If you had a healthy pregnancy, please be grateful. You avoided HG, SPD, pre eclampsia, gestational diabetes. You spent the time enjoying the flutters, taking photos of your bump and decorating a nursery yourself. It could have been so different.
If you had a straightforward birth, please be thankful. You didn’t suffer the trauma of ventouse, heart rates dropping, emergency c sections, 4th degree tearing or blood loss. Your birth plan was followed, you enjoyed immediate skin to skin, your hospital stay was brief. It could have been so different.
Your baby is healthy, please feel blessed. You didn’t have to watch them be resuscitated, sleep in an incubator. You’re not facing a life of hospital appointments, therapy and surgery. You’re cradling your baby, hearing their first cries and taking them home. It could have been so different.
Sending big love to the mamas struggling today, pregnant and ill, dealing with post traumatic stress disorder or watching their child struggle for breath. My heart is with you.
I’m surrounded by pregnancy. Either mothers due any minute or couples trying for second babies. Beautiful bumps and talk of natural labours. Knowing that hearing that others are finally pregnant will fill me with joy for them, but also crush me. It’ll never be me again.
My husband and I never wanted just the one child. We always wanted siblings that would play together. I imagined a huge brood, piles of washing, shoes all lined up in the hallway, bunk beds. I still have the piles of washing (I have somewhat of an Ebay addiction), but I’ll have to pass on the other things. We’ve decided we can’t do it again. Not the traumatic labour, the post natal depression, the breastfeeding issues. My husband has almost found this more difficult that I have. It was him that told me that he didn’t want to have any more children. My heart aches for more at times, for the dream that I’ve had since I was small. But then my head remembers. And I know I can’t do it again.
I’m always met with comments of ‘the chance of hemorrhage is so small’, ‘you’ll know more about breast feeding next time around’ and ‘the health care professionals will be better prepared for depression, you’ll know what to look for and get help sooner’. I know that these things are true. Serious post partum hemorrhage is rare, although my chances are increased now that I’ve already had one. I *do* know lots more about breast feeding. But I thought i knew enough the first time around, then the haze of just giving birth kicked in, and bossy nurses seemed to know best, and the tongue tie…. I know how it could so easily go wrong. I could have anti depressants waiting, my GP on speed dial. But there’s nothing that can stop it happening to begin with. The symptoms were almost immediate last time. I don’t want to feel that way for even a moment.
I feel very sorry for myself. I’ll never carry a baby again. Never feel the kicks, dress a bump, hang tiny little babygrows on the line. I moaned while I was pregnant, about stiff fingers and fat ankles, about reflux and Gaviscon and my ginormous arse. I tried with all my heart to embrace it, to relish in the miracle growing inside of me, but it is bloody hard work, growing a life. Now I’m viewing it from the other side, with my rose tinted specs on, it seems like the worlds most beautiful journey once again. I’m devastated, I took it for granted. If I’d have known it’d be my only pregnancy I’d have done things differently. I’d have taken more photos, maybe had a 4D scan, painted my bump. I never even drew a silly face on it. I’m sad.
It’s not the body I used to have.
My stomach is a lot more squidgey, elasticated trousers are my new best friend. It doesn’t sit flat, or feel firm and it won’t ever see the sun in a bikini again. But it’s ok, it grew my baby.
My boobs aren’t what they used to be. They don’t point in the same direction they used to, gone are the days of a cleavage skimming top. But that’s ok, they fed my baby.
My legs are bruised and battered and they haven’t seen a razor in a while. My feet hurt and my back aches. But it’s alright, they carry my baby.
My face has more lines and my eyes look tired. I’ve got dark bags and could do with a tone and cleanse. The bouncy smooth skin has gone, I’m quite pale. But it’s fine, I’m waking for my baby.
My hair isn’t as shiny as it was. It doesn’t smell quite as floral, it doesn’t remember what a conditioning treatment is. There’s no time for salon appointments and nail painting. But it’s fine, I’m taking care of my baby.
I’m proud of my new body. It won’t walk the catwalk or model for Vogue. The admirers aren’t queuing in the streets and the size 8 skinny jeans are long gone. But my body grew life, it nourishes it. I play on the floor, pace the bedroom at midnight and take 30 second showers.
But I’m blessed, I’ve got my baby.
Imagine you’re surrounded by expectant mamas. Keen to learn, hanging on your every word, thirsty for knowledge.
You can give them ONE good reason that they should breastfeed.
What do you tell them?
I’d tell them about breast feeding saving lives in a zombie apocalypse. I’ve read stories (although I’m unsure if they’re merely urban legend) about mothers sustaining their babies with breast milk for days and days, buried underground after a catastrophic earthquake. Starving and dehydrated, the few drops of breast milk that the mother could provide, kept the babe from death. So, if the zombies were to descend upon us, a government virus was to escape, those who once turned their nose up at my ‘extended’ breast feeding would soon be *begging* for a thirst quenching gulp of my very own gold top.
You never know, the magical healing powers of breast milk may even prevent those who drank it catching the virus and becoming zombies themselves. I’d tell expectant mothers about breast milk producing the right antibodies to fight the bugs in the air. I’d tell them that it’s just right, adapting to the temperature and climate. I’d tell them that it’s free, how wonderful it is to watch your baby grow and thrive on something that only you can provide.
So, even if you’re not convinced of the likelihood of an imminent zombie attack (more fool you…), I’m sure you can think of a million reasons why a pregnant mama should plan to breast feed.