters. No chance of me having a GP who does it every now and again having a go on my cervix. I want the most efficient service going. But I will say a huge well done to those ladies that let student nurses / student doctors have a go, you are braver women than me.

Now at this point a lot of women may feel woozy and stay laid down for a while. Some may need to call someone to collect them. Not me (shockingly) I was absolutely buzzing on life, astounded by my pain threshold. Off I strolled into the York sunshine, not even a stomach cramp to complain of (which is common). Lovely big sanitary towel in my pants for any bleeding – which I didn’t even have.

And now my womb is an inhospitable environment for sperm to survive in, hurray that sperm hate copper. Theoretically it works straight away but it only works if it stays in place and you need to check the little threads are in the right place through your cervix so a lot of women go back after a few weeks to have it checked.

Other than that (and regular checks to ensure the little threads haven’t shifted) you’re good for between five and ten years with no artificial hormones. Wowser.

Anyway as I’m a big oversharer do send me a message if you have any questions. Always happy for some vag chat gals.

(ps some kind of generic disclaimer type thing here. I’m not a medical professional, I don’t know what the hell I’m talking about I’m just a cervix owner with a bit of copper in her womb. Do talk to someone who is an actual medical professional if you want advice.)

Why Fifty Shades of Grey is bullshit bullshit bullshit

NB : This photo has almost no relevance to the article. But when I typed ‘sex’ into the search bar he was the only man and why not?

As babies offer very low quality chat I always do a lot of reading. At the moment I’m on Come As You Are : the surprising new science that will transform your sex life. Obviously this is HIGHLY relevant to my currently very active sex life. But I was a good Brownie, always be prepared etc. It is written by a sex therapist and it’s quite interesting.

Anyway apparently noncorcordance isn’t very well known outside of psychology / sex therapist land so I’ll share a fact with you.

Fifty Shades of Grey was bullshit. ‘Of course it was’ you’re thinking. No woman says ‘holy cow’ when turned on and yes this is correct, that is one it many reasons why it is bullshit.

But also in one of the early scenes Christian gets all spanky and whippy on Ana.

He asks how she feels and does she say ‘aroused’?

No she bloody does not. She says ‘demeaned, debased and abused’.

Does that sound fun? No it does not.

But Christian then says AH-HA but I note that your vagina is wet. Therefore I am the all knowing sexual master I presume myself to be despite you categorically telling me you are not enjoying this I can say I know better.

Because… MEN.

So the science is that if you show a woman anything sexually relevant her genitals will frequently respond, but if you ask her if she is aroused then there will only be a 10% overlap for what she says she likes and what she is physically responding to.

So if you show a woman who isn’t into watching bonobos have sex (and who is) a video of bonobos having sex she will probably have increased bloodflow to her genitals. But if you ask her if she is aroused she will probably say ‘nah, these are apes and I’m not into ape sex’. But women are very organised, very prepared people. The female body says ‘ah, I recognise that this is sex and I shall make preparations just in case’.

This physical reaction without a mental agreement is called noncorcordance.

Whereas men have a 50% overlap between having both a sexual reaction and a mental note that it is arousing. It’s not 100% but it’s a lot more than women have. So basically men are less responsive to things that are sexual, but are not their sexual cup of tea. They can’t be bothered getting hard unless they want it to end in sex. Some might say efficient, and they’d be right. But I say lazy because men are annoying and I have a pessimistic view of males.

Luckily for Christian Grey twat face, Emily (the author of Come As You Are) has re-written the dialogue:

Grey says to Ana, “Feel this. See how sexually relevant your body considers physical contact with your buttocks and genitals, Anastasia. That gives me no information about whether or not you liked it. Did you like it? No? Double crap, let me make it up to you by reading Emily Nagoski’s book about women’s sexual wellbeing, so that I have a clue next time.”

