Kathleen Norton

“Robo Mom” has to talk the talk

Posted on: May 11, 2010

The mechanical pregnant “mom” I saw on the TV news looks like she’s having gas pains – not labor pains.

And we can sort of forgive that little flaw because Robo Mom was invented to help nurses train for labor and delivery.

But Robo Mom can’t simulate the real deal without a major tweak.

She needs a foul mouth and the dirtier the better because swearing is not only an integral part of  giving birth, it helps moms practice words they need later when the kids melt snowsuits in the dryer, load the blender with peanut butter and set the couch on fire — all before 9 a.m. on a school snow day.

Nurses must be prepared to hear a sweet young women in labor scream at her helpless husband:

YOU S.O.B.! WHY DID I EVER MARRY YOU? STOP WIPING MY (BLEEPING) FOREHEAD WITH THAT (BLEEPING) USELESS WASH CLOTH!

DO YOU REALLY THINK THAT’S GOING TO HELP ME GET THIS (BLEEPING) BABY OUT!

WHAT ARE YOU ALL LOOKING AT? GET ME SOME (BLEEPING) DRUGS AND GET THEM (BLEEPING) NOW!

Those of you who have never given birth, seen a birth, or tried to pull a brick through your nostril may think this is an exaggeration.

But it is not.

Ask my husband. It was just on Mother’s Day that he said:  You’re not going to tell your birthing stories again this year, are you?

And I said: Why Darling, you know I love that tradition above all else!

Then he said: Leave out the part where you’re hitting me, throwing stuff at me and calling me bad names.

And I said: Sweetie! Are you asking me to rewrite history?

Then he said: Yep.

And I said: Tough noogies.

I guess I understand where he’s coming from. He doesn’t like remembering when his friendly, cheerful wife was replaced by someone doing a first-rate impression of  Linda Blair in “The Exorcist.”

Things did get pretty scary.

We went into the hospital thinking it would be like the video in Lamaze class where the woman pants a little, cries out a little and then pops out a perfect baby while her husband urges her to breath and looks lovingly into her eyes.

She did not hit him or curse him out, which, as we discovered, was complete propaganda because pain does some mighty strange things to people.

I’m told that I threw a pitcher of ice chips clear across the room and nailed a completely innocent person who was walking down the hallway.

He had nothing to do with my pain, except he was a man, which in my pain-saturated mind, must have made him a perfect target.

Then I created cursing combos that we did not know existed. Besides spewing these foul words at my beloved and a bunch of nurses in the room, I cursed at the teaching nuns who came trouping in with their students.

They were on the “childbirth” chapter and I was Exhibit A.

My only defense is that I was hallucinating due to all the pain and thought one of the nuns was my fifth grade teacher coming back to yell at me for having sex and getting myself into this predicament.

I’m sure that the nun who came into the labor room all those years ago has already gone to the Great Convent in the Sky, but I want to apologize anyway. I truly did not mean those nasty things I said about her.

Or her mother.

The students that day seemed pretty shocked by what I screamed and by what a real woman looks like just before she gives birth. Apparently, I did NOT look like the picture in their textbook.

Which gets us back to Robo Mom.

She may not look like she’s in real pain. But if she cursed like a sailor, nurses-in-training would have a real idea of what they are in for.

This would not prepare them to catch pitchers of ice chips or other flying objects.

But with a little tinkering, Robo Mom could have a great pitching arm, too.

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