In her new column, Steph discusses some of the issues that face modern parents as they try to navigate their way through life with small humans.
She is as honest as ever about the struggles of parenting and the less-than-blessed moments that she encounters in her own life.
This week I’m writing to let you know what it’s like to be pregnant in these uncertain times.
I have been getting questions on my social media accounts from other mammies-to-be and decided to address them all here in this article, as well as a few issues that have cropped up for me.
Being pregnant this time around is the same as before, but also very different. As a mammy-to-be you always have worries. Every time you feel a pain or a twinge you worry a little.
You might have a google of ‘stabbing pain in abdomen pregnant’ or ‘heavily constipated pregnant’ or ‘can I eat ice cream while pregnant?’
But now you have the worrying ‘Covid while pregnant’ search. And to be honest, not enough is known to give you a clear answer. As a pregnant woman I am not classified as ‘at risk’.
We are not given any clear guidelines really on how to conduct ourselves. “You’re not at risk, but at the same time, stay safe!”
You also still have ALL of the advice from well-meaning mothers and others – only now it has intensified (as has the transmission of incorrect information!).
“And are you wearing your mask at home now that the kids are back to school?” “Oh God, how are you coping? I wouldn’t be able to be pregnant with all of this uncertainty!” “Are you still going out doing the shopping? Are you not so paranoid?” “Did you hear about the number of cases today? And so many community transmission. They say it’s airborne now!” “You’re going out to dinner? Does the restaurant have outdoor seating?” “And how does himself feel about not being there for the birth?”
Then you have all of the usual advice regularly associated with being pregnant. “Of course when I got pregnant I stopped eating any kind of accelerant or processed food. I just wanted my body to be a temple for the baby, you know, give it every chance!”
“Now you know that whole ‘eating for two’ thing is a myth!” “Over my whole pregnancy I only put on the recommended stone and a half!” “sleep now, because when the baby comes you wont sleep again!” “Well things must be different now because we were always told never to _______ (insert activity you are currently in the middle of)”
And labour stories! “Well I had a totally natural labour, I wanted to really feel it all, you know!” “Take ALL of the drugs! In fact wear a t-shirt saying I want ALL of the drugs!”
“Well I was torn in two by my Johnny’s big head!” (while closely examining the size of your/your partner’s head.) “I wanted a home birth, I wanted the whole family to be involved in the precious moment!” “I had a water birth, it was amazing, I really felt connected and in tune with the baby’s movements!”
“They ran out of gas and air I was using so much of it!” “Ah, it was grand after the first nine hours!” “We videoed ours, do you want a look?” (Run, run far away!)
The biggest change for me this time around is not having himself at my hospital appointments. Last time around we used to make a lovely day of our appointments.
The kids were in school and we took time to enjoy ourselves. We had ‘scan-day dates’. We’d go to the hospital in Portlaoise as early as possible and then head for a nice lunch (or a Supermac’s breakfast) afterwards.
Then we’d saunter around town at our leisure before heading home in time to collect the little ones from their busy day. It was bliss.
This time around it’s a solitary expedition. And we’re both missing out. He hasn’t seen his baby’s heartbeat. He hasn’t seen his baby back-flipping and wriggling around.
He hasn’t gotten the relief for himself of seeing that everything is OK on the screen in front of him. He used to love videoing the scans to show to the kids later too.
And I’m experiencing all of these things alone. There is nobody to share the personal joy, nobody to feel all of the feelings with me, nobody to wonder at the miracle that is growing inside me – only a professionally detached consultant or registrar, who is counting down the patients until lunchtime.
They’re so good in Portlaoise Hospital though. Everyone is being so safe around Covid. They have seats cordoned off to ensure social distancing.
They have a new maternity bloods only clinic. The midwives are so considerate and understanding. They go all out for their patients. It really is a lovely place to have babies!
I’ll finish off with my own (unsolicited) advice for any mammies-to-be!
You have embarked on this wonderful adventure and you are in for an amazing rollercoaster of a ride! Trust yourself. Have faith that you will know what to do when the time comes, or that you will at least have someone to call on.
No mother started their journey with all of the answers, and not every mother has the same answer to every question. You will work out what works for you and figure out who or what to tune out along the way!
SEE ALSO – To catch all of Steph’s columns, click here.