I watched a video tutorial on YouTube made by someone who runs childbirth preparation classes.
She used a balloon and a ping-pong ball to demonstrate how contractions work to push a baby into the birth canal during labour.
I thought it was brilliant. So did many other people, who expressed their appreciation for this simple explanation of how a certain set of muscles work.
One viewer was, however, deeply disappointed and ranted that a balloon giving birth to a ping-pong ball was nothing like the real experience of having a baby!
She had apparently already given birth at least once. It wasn’t clear from her comments whether she was offended by the failure of the balloon to deliver an actual baby, by the fact the ‘labour’ took only a few minutes, or by some other unrealistic element that I missed.
Or maybe she was worried that first-time parents will believe that their bundle of joy is going to shoot from their vagina at 50 miles an hour and go to the unnecessary expense of hiring fielders from a college baseball team to catch it.
I’m surprised she didn’t complain about how the ‘baby’ was squeezed into the womb at the outset – or perhaps she believed that part.
Of course, the point was not to simulate childbirth or diminish anyone’s pain; it was simply to show how the powerful contractions of muscles at the top of the uterus serve to open the cervix so that a baby can pass through.
Here’s the link to Liz Chalmers’ video: