Certain things seem to happen when you’re pregnant, things that you drop on the floor quickly become a lost cause, people will tell you you’re glowing even though you clearly look like you’ve been trapped in a sauna for 4 hours with only 36 cheeseburgers to keep you company, and the news will suddenly seem to be full of birthing stories.
Now, I’m fairly sure there were stories in the news about birth complications before I got into the business of growing someone, but like many things, as soon as you’re aware of something and it applies to you, it’s bloody everywhere. Being self-employed and whose day job can often mean that I’m working from home, there are many mornings where I find myself watching the daytime TV and nws. A sprawling couple of hours filled with links to the headlines and public interest pieces, it seems that most days there’s some horror story about pregnancy, childbirth or NHS maternity care.
As a first-time foetus carrier who is due to give birth in 2 months’ time, it’s safe to say that I am very much stepping into the unknown. You can tell newbies all the birthing stories you want, everyone’s will be different and you have no way of knowing what will happen because there’s only so much control you can have over the situation. I’m not someone who generally makes way for anxiety unless it’s regarding being late or running out of tea, and seeing these terrifying stories scares the hell out of me, so I can only begin to imagine what it does to others.
I totally understand that these stories need to be aired, an incompetency should be addressed and it’s important that people are aware of risks so that they are able to make informed choices about their treatment. However, the issue is that it provides a skewed view of childbirth. If I only watched the news, I’d believe that giving birth now is fraught with more danger than it was 400 years ago. It feels like almost every day that I’m seeing a story about destroyed vaginas, incompetent midwives or shocking statistics. I know it’s essential that we talk about these things, particularly with maternity and childbirth where often the issue is that these things aren’t discussed at all, instead swept under the carpet so that people end up feeling alone and like they’ve failed should they find themselves in these situations. I also know that, in 2 months’ time, I could be facing any one of these issues, and maybe it will just that ever so slightly easier to deal with as a result of seeing one of these news stories.
Compare this to the Hollywood version of pregnancy. Everyone seems to find out they’re pregnant about by neatly throwing up about 3 minutes after conception, they all get tidy little bumps and all crave something awful but adorable. Labour takes place seconds after your waters breaking dramatically in a supermarket queue and your baby is born pristinely clean and your make-up stayed perfect throughout.
However, this blog isn’t about the media or reporting and how stories should be done, it’s about how we cope during these times. I’ve now found that it’s much easier to switch these stories off. With around 8 weeks to go, I will soon be throwing myself, cervix first into a situation with so many possible outcomes, most of which are still to be decided and almost all of which are very much out of my control. Although I’m very much looking forward to bringing this little one that I’ve been incubating since June into the world, I’m also very aware that there’s only so much I can do. So, instead of spending the next few weeks watching these stories going, ‘Oh god, will that be me?’ I’m finding it easier to switch off and focus on the positives instead. Knowing these stories isn’t going to help my birth outcome but not knowing them will help my state of mind. That might sound naïve but you do what you can to get beyond the realisation that you’re going to have a human the size of a small pumpkin either exploding through your bits or being cut out of you.
I’ve very much learnt during this pregnancy is that this experience is incredibly personal, one person’s soothing peppermint tea is another one’s vomit-instigator. We have to do what works for us, so if reading up on every worst-case scenario is what makes you feel the most prepared you can possibly be, that’s what you absolutely have to do. Likewise, if you need to curl up with an Options and watch infomercial gifs, that’s what you must do. Yes, it’s small, but it’s still a pumpkin, guys.
Currently in need of...
While lazily watching Sunday Brunch on Channel 4, we stopped our weekly tradition of doing impressions of Tim Lovejoy long enough to see a piece on low and non-alcoholic gins. One of the drinks was called The Duchess, a non-alcoholic premixed gin and tonic and, guys, I want it. I've so far only found it available on one UK site, and delivery is pretty steep, but I might find myself going in for it pretty soon...
Currently appalled by...
I'll be honest with you, my resentment towards Boots is still bubbling away. DID I TELL YOU THAT THEY DON'T ACCEPT THEIR GIFT CARDS ON THEIR WEBSITE? I did. Oh, well I'm telling you again.