Eva Genk: It’s uncomfortable to be so open, but it’s necessary

90 percent of women need stitches after giving birth. 1 in 5 women give birth as a trauma. 1 in 4 will experience urine leakage or other physical problems after childbirth. 1 in 3 suffers from prolapse to a greater or lesser extent after childbirth. And 1 in 10 women have severe damage that requires surgery. Just some tough stats you’re going through Eva’s worlda new original three-part video in which Eva Genk talks with experts, medical professionals and parents about the intimate matters that come with motherhood in 2022.

shocking numbers

Eva, who became a mother to son Pax (now 3) in 2018, was shocked by the numbers, she said. “I thought I already knew a lot about it, but I found this quite shocking.” Eva’s birth ended in an emergency caesarean section due to severe preeclampsia (high blood pressure); Something you weren’t prepared for at all. “I studied what was there to study, read everything loose and hanging, followed a birth course and watched videos of quieter deliveries. I thought: I always treat everything, I’m ready. It won’t happen an emergency caesarean. For me. But during childbirth, it happens. A lot is out of your control. This is extreme. When you feel like you are losing your strength and your physical integrity, it touches your deepest being. It fundamentally makes you insecure.”

She wouldn’t describe her experience as painful, but it wasn’t pleasant and serene. “I had a hard time after giving birth to Pax, because I was so sick. Normally, this preeclampsia stops once the baby is out of your body, but with me it lasted for weeks. I was hospitalized twice after that. In the hospital. I honestly thought at the time: I won’t come back. As it was again. I was afraid I would never become physically strong again. I was so sad about it. I also didn’t want people to know, I felt like weakness. I tried to hide it, buy time.”

Only when she was getting better physically was she also able to recover mentally. That took some time. “Not everything was in tune with the image I had of myself. I’m very active myself. At 36 weeks pregnant still presenting the audience and warming up, I ran with that bloated belly like it was nothing. I felt loved and thought pregnancy would be representative of time. Next, like everyone else, I have fueled my life with words, images, and ideas of what motherhood is, this image rooted in who I am and what I thought I would do but the reality was very different. It made me lonely.”

lower sex drive

Childbirth is just one of the three topics Eva covers Eva’s world. The other two are postpartum sexual activity and working mothers’ guilt. Regarding sex, the numbers don’t lie either: in the first 3 months after giving birth, half of women feel less interested in sex than before, and after six months this still applies to 1 in 3 women. 10 percent of couples have not even started intercourse by then. Doctors say that it is allowed again after six weeks, but many women are not ready for this yet. In the series, Eva says, “I can only lift my baby over my head and vacuum it up, because it takes so long before this C-section wound has healed. But it really wasn’t. I just didn’t fully recognize my body again. My breasts were twice the size of my head.” Due to breastfeeding, I had sore nipples, and I was constantly pumping into such a device. I felt lethargic and bloated. Totally unexciting. Just felt like a pair of Crocs.”

Then the guilt that many working mothers experience: It was no stranger to Eva either. Although she knew that when she worked, Pax was in good hands in the world – his father Dexter – she still had a feeling that she should be at home. And I felt guilty about that guilt again. Thanks to the series, she no longer suffers from it. “Making the series taught me a lot, including things that I felt intuitively but couldn’t put into words before.”

As for guilt, two conversations really opened her eyes, she says. One was with social psychologist Leanne Arntzen, who told Eva that research shows that the care responsibilities we associate with men and women are different. “A father who works outside the home performs care responsibilities in the eyes of society, while we still expect the mother to take care of the children. If a working father cannot pick up his child from the nursery, we think this is normal, while looking at the mother. Then people can think : What a cold, selfish woman, who puts her work in front of her child. It made clear to me that it was out of date and that it should be different.”

Biological evidence

Another conversation that brought me to new insights on this topic was with biological psychologist Peter Buss. “He explained to me that there is no biological evidence that a mother can take care of a child better than a father. Of course I saw it with my own eyes for three years with Dexter, but I thought that as an insanely good father he might have been an exception. So he is not. A mother has only a slight advantage because she She carried the baby and then she breastfeeds, but then it’s all about experience.And yes, if the dad comes back to work after a few weeks and the mom sits at home with the baby all day, then you gain a lot of experience that the dad can’t catch up with. But that has nothing to do with biology. Absolutely “.

In this series, many moms (and dads too) talk very openly about their struggles with parenthood and the physical discomforts that childbirth can cause. For example, host Roos Moggré says, unabashedly, that she can no longer jump on a trampoline ‘without wearing clean pants afterwards’, due to the loss of urine. One woman, Mariska, says she’s been walking around with serious complaints “out there” for seventeen years. She doesn’t always control her bowel movements (in other words, she sometimes poops in her pants) and her vagina often makes rattling noises. Terribly annoying, especially in front of the class. Eva follows her both before and after her recovery, for which she gathered courage after all these years. “Maresca is a hero,” says Eva. “Such a strong, energetic, intelligent and eloquent woman has been turned away so many times when I sought help, it makes me afraid of all those women who are less energetic and confident than she is. I admire her very much. Lots of people would. They recognize themselves in what she says.”

Presenter Léonie ter Brac talks about how difficult it was in her early days as a mother. “Enjoy it, people said. How about sore boobs, leaking chest, no sex, sleepless nights and no life of your own anymore? Where is that damned fun then? I was really pissed off at first.” She was also in pain during sex with her husband after the difficult delivery of her first son, but she took it for granted, which ultimately only made her shrink. Making love with stones eventually turned out to be the solution.

Settling the taboo

Eva herself is also open in the series. She finds it very difficult. “My job for a long time has been to get other people to tell stories. Now I tell a lot, much more than I find easy. But I realized that I do it because it allows me to use my brand awareness to tell stories in order to shine a spotlight that can help others. And to make the conversation about That’s normal. When that penny dropped, I embraced it. Yes, I find it uncomfortable to share so much, but if it helps others, I want him to do it. Then it’s worth it. I think it gives people the comfort of knowing they’re not the only ones going through. things. Although it seems very revealing, I loved being able to do it.”

In recent years, more women have stepped up to settle taboos related to motherhood. Eva says it is a good development. “It is increasingly being talked about honestly. That irrational image of that pure pink cloud is being penetrated by more and more women. But it needs to be talked about more. What I came across often was a certain kind of mentality about natural motherhood. We should naturally know how to give birth. , and thus no pain relief would be necessary. Are you suffering from something? Just biting, because it is nature. There is a culture of waving away, all these physical discomforts being a part of them ‘Deal with it.’ Many women suffer the consequences. They feel lonely, are reluctant to ask for help, and if they do, they don’t always get enough help. While much hidden suffering can be simply remedied, there is a world to be gained if we talk about it openly.”

Of all the misery you almost give up on wanting to have children, but Eva can’t often stress that motherhood is wonderful too. “The last thing I want is to scare people. It’s good to show how wide the palette is: motherhood is also amazing, overwhelming, beautiful and touching.”

Eva’s entire world can now be seen on Videoland

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