It’s also true that women can be really into it without showing any physical signs. Perhaps because it’s nowhere near ovulation so her body thinks – why waste resources? Perhaps she is dehydrated and her body thinks – why waste resources? Perhaps she has given birth and her hormones are still saying WHY THE FUCK WOULD I DO THAT AGAIN? Female bodies = very sensible.

So in case there are any men reading this (which I highly doubt there are). How do you know if she is into it?

Just talk to her, watch her body language. Good life advice in general really.

My pregnancy overshare part one: the sex (et cetera)

I’m going to tell you aaalll about my pregnancy. The bits I remember anyway as baby brain is no joke!

Pre-conception

Anyone who went to school with me knows I am a swot. I read about ten books on conception / pregnancy / labour before I even started trying. I had nine months worth of data on my natural cycles app. I researched the best month to be born academically, school policies on deferring entry, I asked many people whether they liked their birth month.

I actually ate well, I hugely upped my calcium and iron intake and started consuming lots of fruit and veg. My colleagues saw me suddenly start eating mussels and thought I was already pregnant (I wasn’t, but alongside beef and liver they are one of the best sources of iron BUT DON’T EAT LIVER). I asked a dietician whether I should stop eating McDonald’s and other naughty treats (she said carry on as I was borderline underweight and it was more important to keep my weight up…yeeessss).

I took three months worth of pre-conception vitamins. Apparently having folic acid for a long time before conceiving can reduce the chance of hyperemesis gravidarum but you need it anyway to reduce the risk of spina bifida in the baby – don’t worry if you didn’t, just start today.

I joined a secret Facebook group for babies and parenting about a year in advance so I could soak up all the mum wisdom.

I had even been on the Which birth choices tool to decide where to give birth. If you haven’t used it do so now…it’s brilliant. Check the statistics on intervention / caesarian etc as well as they vary a lot.

We had a few baby bits purchased, when we were at the till in White Company we pretended my sister was pregnant when she enthusiasticly asked as I thought explaining a purchase for a baby due a full 12 months away was a bit mental.

I was PREPARED.

My mum fell pregnant straight away and I had super regular ovulation so I assumed we’d be pretty lucky. I originally wanted a September baby (for the school year) but then read its a bumper month for births and the midwives are rushed off their feet. I REALLY did not want to be sent away from the labour ward because they were full…or not be the centre of attention from my midwife because she was juggling multiple mums. I read you can defer entry for August borns so that they are the eldest in the year so we went for that. Then I got impatient and we decided to try the month before. Fate said no thanks mate August is the month for you and made me so ill I could barely have sex and also so pumped up on cold and flu and cough medicine I didn’t ovulate for the first time.

Doing ‘the sex’ 😉😉

Did you know mums on online chat forums call sex the Baby Dance, BD for short. Honestly, people are very weird. I’m glad my Facebook group were able to type the word sex like true grown ups.

I know the date we made the baby, we had our photo taken in Whitby. Ironically the wind was blowing out my scarf making me look pregnant and I had my hand over it like I was clutching the baby and a friend asked my husband if I was pregnant, they were just a few hours early. Anyway I won’t go into the details of the sex, it’s not that kind of blog, it would be weird and quite frankly I can’t remember anyway. I’ll let you assume it was THE BEST SEX EVER because I am amazing at sex every single time etc.

The advice is to have sex every other day when trying to conceive. Any less and you are missing opportunities and you need to keep that sperm production up, no one wants lazy old swimmers who can’t be arsed finding the egg. Your sperm producing male shouldn’t be masturbating in addition to this within a week of your ovulation otherwise he is wasting good resources.

For those that don’t know sperm last five days inside your body and eggs last two days. Although there is technically only a week a month to fall pregnant you need to make sure those semen deposits are getting made every other day all month long. Keep it fresh guys. That’s obviously for optimum sperm. You can of course fall pregnant following zero sperm advice.

Oh how jealous I am of Sophie of November 2017…it’s been a long time since I had every other night sex.

I’ll leave it there and resume with my first few weeks of pregnancy at some point when the baby next naps in the car.