The Poop on, well…poop.

Poop-(noun) slang: informationscoop

I’ve noticed a lot of new mothers seem incredibly obsessed with poop. You see it everywhere: Facebook posts, conversations. Some even post pictures of these fecal trials and tribulations. Why?

Well, I’m sure that not all of them are suffering from coprophilia. And it’s not limited to parents. Anthropologists study coprolites (fossilized fecal matter) to learn about ancient animal (and sometimes human) behavior. Wildlife biologists frequently track animals from their spoor and use it to gain an understanding of animal eating and migration patterns. This phenomena isn’t really that odd when you put it into context, but how does it start? One doesn’t wake up one morning with a new and unending fascination with poop.

This increased interest starts far earlier than when a child is born. It starts in pregnancy. Matter of fact, it was my first symptom, though I didn’t know it. Pregnancy brings on many symptoms as a result of hormone changes, one of which is constipation. Trust me, with the level of constipation one experiences in pregnancy, a heightened interest in poop becomes second nature. Honestly, after a week of nothing, when I finally go I feel a million times better, 20 pounds lighter and like wearing this tee shirt:

Indeed, I really feel as happy as that guy too. In addition to the hormone changes, this biological disruption is often compounded by the fact that many pregnant women cannot, or choose not to drink coffee. Coffee is a nice mild diuretic and laxative. Trust me, if you’ve been a regular coffee drinker, not having it will muck everything up. Later on in pregnancy your organs are all mushed up, adding to the issue.  Basically, our bodies and minds are preoccupied with the bodily function no one likes to talk about, except apparently parents.

Now my little one isn’t due for a few months yet, but I’m already primed to care about poop. I used to work in the child care field. I can tell you, when you’re around children that much, all your stories revolve around bodily fluids, none of them your own. While I was working in child care my attendance at parties was drastically reduced. No one wants to invite you out when all your stories are about snot, poop, etc. No matter how funny you think the story about getting pooped on is, chances are it will only horrify your childless friends.  And then you start getting lonely.

There is a real reason to pay attention to poop. Taking note of bowel movements helps parents know that their little one is getting enough sustenance, if they’ve eaten anything they should have (coins for example, or the texture of a BM may tip-off a food your little one’s system doesn’t agree with.) It may also be that digestive disease runs in the family (as it does in mine) and paying attention to BMs will help me seek treatment if my little one has such an ailment. In this, parents are like those anthropologists, gathering information about their little one in one of the most basic ways possible. It also doesn’t hurt that you change a lot of diapers, so it’s a frequent source of info in that regard.

I honestly don’t know what compels people to share these stories. Maybe it’s because it’s all they have to share and they are just reaching out to the world at large with what they have. Who knows? Personally, I don’t think anyone wants or needs to know about the down and dirty or diaper changing in my house, so I doubt I’ll be updating my Facebook statuses to include stories about poo, and I especially won’t be posting pictures. No one needs a visual, no matter how funny you think it is. Trust me, if I come into the nursery and my child is covered in poo, the last thing I’m doing is grabbing a camera, I’m going to go for a bar of soap.

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