So it’s been nearly 2 years since my last post! Since I last wrote we have experienced the delight of seeing our little number 2 grow and laugh and climb and eat. He toddles around with his blonde hair and big grin, and brings joy. Joy to us and to his sister.
His entry to world was not as anyone would have planned. My exit from hyperemesis was not as I had planned. The goal of just getting to the end of pregnancy was suddenly, brutally moved. The lack of nausea provided little comfort in the lights of theatre, neonatal intensive care and the realisation that sometimes everything does not go ok. However, our boy chose us, he chose to fight, he was brave and he overcame 🙂
Lately I have been questioning the whole narrative that accompanies pregnancy and birth. ‘It’ll all be ok’ we say to Mums awaiting birth, with a degree of certainty that is perhaps unwarranted. It usually is OK, and that is AMAZING. But these women are lucky. It is luck, not skill, that has landed them healthy with healthy babies. A wealth of antenatal classes, books, and apps gives increased knowledge, and you know what they say, knowledge is power. But is it really? All the knowledge in the world does not give you the power to control your pregnancy, your fertility or your birth. It is a subtle lie to convince women otherwise.
Granted I am probably not the person anyone wants at the baby shower! With tales of hyperemesis and uterine ruptures, and NICU. But perhaps this pressure to keep quiet is not doing anyone any favours. How different my experience may have been had I known of one other woman who went through the same as me that I could have talked to. I am sure she is there somewhere in all the Mums I have met and talked to, but most likely she didn’t say anything for fear of bringing ‘a dampener’. We must remember that happiness is the most usual outcome, but not the only one. And even a happy ending can be brought about by a very much unplanned path, which is glib to ignore. There is beauty in the imperfection, and even though nobody wants to hear the nightmare labour story, for that lady that is the only path they walked to get their baby, so it is beautiful. And that deserves as much celebrating and listening to and discussion as the lady who had a two hour labour with only gas and air.
We must remember that pregnancy conditions, miscarriages, infertility and complicated births are not infectious. We should not be afraid to talk about these things, as Mums we should not constantly fight to silence the alternative narrative. Listening to someone’s story does not make it more likely to happen to you. Reading my blog about hyperemesis does not make you more likely to be sick in your own pregnancy! But it may make you feel less alone if you ever are unlucky enough to experience it. Or make you aware of your luck if you have a nausea free pregnancy!
So to the woman battling infertility, or the lady struggling through crippling nights of isolating nausea, or the mother grieving the loss of a miscarriage, or the Mum who can’t breastfeed we must, must be kind. Kinder. It is not a choice, any of it. And I struggle with the narrative swallowed by so many that would suggest it is.